When to Intervene

by | Oct 26, 2023 | Leadership

What do you do when there’s conflict among your team?   

There can be conflict in sports, in business or even among your kids. I saw a great post by Dan Rockwell that talked about when is the right time to intervene when there’s conflict on your team.   

A key point is to give people time to solve their own problems initially. If you jump in and solve every problem for people, they’ll never figure out how to solve them themselves. Conflict is okay. Conflict is good. Being able to work through conflict is even better. The only way you learn to work through conflict is by working through conflict.   

As leaders or parents, if we jump in and solve the conflict before anyone has a chance to work through it, they’ll never learn that skill. Problem-solving is a great skill to have, and in my opinion, it’s essential to get through life.   

So, when is the right time to intervene? There are times when people can’t solve a conflict themselves. You’ve given them a chance, but they can’t do it. Dan Rockwell lists four reasons to get involved:   

  1. When the conflict persists  

If they’re trying to work it out and you’re giving them space, coaching them and helping them, but they’re not getting it done on their own, that’s when you need to jump in. Get them in the room, sit them down and lean into the tension. Ignoring conflict never works, and it’s not what leaders do. If conflict persists, jump in! 

  1. When the conflict distracts you from priorities  

What is your mission or goal? What are you trying to accomplish? Conflict may help you get there. Sometimes conflict accelerates your progress, and that’s good; talk, strategize and figure it out. Other times, you can’t get past conflict; people take sides and become divided. You need to jump in when the conflict becomes the focus rather than the goal. Conflict can’t distract from the priorities. Determine whether the conflict is helping you achieve your mission or distracting you from it.   

  1. When the conflict creates tension in others  

I talked about people picking sides and creating a divide. If the conflict is affecting other members of the team, you need to get involved. You can’t let conflict impact the people on the outside; it needs to stay contained.    

  1. When the conflict drains your energy  

The right conflict should give you energy! Like Jerry Maguire says in the movie Jerry Maguire, “You think we’re arguing? I think we’re finally talking.” During the right conflict, you’re moving the ball forward, figuring things out and going forward. That will give you energy. During the wrong type of conflict, you’re not moving forward, your energy is draining, and the room is becoming divided; that’s when you jump in.   

I thought this was a great list provided by Dan Rockwell. I agree with it and have experienced it all. I’d love to hear how you handle conflict and when you get involved.

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About Me

I am the President & CEO of Service Express, a National Best & Brightest Company to Work For. Service Express has averaged double digit growth every year since 2001.

We attribute our success to a unique corporate culture that we call The Service Express Way. I am a member of the Young President Organization and sit on the Board of the Spectrum Health Foundation.