By Terry Corbell
The Biz Coach
How You Can Eliminate Destructive Conflict for Better Teamwork
For better employee-team decision-making and higher performance, it’s true that constructive conflict works. Usually, the best ideas evolve when ideas are discussed and debated.
But when employees fail to exercise self control and their egos get in the way, emotions flare and cliques are formed in the workplace. That’s destructive conflict. So the key is for team members to understand their patterns of thought that lead to destructive results.
It’s also important to understand when colleagues engage in destructive conflict they’re lacking one important element – trust.
The goal should be for team members to reach a common vision with mutual accountability – by developing trust – achieved by sharing feelings and information for a consensus.
It’s a myth to think it’s best to avoid disagreements. There are risks in avoiding disagreements.
How people communicate can be damaging, too. Parties can diplomatically choose to disagree.
It helps to have a hierarchy – a leader – to facilitate discussions in order to stay focused on the group’s objective. (See: Strategies for Productive Meetings to Improve Your Company’s Performance)
Otherwise, you can expect these harmful results: Poor decisions and chaos en route to completing projects. Such projects never conclude on time.
How to argue effectively?
Use the right skills:
- Control your thought process. Don’t react – respond. Think about what to say before you say it. If you disagree, make certain you’re not in a capricious mood. Ask yourself: “Why would my talented co-workers feel the way they do.”
- Look for your co-workers’ good points. Give your co-workers a meaningful compliment or two. Make sure the persons know they have your respect.
- Focus on the facts. Keep the focus on principles – not personalities. Don’t insult the person by raising your voice and pointing your finger coupled with accusatory, judgmental and insulting words.
- Be honest with a caveat. Explain your position directly but not bluntly. But avoid condemning, inflammatory language. Don’t speak with finality – as though you’re the only person in the room with a valid opinion.
- Encourage a dialogue. Even if the persons have commented before you, request a response to your sharing.
In disagreements, remember that you have a common welfare to promote with your team members – avoid destructive conflict for more harmony and high productivity.
From the Coach’s Corner, additional workplace reading:
- 9 Dos and Don’ts for Best Decision-making
- Workplace Bullies May Hurt Retention of All Employees, Not Just Victims
- 6 Tips for Baby Boomers to Cope with a Younger Boss
- Four Tips to Motivate Employees When You’re Facing Adversity
“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.”
Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.