When conflict is slowing the team down
One of the most common team types we see is one we call “Fierce but Fragmented.” This is a team made up of passionate people who all care about doing great work but who have a hard time collaborating together. Often, the source of the problem is weak or broken duos—people don’t fully understand or trust one another.
If you find that interpersonal conflict is draining the team and slowing its progress, here’s a question for each person to ask:
Do I really understand what other team members are thinking and feeling — or have I just made assumptions based on my own values?
We assume other people will think and act the way we do. When they don’t, we can attach all sorts of meaning to their behavior that’s not actually true for them. For example, if you’re someone who goes out of your way to avoid conflict, you may feel personally attacked by a team member who likes to aggressively debate ideas. But that person may see the discussion as an intellectual exercise — nothing personal at all. It’s critical to get past your own biases to see the other person’s true intent.
Last week’s question: Gut check your team’s goals