How to Turn Leadership Team Conflict into a Trust-Building Opportunity

How to Turn Leadership Team Conflict into a Trust-Building Opportunity

team conflict

One of the biggest mistakes a leadership team can make is to avoid team conflict in order to “keep the peace.”

The truth is, team conflict is inevitable but, when approached with the right tools and mindset, it becomes productive and even builds trust. On the other hand, unspoken and unresolved conflict breeds a toxic work environment.

When executive teams are not willing to be honest and straight with each other, many issues arise:

  • The team fails to consider all perspectives
  • Meetings become a waste of time because the real stuff is not getting handled
  • Behind-the-scene conversations lead to personal attacks and divisiveness
  • People are afraid to speak up on certain topics
  • Collaboration suffers
  • Top talent quits

Unfortunately, as team development facilitators, we see this unfold all too often.


At Leaders Roadmap, we help leadership teams become comfortable with managing conflict. Our workshops create a safe space for healthy and honest confrontations, and use them to increase trust and collaboration. The team members learn how to have these conversations either all together or one-on-one, and then take their new team conflict resolution skills back to their everyday work.

The shift is often quite radical:

  • Meetings become energizing and fun
  • Everyone feels safe to give input and bring up difficult topics
  • Team members don’t take comments personally
  • Arguments disappear
  • Communication improves
  • Problems get solved much more quickly
  • The company’s leaders are able to create a teamwork roadmap that everyone can get behind

Recently, we facilitated an offsite workshop for the new leadership team of a professional services business. The goal was to define how they would work together, including how to approach team conflicts. At the time, they were already experiencing disagreements on how to handle a specific issue, with people coming at it with contrasting opinions.

As part of the session, we facilitated a difficult discussion on the specific issue they were struggling with. The workshop gave them the space and the tools to express strong emotions, manage their differences, and come to a healthy conflict resolution. Everyone was heard and the team was able to find alignment on how to move forward together. They also came away with a greater understanding of each other.

Interestingly, the week after the offsite workshop, the team had the chance to work through another significant issue together. During the process, they met with the firm’s partners to discuss and confirm the next steps to handle the issue in the most productive way. The partners were impressed, reporting that they had never seen the team work so well together!

Does your leadership team need to improve how they manage their conflicts? Let’s talk.

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