Is It Good to Have Conflict in Your Team?

How many times have you attended a team meeting that ran so smoothly that there was hardly any dissenting points of view? How about those where the leader posed a topic for discussion and nobody disagreed with the boss?\r\n\r\nEven though many of us may naturally try to avoid conflict at work, “smooth” and “top-down” type of meetings hardly ever lead to outcomes that include the best ideas. If you are faced with these situations, I invite you to consider adding “healthy conflict” to your arsenal.\r\n\r\nIn my corporate career I habitually fostered the debate of different perspectives on the issue or proposal being discussed. However, when I first read about the “healthy conflict” concept in Patrick Lencioni’s book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, it caught my attention. It provided a fresh (and at first counterintuitive) perspective on how to increase the effectiveness of team meetings. Here are a few suggestions on how to foster “healthy conflict” in your team discussions:\r\n\r\n• When team members build a foundation of vulnerability-based trust (see my previous blog post on this concept), conflict simply becomes an attempt to find the best possible answer via unfiltered, constructive debate. Team members feel comfortable passionately arguing for their ideas.\r\n• Healthy conflict focuses on concepts and ideas to produce the best possible solution in the shortest period of time. It distinguishes productive, ideological conflict from destructive fighting and interpersonal politics.\r\n• Team members voice their opinions even at the risk of causing disagreement. They go as far as soliciting one another’s opinions during meetings.\r\n• When conflict occurs (and my experience tells me it frequently does), the team confronts and deals with the issue before moving to the next topic. In fact, high-performance-teams tackle the tough issues first.\r\n\r\nEmbracing healthy conflict is second of the “The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team” program, which builds on Lencioni’s book and which I introduced in a recent blog post. If you want to improve your team’s effectiveness, contact me to support you in implementing this program.\r\n\r\nPercy M. Cannon\r\nAuthor, Consultant, Facilitator & Coach\r\n\r\nwww.cannon.consulting

2 thoughts on “Is It Good to Have Conflict in Your Team?

  1. Valeria

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