Embrace conflict as a sign of engagement and stimulation within your team

Posted: October 12, 2015 in Powerful Ideas
Tags: , , , , , , ,

There is nothing wrong with conflict within a team. It only becomes a problem when it gets out of hand and prevents decisions on important matters or undermines performance. In addition, lack of conflict can be just as much of problem as too much conflict. It can be a sign of group think or unquestioning obedience to authority.

In fact, conflict is a sign of healthy disagreement and debate about important issues. If managed properly, through respectful dialogue and exchange, then it can lead to higher quality outcomes.

There are four basic types of conflict, and I’ve listed them below in growing order of criticality and difficulty of resolution:

  • Conflict about inputs, priorities, and resources
  • Conflict about courses of action and options to achieve an aim
  • Conflict about objectives and aim
  • Conflict about fundamental values

As long as internal conflicts are limited to the first two and are resolved by clear decisions and communications–which is ultimately a leader’s responsibility–then they are very manageable. Conflicts about aims and objectives are harder to resolve and may require difficult decisions and resentments. The final form of conflict is usually impossible to resolve without one or more parties to the dispute leaving the organization.

You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned “personality conflict.” In my opinion, this is really nothing more than disagreements about fundamental values.

I’m never too busy to discuss your needs or those of anyone else you feel may benefit from meeting or talking to me. So feel free to contact me at any time!

Richard Martin is The Force Multiplier. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

© 2015 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

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