Wouldn’t it be nice if you never had to worry about disagreeing with your teammates? Unfortunately, there is no way to completely avoid conflict with your teammates. Anyone who spends hours and hours together are bound to disagree at some point. Combine that with the fact you are pushing each other to your physical limits, it's no wonder your team will get on each other’s nerves at some point. Knowing a quarrel is inevitable can actually be a good thing, though! Understanding it is normal to not get along 100% of the time can put a fight in its proper perspective: it's not the end of the world.
Have you ever had one of THOSE days? You wake up and everything goes wrong, every word rubs you the wrong way and by 10 a.m. you're ready to just take a mulligan and fast forward to tomorrow. We all have those days, and it's not always obvious when someone else is having one. People are much more likely to know the reason behind their own mistakes. "I didn't mean to snap at her but I only got 3 hours of sleep last night!" However, when it comes to attributing reason to other peoples' behavior, we're quick to assume they're just a natural-born jerk. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, and we only get better at something when it's hard to do.
Nip Conflicts in the Bud
Use emotional intelligence to notice when conflicts are brewing. Notice if someone's energy levels are low, if they are just crabby or when they actually seem to be upset by something. Intervene early; don't let it fester and turn into a bigger problem. The longer you let a conflict linger, the more likely it is that it will turn nothing into something. Be transparent with your thoughts and feelings.
Speak Your Mind…Respectfully
Speaking of speaking your mind...sometimes conflicts are the result of someone being unable to express something that was difficult. Certain topics are too uncomfortable to bring up, but during an argument, well, it can't get much worse, right? Encourage your team to speak their mind, respectfully. A respectful tone is the most simple team hack to try in your life. It might not always be so easy when you're annoyed, but it's easier than getting into a conflict.
This is the panacea of teamwork! A sincere compliment on something your teammate does well is appreciated and builds trust. An upbeat attitude is infectious. On the flip side, negativity can be almost physically draining. Complaining rarely inspires others to give it their all. Hurtful comment adds up and can't be undone, eventually create a toxic environment.
Don’t Expect Others to Read Your Thoughts
Another cause of conflicts are simple misunderstandings. None of us are mind readers, and it's easy to interpret things incorrectly, taking them personally. To avoid these types of conflict, be as clear as you can, right from the get-go. Ain't nobody got time for a tiff because you asked to practice a new move one more time, worried about your own form, but a teammate thought you were picking on her specifically.
Know When to Walk Away
What do you do if you find yourself in a conflict? First, check-in with yourself. Are you ready to stop being mad? To not be ready is totally normal and human! Adrenaline takes some time to leave your system. If you feel yourself getting heated, walk away. Remember: you can't unsay words. Maybe now would be a good time to run some laps. Cardio is always a good idea, but don't spend the time away re-hashing the fight. While it might seem like you need to relive the argument to understand it better, ruminating on the thing that made you mad will only keep you angry. Take a break from the situation not just physically away from your teammate, but mentally away from yourself. I promise it will still be there later to deal with but for just a while, take a break.
Once you've calmed down, do your best to listen first. Try to imagine it from their point of view; build those empathy muscles with good, hard work. When you state your case, try to keep your statements about you and your feelings.
When it comes to minor tiffs, you have to ask yourself: would you rather be right or happy? In the moment, it might feel like proving your point is the most important thing in the world. But two months from now, will you even remember this spat?
Even if eventually resolved, a fight can leave lasting scars. It damages relationships and it takes time and trust to mend that damage. Avoid quarreling when you can; remember--we're all on the same team.