You are currently viewing Caution, Conflict! Today we’re talking about how to resolve conflicts among members of the same team.
vocabulary for conflict resolution

Caution, Conflict! Today we’re talking about how to resolve conflicts among members of the same team.

Welcome to the Conversation Club! Today’s topic is incredibly relevant for everyone: resolving a conflict between team members

Anyone aiming to master Business Communication in English must know how to resolve conflicts that—inevitably—arise among team members. Join us for an in-depth discussion that will help you improve not only your English skills but also equip you with the real-world knowledge that you can apply in your professional lives.

Prepared with love by: My Personal English Coach

Idioms We Use When Solving Conflicts in English

  • Clear the air 🌬️
    Definition: To dispel tension or bad feelings
    Example: Let’s clear the air before starting the meeting.
  • Bury the hatchet ⛏️
    Definition: To make peace or settle differences
    Example: They decided to bury the hatchet and work together.
  • Be on thin ice ⛸️
    Definition: To be in a risky or precarious situation
    Example: He’s on thin ice after that argument with the boss.
  • Throw in the towel 🤲
    Definition: To give up
    Example: He almost threw in the towel, but then decided to stick it out.
  • Break the ice ❄️
    Definition: To relieve tension or awkwardness
    Example: We did a team-building exercise to break the ice.
  • Smooth things over 🌊
    Definition: To try to resolve conflicts or restore good relations
    Example: After the heated argument, Sarah tried to smooth things over by apologising for her part in the misunderstanding.
  • Sweep something under the rug 🧹
    Definition: To ignore or hide a problem instead of facing it
    Example: We can’t just sweep this issue under the rug; we need to address it directly.
  • Meet halfway 🤝
    Definition: To compromise with someone by giving up part of what you want
    Example: To resolve the dispute, both parties agreed to meet halfway.
  • Add fuel to the fire 🔥
    Definition: To worsen an already bad situation by saying or doing something
    Example: Talking about past issues in the middle of a conflict usually adds fuel to the fire.
  • Call a spade a spade ♠️
    Definition: To speak honestly and directly about a situation, even if it’s awkward or unpleasant
    Example: If we’re going to resolve this conflict, we need to call a spade a spade and address the issues head-on.

Phrasal Verbs For Mediation and Conflict Management

English courses
  • Hash out 🗨️ Definition: To discuss something thoroughly
    Example: We need to hash out the details of this project.
  • Clear up ☀️ Definition: To resolve or clarify
    Example: I’m glad we cleared up that misunderstanding.
  • Patch up 🩹 Definition: To mend or resolve
    Example: They managed to patch up their differences.
  • Stand down 🛑 Definition: To withdraw or disengage
    Example: She decided to stand down as the CEO
  • Speak up 📣 Definition: To voice one’s opinion
    Example: If you disagree, you should speak up.

Round 1 – Let’s Warm Up

  1. In your opinion, what are the primary causes of conflicts among team members?
  2. How can a person identify early signs of discord within a team? Are you good at identifying these signs? Why? Why not?
  3. What approaches can you use to manage conflict?
  4. Can conflict be beneficial to team dynamics? Why? Why not?

Round 2: Let’s Explore it!

  1. Tell your partner about a professional conflict you can remember. Include the answers to all of the following questions:
    • how did it originate?
    • who was involved?
    • how was it managed?
    • what is your opinion of the way it was managed?
    • what was your role in it?
    • is there anything you would have done differently should the same situation take place now?
    • what happened after the conflict?

Round 3: Ready to Role-play?

Scenario: You are two team members who have a conflicting approach to a project. One thinks that prioritising quality is key, while the other believes in speed.

Student A: You are the team member advocating for quality. Prepare some arguments.

Student B: You are the team member who believes in speed. Come up with counter-arguments.

Objective: Try to resolve the conflict by finding common ground or a compromise.

Extra: Use at least one phrasal verb, idiom, or expression from the list above in your role play.

Remember – there is always more! Here is your Follow Up video:

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