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Fear of conflict in teamsBY JUDI WARREN
Fear of conflict DYSFUNCTION 2: Fear of conflict It has been said that all great relationships that last over time, requireproductive conflict in order to grow. Ideological conflict is limited toconcepts and ideas and avoids personally focused and mean-spiritedattacks. Teams that engage in productive conflict know that the purposeis to produce the best results in the shortest period of time. Healthy conflictis actually a time saver. If conflict is avoided, the same issues have to beaddressed again and again.
Teams that fear conflict TEAMS THAT FEAR CONFLICT Have boring meetings Create environments were personal attacks thrive Ignore controversial topics Fail to utilize all team perspectives Waste time
Teams that engage in conflict TEAMS THAT ENGAGE IN CONFLICT Have lively, interesting meetings Extract ideas from all team members Solve problems quickly Minimize politics Put critical topics on the table for discussion
techniques Here are a few techniques to make conflict more common andproductive: Mining: members who tend to avoid conflict must assume the role of“miner of conflict”-someone who extracts buried disagreements in theteam and sheds light on them. These people must have the courage andconfidence to call out sensitive issues and make members work throughthem. This requires a commitment to stay with the conflict until resolved.
techniques Real time permission: Members must coach each other not to retreat froma healthy debate. A simple way to do this is recognize when peopleengaged in conflict are uncomfortable and interrupt them and remindthem that what they are doing is necessary. This is a remarkably effectivetool for draining tension from a productive but difficult exchange. Oncethis discussion is ended, it is helpful to remind the team that the conflictthey just engaged in is good for the team and not to be avoided in thefuture.
tools Other tools: There are other tools such as Briggs-Meyers that allowmembers to better understand each other. Another tool is that specificallyrelates to conflict is the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, referredto as the TKL.
Leaders The leader may feel the need to protect the members from harm. Thisleads to premature interruptions of disagreements and prevents the teamfrom developing coping skills for dealing with conflict. If the conflict isstopped too soon, it can strain the relationship by not allowing them theopportunity to develop conflict management skills. Resolution needs tooccur naturally. If conflict is avoided, when it necessary, the teamcontinues to be dysfunctional
credit Notes from leadership class and the book, “The five dysfunctions of ateam.”