By Elena Aguilar
If you are a team leader — a department head, grade-level lead, coach, or an administrator — chances are high that conflict makes you nervous. It makes most of us nervous, and when we’re in a position of leadership, there’s an implicit understanding that we’re supposed to do something about conflict. We may even worry that we contributed or caused the conflict.
I want to make something clear: It is your role to address unhealthy conflict in a team you lead or facilitate. Your primary role as a leader is to attend to your team member’s dynamics with each other and to build a constructive team culture.
Without a healthy team culture, you probably won’t get into the kinds of conversations that make a big difference for students because those conversations are challenging ones in which conflict will most likely surface. That said, let me offer you some ways to manage unhealthy conflict in teams that you lead.