How to Handle Team Conflict
Imported from Chance's article "4 Tips for when you feel your team is in the YELLOW OR RED status"
At Chingu, we classify team-health as either GREEN, YELLOW, or RED. This classification is mainly done through the Weekly Check-ins and Github repo activity (this comes in after Act 1 — Project Setup is completed).
If you put YELLOW or RED on your weekly check-in, you’ll be sent this article, which aims to help you troubleshoot your situation.
This is a thought experiment aimed to improve your collaboration skills. It was developed by Jocko Willink and involves taking “extreme ownership” of your situations in life in order to learn and be more effective in reaching your goals.
Principle: Effectiveness is more important than being right.
Blaming others is ineffective, even if it is their fault. We don’t learn anything when we blame others. It’s more advantageous to assume you contributed to the issue (even if it sounds crazy) and ask: “What can I do to avoid this issue in the future?” This allows us to turn any experience into a learning experience.
For example, if you have a team-mate who is inactive, ask:
“Did I build rapport with all my team-mates by sending them a Direct Message when the team launched?”
Teams that build strong individual rapport early rarely have members go inactive.
“Did I use soft skills and tactfully interact with my team-mates?”
If you put people in a corner, they will retreat. If you showcase impatience, they won’t want to work with you, and will eventually retreat. This is why it is often said that EQ is 80% of success and IQ only 20%. We are social animals who live in a complex world. Almost everything you do will involve interacting with others and success always involves working with others in some way.
Use this cohort as an opportunity to practice improving your social skills.
Did I establish common ground-rules with my team so we had mutual expectations for communication, responsibilities and activity?
One common issue I see with teams is people have different expectations for constitutes acceptable communication, responsibility and activity.
Was I consistently active and engaging my teams up until now?
I’ve seen people who are inactive suddenly pop up a week after the team is launched and make a ticket because their team is not active. They often don’t see the connection (and to a certain extent, this is natural), which is why I encourage everyone to do the Extreme Ownership experiment.
If someone is inactive, I recommend sending a Direct Message like this:
Hey @username! 😃, just wanted to check in and make sure everything is all right and if you’re still committed to the team project? We’re looking to get going in the team so just wanted to see if you’re still interested in joining? 🚀
Principles to note:
- It’s one-on-one. If you ask this in a public chat, they may reply but I’d say there’s a lower percentage they will. Whenever someone is acting out of line (like being inactive), it’s always best to move the conversation to one-on-one so you can have a more reasonable line of communication. In public, people can lose face and that brings the ego out, which drastically reduces effectiveness.
- It’s friendly, not aggressive. People are more likely to respond to friendly; people are less likely to respond to aggressive or anything that makes them feel in a corner (remember, our goal is not to be right, it’s to be effective).
- It softly reminds them of their previous commitment. As humans, once we make a commitment, we don’t like not following through. Everyone in Chingu has made a commitment. The key here is to mention it in a soft way. If people feel in a corner, they have a higher likelihood of disappearing completely.
Send your other team-mate(s) a message and see if they want to merge with another team or request a new member. If they do, make a ticket and explain that you and @username-here wish to be merged with another team or to get another member. If they don’t and you’d like to be added to another team, make a ticket and we’ll try our best to fit you in somewhere (with a little creativity we usually can. 🙌).
It’s not always going to work out. That’s fine and the reality of team projects is that they are incredibly hard to start, so it’s natural. We can persevere and continue to match until it works.
Please be as clear as you can in your ticket with what you *hope* to happen. I will try my best to make that happen when I am free.
If you see another ticket that could solve your ticket, feel free to be proactive leave a comment on that ticket and reach out to that person in Discord to solve your issue faster. I love when this happens!
p.s. Make sure your team knows what you’re doing. If they haven’t been active enough, it’s reasonable that you may want to leave, just make sure you let them know (or else in a few days they may make a ticket :P).
Though there’s loads of generous people who help out tremendously, Chingu is mainly run by a small team. We apologize in advance if we are unable to immediately respond to your requests.
Chingu may be facilitating hundreds of teams at any given time, across multiple Voyages.
We greatly appreciate your understanding, empathy, and patience!