I love rainbows, puppies and butterflies.
I assume everyone is doing well when I walk into a room. I love the idea of my team getting along and enjoying each others company. My life would be animated by Disney. I imagine a wonderful day ending in a coordinated, harmonious celebration of teamwork.
Unfortunately, and so very sadly, this has never happened in my office. It will never happen again. It won’t happen to anyone unless you’re on Glee’s set.
A little bit of conflict can be a great way to build group cohesion.
Yes. Really. I understand what you are thinking. There are many problems that can arise from organizational discord. It includes:
This list is not complete and does not include the negative effects that discord can have on productivity or workplace satisfaction.
These consequences can be avoided if conflict management is done well. Your team might see these benefits if you use tools to quickly mediate.
Are you feeling a little more excited about conflict within your team?
Below I review a series of studies that demonstrate how turmoil can be used to your advantage with tactful management. Even if they are not your direct reports, project management requires that you learn these processes.
Conflict at work is inevitable.
Are you able to say that your relationship has ever been conflict-free? Even if you have never fought, it is likely that you have had disagreements at one time or another. Careertipster says conflict is a natural process of communication that facilitates the sharing and understanding of divergent views. If there is no conflict in your workplace, it’s likely that you have conditioned your team to avoid multiple points of view.
Fear of Conflict is going to hamstring your team
Ryan Yeoman from Capterra’s small business blog explains how avoiding conflict will only reduce team productivity.
Fear is a refusal to engage in productive, unfiltered discussion that ultimately leads to discomfort and stress. Productive conflict is like a hard workout for the team. It builds strength and resilience and leads to success.
To make conflict productive and to avoid distress, there are a few things you need to know.
Your team is most likely to be afraid of conflict if they are afraid of you. They aren’t able to trust each other to be respectful and productive. Careertipster says, “Without conflict you have groupthink, discourage innovation, and discourage learning. None of these are ideal for a productive workplace environment.”
Research shows that even if your team doesn’t like it, conflict can increase productivity.
During my research for this article, I discovered a lot of “research” that was largely unreviewed or anecdotal. I decided to do a deep dive into the research at two of America’s top universities, Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Sara Fisher Ellison (MIT) and Wallace P. Mullin (George Washington) looked at the impact of diversity on teams in a 2014 issue of Journal of Economics and Management Strategy. They began with gender.
It turns out that women prefer working with women and men prefer to work alongside them. Both genders believe they are better performers in homogenous groups. The research proves the contrary. According to the study, employees are more cooperative in homogeneous environments. However, these more homogenous units seem to be less productive overall,” the authors discuss their findings in the following:
[Our research] suggests that switching from an office that is all male or all woman to one that is equally split between the sexes would be associated with w