The Ultimate Team: Conflict

Adding new members impacts the culture and dynamics of the team and recently the PPMC has added several new people. One of my favorite management books is The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni, which has helped us on this journey. The book provides a roadmap to creating a culture where not only the work thrives, but so do the people.

The second dysfunction of any team is the “fear of conflict.” Let’s dive in.

pyramid with two layers, the first layer is absence of trust, the second layer is fear of conflictWe’ve all been in meetings when the real conversation happens AFTER the meeting. These parking lot, or hallway conversations, are often where frustrations, concerns, and fears are shared…but not in the actual meeting. Handling conflict and truly accepting differing opinions is a challenge for most organizations, and society as a whole. One only needs to look at the societal divide and realize we struggle with handling conflict in healthy, productive ways. The same is true for our teams. Power struggles and the fear of being uncomfortable often lead to a “false sense of harmony” instead of a deeper level of discussion, analysis, and compromise to reach a better decision.

When your team trusts each other (remember Dysfunction #1?), there is understanding that conflict is healthy, and even needed, to move an organization forward. Teams can disagree openly and understand that it’s not personal – it’s in search of the best outcome. Healthy conflict can only occur when team members do not fear retribution when they speak up.

So how can we all begin accepting healthy conflict openly and respectfully? Here are a few tips from Lencioni’s book:

  • Trust is essential – see Misty’s first blog in this series
  • Give team members permission in real-time that it’s okay to have conflict or disagree with leaders and team members. Name it and demonstrate it.
  • Ask for dissenting opinions or someone to be “devil’s advocate.”
  • Utilize personality assessments to better understand one another and how each team member handles conflict

What steps will you take to have healthy conflict with your team?

Stay tuned into the PPMC newsletter and website for upcoming blogs in this series.


Don't Miss This!

Patrick Lencioni will speak on The Six Types of Working Genius at the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting on November 16. Team PPMC would love to see you and your organization at the event so we can learn and discuss together!