Competitive Advantage Step #2:
Engaging in Productive Conflict
Do you know there are five behaviours that predict how effective and productive a team is?
What if you could tap into these five behaviours for your team?
The five key behaviours that make teams highly effective and productive are Trust, Engaging in Productive Conflict, Commitment, Accountability, and focussing on Collective Results. We're looking at each of these over 5 months.
The single most untapped competitive advantage is teamwork!
- Patrick Lencioni
#2. Engaging in Productive Conflict
Conflict is by its very nature uncomfortable, which is why so many people shy away from it. Believe it or not, conflict in a team is a good thing! However, it must be healthy and productive, not personal and destructive.
Having an environment where people discuss and debate ideas effectively is vital for a team to get great results. Conflict doesn't have to be destructive to people or relationships, and enabling it means your meetings will never be boring. If team members are not willing to bring their opinions for fear of causing conflict, then the team will not be anywhere near as effective as it could be!
In order for a team to function at its optimum, people need to be willing to speak up about what they think, not holding back for various reasons.
Two key things that can help people understand conflict:
1. The Conflict Continuum
2. Understanding people's behaviour - Healthy and Unhealthy Behaviours, and people's triggers in conflict situations
1. The conflict continuum
Quite a few people say they have a happy workplace where there is never any conflict. What this almost always means is that people are not prepared to disagree or to say what they really think, out of fear of hurting someone or of retaliation. It is a false harmony, preventing a team from functioning at its optimum. People are scared that any move towards conflict will have negative consequences, being destructive to individuals or to the team. This is what happens at the other end of the continuum.
The best place for a team to be is just left of the centre, where there are lots of discussions and disagreements over issues, but where it is almost never personal. Having that foundation of trust that we talked about in the last newsletter is vital because then there's no fear when you disagree with someone. You can raise an issue, and they will know you're not trying to hurt them, rather that you're wanting to work through the issue to get the best possible answer for the team. If there's no trust, conflict can easily be hurtful or manipulative, or be political.
2. Understanding people's behaviour
Part of being able to engage in conflict is understanding people's behaviour. Using a tool like Everything DiSC can be very useful in helping people understand where others are coming from, and why they behave the way they do.
When it comes to conflict, there are healthy behaviours and unhealthy ones. Healthy behaviours include people being able to raise their ideas, express feelings, listen to each other, remain calm, and be objective. Unhealthy behaviour includes people caving in, trying to overpower others, getting aggressive, digging in their heels, becoming passive aggressive or overly dramatic, and having people retreat. Being able to identify when these behaviours are happening, and what the triggers are is a very important part of being able to engage in productive conflict.
How is your team when it comes to conflict? Do you want your team to get great results and never have boring meetings again?
For more information on Everything DiSC or maximising your team's potential using the Five Behaviors programme, contact Cathy today.
BSI People Skills are your experts in building teams and developing people.