How to Deal with Rising Tensions

I’ve often thought that the mood within a team acts very much like the weather.

For instance, according to NASA, the world is set to continue heating up at least twenty times faster than the historical average. Now, transpose that to rising tensions within a team, and, much like global warming, it’s something that needs to be dealt with before it gets out of control.

I’m no weatherman, but I’ve certainly experienced the fallout from a team that has allowed its emotions to escalate, and in this blog post, I thought I’d offer six ways any leader or manager can deal with rising tensions before they turn into a much bigger problem.

Address situations in a positive manner

The best way to resolve any conflict that might result from rising tensions is to be positive with the way you address it. Which makes sense, right? Steam in angrily, and it’ll only get worse, after all.

Don’t hide negative feelings under the carpet

We all have negative feelings at some stage. The important thing is to ensure they’re not buried, therefore you should create a culture where staff members are comfortable opening up about their negative thoughts.

Encourage compromise

In order for team members to get on and work productively together, they’ll need to compromise - regularly. Compromises help people dispense with tension and work coherently, and that’s a very positive thing indeed.

Look for common ground

Tension within a team is often the result of people disagreeing with the approaches or decisions made by others. By finding common ground and compromising (see tip 3), gaps of that kind can be bridged, and you’ll be surprised by how easy it is for an agreement to be reached on something (no matter how small it may be).

Allow equal air time

When tension between two team members begins to surface, ensure they both have equal airtime to unload their grievances. If one person seemingly has the glare of the spotlight thrust on them more readily than the other, the tension will only grow. By instead allowing an equal say, you might just unearth issues the other party wasn’t aware of.

Always address directly

A common mistake made by leaders of teams is to avoid addressing issues of rising tension within a team directly. Skirting around such problems will only result in a worsening situation, whereas addressing them directly will demonstrate to the team as a whole that negativity should always be tackled head-on, and if that realization proliferates, you should experience fewer instances of rising tension in future.

Wrapping up

Just as warm weather is good for the soul, there’s nothing wrong with a healthy level of tension within your team; it raises everyone’s game and proves there’s plenty of passion for the business at play.

Let it get out of hand, though, and you’ll be in trouble. I hope this post helps you avoid a tension meltdown within your team!