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Managing team conflict

Build a high-performing team and improve outcomes

Topic: Other
Jennifer Stine

To build, run, and contribute to a high-performing team, team leaders must develop the ability to manage conflict. While we tend to individualize conflict and blame specific people for issues, the reality is that conflict is built into the team process.

In this enlightening and practical course, Jennifer Stine details the primary sources of team conflict—diversity, task, process, and relationship—and demonstrates how to identify and manage them. You'll build a deeper understanding of your own approach to conflict and learn how to lead more effectively through conflict to create positive team experiences and outcomes.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live online course, you’ll understand:

  • The four main sources of team conflict and how to identify them during team meetings
  • Why managing conflict is important to team performance
  • Approaches to managing team conflict and when to apply them

And you’ll be able to:

  • Improve team climate and effectiveness
  • Feel more confident as a manager and leader
  • Use new perspectives and skills to support a team through conflict and into higher performance

This training course is for you because...

  • You're a new manager, and you need to build your skills to lead and motivate your team.
  • You're a manager whose responsibilities are growing, and you need support in improving the performance of your group.
  • You're a leader with experience working broadly in your organization, and you need to continue to improve your effectiveness.


  • Experience leading (or working on) a team

Recommended preparation:

About your instructor

  • Jennifer (Jenny) Stine has been teaching organizational behavior, teamwork, and leadership for close to a decade. Her teaching experience includes a master’s level organizational behavior course at Harvard Extension and short professional development courses in leadership and teamwork at Harvard’s Division of Continuing Education. Jenny has also practiced these skills in senior-level leadership roles, including at MIT, where she was the founding director of the Professional Education Office; at Harvard, where she led executive education for the Graduate School of Education; and as a learning and development consultant for industry, including ongoing work at Accenture. She holds a PhD from Stanford.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

The three sources of team conflict (30 minutes)

  • Lecture: Understanding the challenges that conflict creates for high-performing teams; the three types of team conflict (task, process, and relationship); why conflict is important for improved decision making and innovation; the five-stage team development model, with a focus on what “storming” is, when it happens, and why it can’t be avoided
  • Hands-on exercise: Detail your best and worst team experience
  • Q&A

Identity and teams (35 minutes)

  • Lecture: The importance of identity and teams; diversity aspects that can contribute to team conflict, including identity, personality, education, culture, and language; building trust, cohesion, and a positive team climate to manage identity conflict
  • Hands-on exercises: The “I am” exercise; practice trust building using example scenarios
  • Q&A
  • Break (10 minutes)

Relationship conflict (35 minutes)

  • Lecture: The types of relationship conflict; when conflict needs to be managed outside of the team (interpersonal conflict); how to identify when relationship conflict needs to take place; techniques for “cooling” these discussions
  • Exercise: Identify conflict scenarios to manage
  • Q&A

Wrap-up and Q&A (10 minutes)