Leadership Tip # 3

April 30, 2013

Conflict In Team Improves Productivity
Most people view conflict as a negative thing, where in fact conflict is a healthy part of the development of any relationship or group dynamics. Just as a plant in a drought will shed its leaves and look unhealthy, beneath the soil it’s developing a strong foundation of roots. When the rain comes the plant will then again flourish.
Tuckman’s stages of group development states that there are 4 stages to the development of a healthy group dynamic:

In the forming stage of group development people often feel self conscious about how other people in the group will perceive them. This means that they are on their best behaviour so that they are accepted by other team members. Serious issues and feelings are avoided and people will be focused on tasks and roles.

This is a comfortable stage though avoidance of conflict means less team productivity. This is the stage where all team members get to know each other and see how each other work and deal with stress and pressure. Supervisors of the team need to be directive during this phase.

This is the competing stage where team members fight to put their ideas forward for consideration. Issues are addressed and team members open up to each other and confront each other’s ideas and perspectives.
In some cases storming can be resolved quickly and some teams never move out of the storming phase. The maturity of the members of the team will determine how quickly the team resolves conflict creates solutions and moves forward.
Supervisors in the storming phase should be more accessible though tend to remain directive, guiding the team in the decision making process and encouraging professional behaviour.

Team Managers are to have a common goal and team members are focused, ambitious and take responsibility for achieving this goal. The team have come to an agreement around the plan at this stage. Some team members have to compromise their opinions to improve team function and cohesion.

It is possible for some trams to reach the performing stage. Supervisors of the team are involved in team activity. The team will utilise all resources in the team environment to get the best result. The team will be communicating in a mature manner creating win-win situations minimising conflict and the need for external supervision. It is common for teams to go through this cycle many times as external factors and implementation of new systems and staff members can recreate the cycle.

So next time your faced with a conflict in your workplace, family or relationship be aware that you may be experiencing cyclic growth with the possibility that you will flourish.

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