Conflict is a natural part of life, and it’s no different in the workplace. However, not all conflict is created equal. When handled poorly, conflict can lead to decreased productivity, damaged relationships, and even turnover. But when handled well, conflict can actually be a positive force for change and growth.
Proactive Team Health
The best way to ensure productive conflict is to create a team culture that is conducive to it. This means establishing trust, open communication, and a willingness to disagree respectfully. Here are some tips for building a proactive team health:
- Create a culture of trust. Trust is essential for productive conflict. When team members trust each other, they feel safe to share their ideas and opinions, even if they’re different from the majority.
- Encourage open communication. Open communication is another key ingredient for productive conflict. Team members need to feel comfortable speaking up, even if they disagree with the majority.
- Model respectful disagreement. Leaders should model respectful disagreement for their team. This means listening to others’ ideas without judgment, even if you disagree with them.
Even the best-intentioned teams will eventually experience conflict. When this happens, it’s important to handle it in a way that minimizes damage and maximizes the opportunity for growth. Here are some tips for handling crisis:
- Stay calm. It’s easy to get emotional when conflict arises, but it’s important to stay calm and focused. This will help you to think clearly and make good decisions.
- Focus on the issue, not the person. It’s important to remember that conflict is about the issue, not the person. Avoid personal attacks and focus on the specific problem at hand.
- Seek common ground. Even if you disagree with someone, there’s usually some common ground that you can find. Look for areas where you can agree and build on that foundation.
Driving to Recovery
Once conflict has been resolved, it’s important to take steps to drive to recovery. This means repairing any damage that was done and restoring trust and harmony within the team. Here are some tips for driving to recovery:
- Apologize for your part in the conflict. If you played a role in the conflict, it’s important to apologize for your part. This will help to repair the damage and show that you’re committed to resolving the conflict.
- Forgive the other person. Even if the other person was wrong, it’s important to forgive them. This will help you to move on and restore trust within the team.
- Learn from the experience. Every conflict is an opportunity to learn and grow. Take some time to reflect on what happened and what you could have done differently.
Productive conflict is a valuable tool for teams that are willing to embrace it. By following the tips in this article, you can create a team culture that is conducive to productive conflict and reap the benefits of this powerful force for change and growth.
Activities and Breakout Sessions
In addition to the tips in this article, there are a number of activities and breakout sessions that can help teams learn how to influence productive conflict. These activities can help teams to identify how to create a culture based in trust that thrives on open and candid communication, empathy and perspective-taking, and appropriate expectations and feedback.
Here are a few examples of activities and breakout sessions that can help teams learn how to influence productive conflict:
- Trust Walk: This activity helps teams to build trust by having them rely on each other to complete a task.
- Conflict Resolution Simulation: This simulation allows teams to experience different types of conflict and learn how to resolve them in a productive way.
- Empathy Circle: This activity helps teams to develop empathy by having them share personal stories and listen to each other with compassion.
- Feedback Sandwich: This activity helps teams to give and receive feedback in a constructive way.
These are just a few examples of the many activities and breakout sessions that can help teams learn how to influence productive conflict. By participating in these activities, teams can develop the skills and knowledge they need to create a culture of productive conflict.
In the Dame Leadership Academy, we explore Influencing Productive Conflict, including defining key terms in conflict and outlining human behavior realities in high-stress situations. Activities and breakout sessions focus on identifying how to create a culture based in trust that thrives on open and candid communication, empathy and perspective-taking, and appropriate expectations and feedback.
For more about Dame Leadership, visit https://www.dameleadership.com/solutions/dame-leadership-academy or give us a call at 717-524-4265.