How to Eliminate Destructive Conflict for Better Teamwork



There are two types of conflict.

For better teamwork 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.

argument-238529_1280It’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.

This is 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.

Staff meetings must also be productive so you can improve your company’s performance.

Otherwise, you can expect these harmful results:

— Poor decisions

— Chaos

— Poor project management

How to argue effectively?

Use the right skills:

1. 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.”

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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 — The dos and don’ts for best decision-making are applicable in three ways: Whether you have difficulty making the best decisions, engage in self doubt after making one, or are gun shy because some of your decisions have failed you.

Workplace Bullies May Hurt Retention of All Employees, Not Just Victims — Victims of workplace bullies are less likely to quit than employees who observe the abuse, according to a study by a Canadian university. The research implies a costly threat to an organization’s teamwork and productivity.

6 Tips for Baby Boomers to Cope with a Younger Boss — If you’re a gainfully employed baby boomer, please accept my congratulations on your good fortune. However, many boomers are saddled with a boss who is a young, less-experienced Millennial. That can be hard to take but it doesn’t have to be.

Four Tips to Motivate Employees When You’re Facing Adversity — Effective bosses have antennas to alert them over looming challenges. If they don’t have such an antenna, it’s important for them to develop one for multiple credibility reasons. Even the bosses of small companies can suffer from image problems externally and internally. Either one or both will adversely affect profits.

“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.”
-Vince Lombardi


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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.





Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.