Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the Deakin University's online course, Career Credentials: Evidence Your Expertise in Teamwork. Join the course to learn more.
1.11

Skip to 0 minutes and 17 seconds SPEAKER 1: Then what’s– what’s the point of PAEM?

Skip to 0 minutes and 20 seconds CATH: The whole point of PAEM is to support our members in matters relating to the professional practise of engineering. Can you pass me the muffins?

Skip to 0 minutes and 29 seconds SEON: We’ve been running the national conference for five years now. And the main aim is to bring together our members and connect them with the top practitioners in the field. But it’s also a good opportunity to promote the Association and drive our membership.

Skip to 0 minutes and 42 seconds CATH: There’s no doubt our members are a diverse bunch. We’ve got practicing engineers, managers, project people, contractors, you know? Suppliers, labourers, unions, the works. The muffins, please? [SIGHS] We’ve also got government, big business, and financial-type people in our membership. But what we really are about– what the whole point about the organisation is is supporting engineers working on the coalface. Fine, look. I’ll get them myself.

Skip to 1 minute and 13 seconds MARC: As the Event Manager, it’s my job to ensure that the conference is a success. And that’s exactly what I intend to do.

Skip to 1 minute and 22 seconds SPEAKER 1: What do you think about Marc?

Skip to 1 minute and 27 seconds CATH: Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.

Skip to 1 minute and 32 seconds Let’s just say he’s a good man of the new directors.

Skip to 1 minute and 38 seconds So, who are you thinking of in terms of speakers?

Skip to 1 minute and 40 seconds MARC: I’m thinking Branson, LeBron, Clinton.

Skip to 1 minute and 45 seconds CATH: Clinton? Hillary Clinton?

Skip to 1 minute and 47 seconds MARC: That’s right. Hey, I wasn’t brought on board to think small. I was brought on board to think big. Shake things up a little bit. That’s why, Seon, I want you to book a venue with at least 10,000 capacity.

Skip to 2 minutes and 1 second SEON: 10,000?

Skip to 2 minutes and 3 seconds MARC: That’s right.

Skip to 2 minutes and 4 seconds CATH: You do realise we’ve only got 12,000 members in total.

Skip to 2 minutes and 8 seconds MARC: That’s exactly why we we need a big name speaker.

Skip to 2 minutes and 11 seconds CATH: And how are we going to be able to afford these kinds of people?

Skip to 2 minutes and 14 seconds MARC: Look, you worry about your job and I’ll just worry about mine, eh? Seon? I want a complete rebranding. I’m talking print, digital, signage, the works. Can you do that?

Skip to 2 minutes and 26 seconds SEON: Sure. I’ll get right on it. [CLAPS]

Skip to 2 minutes and 29 seconds MARC: Beautiful. See? That’s someone that knows their job.

Skip to 2 minutes and 33 seconds CATH: Look, I don’t want to be negative. I’m not saying a rebrand is a bad idea. And maybe some higher profile speakers would drive attendance. But I’m also realistic. And I’m pretty sure Hillary has better things to do.

Skip to 2 minutes and 47 seconds SEON: I actually liked Marc’s ideas. The conference format needed an update. And some of the speakers he mentioned would provide some awesome PR ops that would absolutely boost our attendance.

Skip to 2 minutes and 57 seconds CATH: I’ve been with the Association for 10 years. And I know our members. They don’t care about pretty pictures. What they care about and what they expect from us is quality, up-to-date information, delivered by leaders in the field.

Skip to 3 minutes and 13 seconds SEON: Look, how do I put this? Cathy’s a bit set in her ways. So at this point, I wasn’t really worried about who the keynote speakers were going to be. But when we started to miss our key communication milestones, that’s when I started to stress out.

Skip to 3 minutes and 35 seconds Giving us the results we want. [CLAPPING]

Skip to 3 minutes and 38 seconds MARC: Thank you, Seon. Great work. I love the new branding. Beautiful. Love the rebrand. So let’s get those banners and the signage made up. And you can also update that website.

Skip to 3 minutes and 51 seconds SEON: Will do.

Skip to 3 minutes and 52 seconds CATH: What about our keynote speakers? Has anyone been confirmed yet?

Skip to 3 minutes and 55 seconds MARC: I’m still working on that.

Skip to 3 minutes and 57 seconds CATH: Well, we need to know, Marc. Our members want to know what the programme is before they commit to attending. And what about the pricing? Any word from Hillary yet?

Skip to 4 minutes and 9 seconds MARC: Seon? Seon? Where are we with the marketing comms?

Skip to 4 minutes and 14 seconds SEON: I have sent out the save the day EDMs with the programme and speaker details that we do have. I still need to update the website with the new brand design. And we do have some print ads coming up that I have to confirm copy by the end of the month. So it would be really helpful if we could add the keynote speaker details and–

Skip to 4 minutes and 31 seconds MARC: OK. So, we’re fine.

Skip to 4 minutes and 33 seconds SEON: Well–

Skip to 4 minutes and 34 seconds CATH: We’re not fine, Marc. We need to know.

Skip to 4 minutes and 37 seconds MARC: Cath, if I say that we’re fine, we’re fine.

Skip to 4 minutes and 43 seconds Can we move on to catering now?

Skip to 4 minutes and 46 seconds SEON: Now I’m really starting to worry. By this point, we should absolutely be promoting our keynotes speakers. They’re the single biggest draw card that we have. And Cath’s right about pricing. We should have started advertising our early bird rates a month ago.

Skip to 5 minutes and 0 seconds SPEAKER 1: So, how are you going with the speakers?

Skip to 5 minutes and 2 seconds MARC: Look, I’ve worked with some of the best in the business. Some of the biggest names in the business, including a certain national breakfast show anchor. And I’ve certainly organised events much, much, much bigger than this. I’m sick and tired of little tinpot negativity thinking in this team. What Cath and Seon don’t know is that I’m in advanced negotiations with the people of a certain high profile TV soap star.

Skip to 5 minutes and 29 seconds SPEAKER 1: Why do you think a TV soap star would be a good speaker for an engineering conference?

Skip to 5 minutes and 35 seconds MARC: Because he’s famous. People don’t go to a conference to hear about stuff that they could read about online. You know, they want atmosphere. They want experience. They want something that they can tell their friends about. It’s all about experience. It’s about creating something memorable. Not about some boring engineer standing on a stage in a bad suit.

Skip to 5 minutes and 57 seconds CATH: The situation, it’s starting to get ridiculous. I’ve emailed Marc on multiple occasions. And he doesn’t even bother replying. Who the hell is the TV soap star anyway? All I want to know is who the [BLEEP] keynote speakers are going to be so I can let the members know.

Skip to 6 minutes and 17 seconds SEON: I don’t know what’s going on, other than Cath and Marc are both on the warpath. And I’m sick of it.

Skip to 6 minutes and 22 seconds CATH: So, who are the keynote speakers going to be, Marc? We’re now looking at charging double the rates of last year’s conference, and everyone’s asking why.

Skip to 6 minutes and 32 seconds MARC: I told you I’m working on this.

Skip to 6 minutes and 34 seconds CATH: Working on this? We’re one month out from the conference. And you still don’t know who will be speaking. How are Seon and I supposed to get on and do our jobs if you can’t even tell us who the speakers are?

Skip to 6 minutes and 45 seconds MARC: Why you just calm down, Cath?

Skip to 6 minutes and 46 seconds CATH: Why? Because I– my–

Skip to 6 minutes and 49 seconds MARC: You’re– ah, your–

Skip to 6 minutes and 52 seconds CATH: My– not my– our members want to know why they’re paying twice what they paid last year to attend the conference with still to be confirmed speakers.

Skip to 7 minutes and 2 seconds MARC: I’ll tell you why. Because your members have basically nothing in terms of great speakers.

Skip to 7 minutes and 9 seconds SEON: And that’s just how the meeting started. I won’t even get into how it ended.

Skip to 7 minutes and 14 seconds SPEAKER 1: Is there any else you want to add?

Skip to 7 minutes and 17 seconds CATH: Add? Where do you want me to stop? I’ve done everything I could possibly do to avert this situation. And yet, this is where we end up. I just keep on getting told next week, next week, yes, I’ll let you know next week. But next week never comes.

Skip to 7 minutes and 33 seconds MARC: Sure, we are only a month out. But all I can say is what I’ve said time and time again, once I’ve confirmed this TV soap star– or at least someone of his calibre– our conference will sell out in no time.

Skip to 7 minutes and 46 seconds And, yeah, then who’s going to have the problem, huh?

Skip to 7 minutes and 53 seconds SEON: All I know is that working with two people who are both at odds with each other has made my life a total misery. It’s even made me consider looking for a new job. Have you guys got anything coming up?

Skip to 8 minutes and 8 seconds No, really.

Overcoming team conflict

The ability to effectively manage conflict is one of the most highly-prized skills a team member can have. In this step, we look at sources of team conflict and how to manage them.

According to McShane & Travaglione (2003), ‘conflict is the process in which one party perceives that its interests are being opposed or negatively affected by another’ (p. 434).

All teams will encounter conflict one day – your skills in conflict management will therefore make you more valuable to the team, your organisation and also to your own career.

Sources of conflict

Teamwork can be extremely challenging because outcomes are dependent not only on your ability and willingness to contribute, but also on the ability and willingness of others and the compatibility of your approach, skills and knowledge.

Conflict can arise over any number of issues, including:

  • resource availability
  • individual or management styles
  • aims and goals
  • time pressures
  • role clarity/ambiguity
  • differing personal values or perceptions
  • unclear or changing policies.

Managing conflict

For these reasons, it is likely that regardless of how well you collaborate with others, you will have faced a difficult teamwork situation in the past.

How we perform in difficult teamwork situations is as – if not more – important than how we perform under ideal situations. Some simple ways to do this, include:

  • remaining calm and open-minded
  • listening carefully to what others have to say
  • practising empathy
  • minimising threats (whether perceived or real)
  • encouraging participation and two-way dialogue.

The Thomas-Kilmann conflict mode instrument is popular model for understanding how we approach conflict. The five key modes it identifies are:

  • competing
  • accommodating
  • avoiding
  • collaborating
  • compromising.

Your task

Watch the video and use the comments to discuss what factors you think led to this team conflict.

Also take a moment to reflect on your experience of team conflict. For example:

  • Have you ever needed to manage or resolve conflict in a team?
  • Were you able to strengthen the cohesion or effectiveness of the team?
  • Or are there things that you would do differently next time?

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Career Credentials: Evidence Your Expertise in Teamwork

Deakin University

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: