Building a Strong Crew: Navigating Conflict in Teamwork

No boat can sail alone, and success on the water requires building a strong crew. This requires cooperation, coordination, and the ability to navigate challenges together. Effective interpersonal behaviors are essential to achieve this goal. In this blog, we’ll explore building a strong crew and navigating conflict in teamwork.  Plus, the importance of trust, listening, conflict resolution, and the utility of using the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument in achieving successful collaboration. 

Trust: The Foundation of Teamwork

Trust is essential for any successful team effort. When team members trust one another, they feel safe to take risks, communicate directly and honestly, and collaborate effectively.

Psychological Safety-Greater Employee Retention

Build Trust with Psychological Safety

Establish clear expectations. Get everyone on the same page.

Communicate openly and honestly.  Share ideas, opinions, and concerns.

Be courageous, and lean into vulnerability. Admit mistakes. Ask for help.

Invite feedback. Provide feedback with a Kiss and Kick! 

Celebrate success. Boost morale and recognize significant achievements along the way!

Conflict Resolution: Navigating Rough Waters

What is your relationship with conflict?

Conflicts are inevitable in any team, but how we handle them can make or break a team.

Conflict resolution involves identifying the source of the conflict, perspective-taking, and collaborative problem-solving toward a solution that satisfies everyone’s needs.

Key anchors: Patience, empathy, and compromise.

Executive Coaching and Leadership Development-Business Forecasting

Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument

This great tool helps individuals identify their preferred approach to conflict resolution. The five conflict modes are:

Competing: assertive and uncooperative

Collaborating: assertive and cooperative

Compromising: intermediate in assertiveness and cooperativeness

Avoiding: unassertive and uncooperative

Accommodating: unassertive and cooperative 

What is your conflict resolution style?

Executive Coaching and Leadership Development-Critical Thinking

Listening: The Key to Effective Communication

“What did you say?”

Research suggests that, on average, people remember only 25-50% of what they hear. What?!?!

Listening requires presence and being fully engaged in conversation.

We can listen with our heads (analyzing information logically), hearts (empathizing and connecting emotionally), and guts (paying attention to our intuition).

Curiosity and taking a not-knowing stance (versus assumptions, which makes an ass out of you and me!) and asking open-ended questions can help deepen understanding.

Listening is best without distractions, multitasking, or thinking about what you will say next.


Successful teamwork requires trust, psychological safety, effective communication, conflict resolution skills, and an understanding of individual conflict resolution styles. With these skills, we can navigate any challenge and sail toward success together.


How can trust be built within your team?

How can compromise lead to win-win solutions?

Can avoiding conflict ever be beneficial in a team?

Take the Thomas-Killman  Assessment

Recent Posts:

3-Step Approach for Building Psychological Safety and Trust

Elevate Your Employee Experience with Our E.M.P.O.W.E.R Method

Recommended Reading: 

Make Conflict Drive Results by Harvard Management 



Meet Jodie, your Culture & Transformation Captain. With over twenty years helping people change, facilitating team discussions, building cultures, designing, implementing and teaching classes, your organization is in good hands.