Most team members cringe when you mention the word "conflict." But the truth is that conflict often results in the best solutions for your team and your company -- and that’s a good thing.
Problem: If it seems like your team members are always at each other’s throats, you should sit down as a group and evaluate whether your conflicts actually get good results.
Face it: Eliminating conflict from the workplace completely is unrealistic, because your team is made up of individuals, each with unique perspectives, ideas and opinions.
Evaluate Your Team’s ConflictIf you view conflict as "the coming to terms with two or more differing views on how a problem, challenge or opportunity should be approached," as Jeff Palfini does in his article "Rubbing Each Other The Right Way," you’ll realize that conflict is vital if you want to come up with the best plan of action.
Consider these three questions when you’re trying to gauge whether your team’s conflict is actually productive, suggests Palfini:
1. Does the conflict bring up new considerations about how a decision will affect both the team and the company?
2. Do new solutions arise from conflict when team members compromise?
3. Does the conflict lead team members to hold long-term grudges against each other, resulting in lower team productivity?
See where these questions lead your team’s discussion. It might also help to map out how past conflicts have lead to innovative solutions, according to Palfini. This activity shows your teammates that sometimes a little friction is worth the resulting success.
Another suggestion: Get some team-building training as a group so you can make sure future conflicts strengthen your team instead of tearing it apart. For more information on building a successful team using only your available resources, check out http://goto.hraudioinfo.com/go/8707.
Last-ditch effort: If your team determines that its conflict is actually counterproductive, you might need to take steps toward creating healthy conflict. Hire an expert to come in and teach your team how to make conflict work for them instead of against them, says Palfini.