Conflict usually arises from misunderstanding or lack of communication. It can manifest itself in many ways. Lowered morale, reduced productivity and increases in absenteeism can all be strong indicators that something needs to be addressed.

The language of Belbin Team Roles can help in areas where discussions can too often include personal attacks and can often exacerbate the conflict.

Belbin and Interpersonal conflict

By comparing individuals Belbin Reports (with Observer Assessments) areas of potential conflict and misunderstanding can be highlighted, and by using the language of Belbin Team Roles, common ground can be established and a successful working relationship identified.

Belbin and Cross-team conflict

Sometimes teams become too inward focused and forget their role within the larger picture. Teams can start to compete with other teams, or start dismissing other team's suggestions and outputs. This can lead not only to cross-team conflict, but to reduced productivity within organisations.

This was the situation with an organisation in the US:

"One key insight was that both teams were imbalanced in their Team Roles, both having an overabundance of some roles and gaps in other roles (they were imbalanced in different ways). Because of these imbalances, neither team could be very productive on its own, and the differences in working styles practically guaranteed conflict between the groups.

Yet the two groups realised that if they combined their strengths, together they could create a well-balanced team. The groups worked through their differences, developed a better understanding of the each other’s dynamics, and develop ground rules that would help them communicate in ways that would avoid future problems."

Taken from:

Next Steps

If you are interested in finding out more, come and join us at one of our Introduction to Belbin sessions, or become Belbin Team Role Accredited.

More conflict management related content:

Xerox - a case study in conflict management resolution

Belbin Working Relationship Reports - identifying potential causes for conflict and producing productive partnership working.  

How to handle difficult people - an awkward pairing or a case of too many people occupying the same ground?

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