Would you believe me if I told you effective teams have conflict all the time and still succeed in accomplishing their goals? Read on to learn more about how CONFLICT can WORK!
Effective teams have conflict all the time and they still succeed in achieving their goals. How does this happen? We’ve all seen how unproductive conflict can dissolve into pointless arguing, hard feelings and resentment that can stagnate teamwork. Contentious teams also will fail in commitment, accountability and results.
So how do you get everyone working together after airing disagreements and differences of opinion? You do it by learning how to manage conflict. So, how do you get everyone working together after airing disagreements and differences of opinion? Simple – by learning how to manage conflict.
Healthy conflict is the second building block of The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™; the team building program we facilitate that was inspired by best-selling author Patrick Lencioni’s business fable, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.
Once trust is established, members of a cohesive team are better equipped to manage conflict.
One of the first steps is to not be afraid of conflict. The Information Technology chief of a D.C. firm found himself constantly encouraging members of his leadership team to express themselves and share ideas in team meetings. “Some were more willing to share their opinions, but those who were more conflict-adverse were unwilling to do so, and that would leave us with only half of the picture at times,” the IT chief said.
Without good discussions, healthy conflict and idea-sharing, meetings become boring, members lose focus and pay less attention.
After we facilitated the Everything DiSC® personal styles assessment for his team, the group had a better understanding of their individual styles and why some members were reluctant to share ideas that might be contrary to others’ thoughts and opinions. Once the team was able to establish a sense of trust, members were more forthcoming in their ideas and opinions.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
Part of creating a sense of trust is learning how to handle conversations. The IT Team worked on finding non-threatening ways to ask one another questions and speak to each other in more constructive ways.
Again, understanding personal styles helped. For instance, someone with a Dominance style, feeling passionately about an idea, might raise his or her voice. And team members who fall in the Conscientious or Steadiness styles may be quieter in meetings, but that does not mean he or she is indifferent or less passionate.
Understanding the different styles improves communication among team members. They also set behavior guidelines in meetings, such as being respectful and listening.
So, what does conflict on a cohesive team look like? Issues are raised, discussed and resolved. Mistakes are less likely to occur because potential problems are addressed ahead of time. You have great idea generation too. Meetings are livelier and participation is greater. The more ideas expressed, the easier it is to get roadblocks out of the way and move onto the next step of a cohesive team – gaining commitment… a topic we’ll discuss in the next blog post.