Every team goes through a few stages until people truly trust each other. In the early stages of a relationship, people are feeling out each other’s personalities. Over time, as projects continue, each of us handles situations differently. When we end up offending someone (or being offended), conflict can happen. This conflict can be subtle (like avoiding eye contact or sensing someone is uncomfortable) or it can be not-so-subtle (like people being rude or cutting you off).
Overall, though uncomfortable, I feel like some conflict can teach us how others would like to be treated. If we’re smart, we take note of what people liked or didn’t, and recalibrate our behavior.
Sometimes we mess up. That’s ok, we’re human. When we offend others, I find it’s helpful to pull the person aside privately and discuss. Not everything needs to be called out, but it’s better to side on caution if you have felt you did offend someone (or someone offended you).
Author’s note: I struggle with this sometimes and have to calibrate. If I say something and notice someone else is now acting out of character, then I like to take note of my behavior or how I am coming across. My goal is to enable collaboration, not hurt it. I will analyze how I said something and work towards improving it next time. During the end of projects, I like to ask for balanced feedback, which may surface blindspots as well.