You may be aware of Tuckmans Model of group development, Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. Many groups are ill formed, not given the time to build relationships and an understanding or roles and responsibilities with new or exisitng team mates, their skills, strengths and experiences and how they fit and can be used or supported to enhance the work of the team. All this is left to happen as an aside to the ´real work´, when infact, people working together in teams require investment in the team itself, work! Think of any relationship and how it needs to be nurtured, people helped to understand each other under different pressures and to get through challenges and climb mountains and celebrate together.
Many teams and organisations fail to invest in the team and as a result, the work, the environment and the relationships within and between teams suffer and in many cases lead to conflict. At facilitate this! we use Roger Greenaways Four F´s model of reviewing, Facts, Feelings, Findings, Futures. The interesting part is the unsurfaced feelings, good, bad and ugly! Surfacing them with an intention and responsibility to do something about them is healthy, leaving them to fester and pretending they are not there is not healthy for morale or productivity.
If left, the slight tension or unsurfaced frustration can lead to anger and out and out aggression, once this has shown its face then mediation is the strategy that will support a return to agreeable working relationships but by that time so much has been lost. Act now if you recognise that you have done little to invest in your team relationships.
Meantime if you are facilitating teams with tension or have a meeting where you worry that conflicts may arise, have a look at this article with its wisdom and ideas for methodology to facilitate effective dialogue and smooth the way.