Building Effective Teams by Confronting Conflict

Source: DeChurch, Mesmer-Magnus, and Doty, Mega-analysis of 45 different studies with over 3000 teams.

All organizations have to deal with teams in conflict sooner or later. Successfully moving from a dysfunctional team to a highly functional one, begins with facing HOW you deal with conflict within the team. Is it a free-for-all where everybody talks over everyone else and nobody is listening? Or is it a constructive debate about various ideas and points of views where everyone is respectful of each other even when they disagree?

At your next team meeting, implement “critique & cooperate”. Ask each team member to offer one critique of what the team can do better (i.e. meetings should start on time and everyone should be respectful of the start time and not show up late – no finger pointing or naming names). Then have each person offer how he or she will cooperate with each suggested improvement. Oftentimes it’s too easy for team members to think someone else is the problem or solution. But when everyone has to contribute ideas and everyone has to offer solutions, then people move from blaming to sharing responsibility.