How Conflict Can Drive Success in a Team Environment

By Jason Portillo| September 16, 2019

As companies put a bigger focus on team performance, we are seeing a huge uptick in requests from businesses to help them implement and leverage the latest technologies that are driving greater productivity and collaboration. But even with all the right tools in your toolbox, effective teamwork is only possible when you’ve established a culture where employees feel comfortable sharing ideas and expressing their opinions.

In today’s fast-paced work environment, innovation is driven by team collaboration. As a leader of your organization, one of the most important responsibilities is to build a culture that supports collaborative teamwork. While team collaboration is essential, it doesn’t come without a certain degree of disagreement. Despite the negative connotation associated with this type of conflict, differing opinions is a healthy part of a team environment and a critical component to driving better business outcomes.

Why Conflict Can be Good

Teams are composed of a group of people, but not all groups of people make for a successful team. Often, in a group setting, people feel the need to agree with those around them just to avoid conflict or the perception of being difficult. Teams have fallen into a pattern of thinking “the more I agree, the more cohesive we are, the better our results will be.” Unfortunately, this cannot be farther from the truth. Avoiding conflict within a team does not yield maximum success but only creates a false sense of harmony.

If you know the team is going in the wrong direction with an initiative, speak up, politely state why you disagree, and sell your case for a better solution. Your teammates will thank you for it.

Conflict can drive the following positive results:

  • Passionate debates about major goals or objectives and how a team can achieve these efficiently
  • Promotes buy-in and trust that everyone has the same goals in mind
  • Improving productivity by re-focusing everyone’s attention to solve the problem at hand

Fear of conflict in a team can have these negative effects:

  • Artificial harmony
  • Inferior decision-making
  • Lack of trust
  • Lack of commitment
  • Lack of focus
  • Lack of innovation or new ideas
  • Low morale
  • Re-work or duplicate efforts (stemming from bad decisions)

The Bottom Line

While technology is what is driving collaboration in today’s workplaces, collaboration, at its root, is a social activity. For instance, you may notice in a meeting that someone’s body language or demeanor shows signs that they disagree with a thought or approach. Rather than make assumptions, ask that person their thoughts on the approach or if there is a different way they would go about the same task. This can promote a healthy dialogue and lead to innovative ideas.

While technology is becoming a powerful force in the workplace, people remain the single most important piece to business success. If you’re interested in learning more about our holistic approach to enabling your technology and your users, contact us to discuss your specific requirements and needs.

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