How to Reduce Intergroup Conflict

Office workers in conference room, smiling, view across table

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Any time you bring together a group of people with differing opinions, backgrounds and tastes, you put the group at risk for conflict. The way that you handle that conflict and the differing opinions of your group will ultimately impact how much conflict you experience as a whole. As a group leader, it's your responsibility to adapt and allow so your group feels as though concerns are heard and their ideas are embraced. Together, you can reduce intergroup conflict and become more proactive and productive.

Show honor and respect for diversity by respecting everyone's ideas, backgrounds and opinions. When you discount someone's ideas because they are different from your own, you'll cause conflict due to their concerns going unheard, says business expert Paul Sloane in his book, "The Innovative Leader: How to Inspire Your Team and Drive Creativity." Make sure that you put equal stock in the differences of the group and give each member time to be heard and to present her ideas, questions and concerns.

Communicate within your group often. No one in your group is a mind reader, and if you don't say what you want, it's safe to assume that your group doesn't know what you want. Opening clear lines of communication by having regular meetings or discussions can help you have adult, respectful discussions where your group is able to share ideas and work on grievances.

Separate the people from the issues in your group. When you become too personal you may find it difficult to avoid making personal attacks or becoming emotionally attached to the issues your group has. Instead, remember that people are separate from their ideas and opinions, when communicating, focus solely on the issues instead of the personality flaws of those in the group.

Show flexibility by adapting and accepting others' ideas and opinions. By keeping an open mind, you maintain a sense of respect and connection in your group, according to Financial Executives International. It also proves that you don't value your own ideas above those of your group, and are willing to accept, share and learn with your other group members.

Confront conflict head-on when you sense there's a problem. Conflict avoidance may be a useful strategy on a short-term basis, but it can cause the conflict to fester and eventually spoil the intergroup relationships that you enjoy. Confronting conflict allows you to find a mutually beneficial solution before the conflict becomes inflated, according to the Rah Soin School of Business at Wright State.