Research into team success makes it clear that successful teams need to exhibit five key behaviors.
- Trust in each other.
- Engage in conflict.
- Commit to decisions.
- Hold one another accountable.
- Focus on achieving collective results.
QwikCoach certainly agrees with these findings and recommends a quick assessment of your own team’s strengths and weaknesses and some sustained effort to improve team dynamics. QwikCoach agrees that this “check up” — using the five key behaviors — is useful and effective.
What else is needed for team success?
We often think about the “weak links” in today’s team-centered workplace, and here’s what we find. While it seems just about everyone is angry about something, constructive discussions to resolve disagreement and produce better outcomes are not nearly as prevalent as they could or should be.
Constructive team-dialogue is vital.
While earlier workplaces were filled with people who struggled not to say anything at all controversial or that might “rock the boat,” today’s workers are more comfortable with disagreement, are sometimes “direct” — bordering on inappropriate — or so buried in their technology that getting them to engage in any honest exchange around an area of conflict is often elusive. What ever happened to “rational discourse” and how can people work on strengthening their ability to recognize opportunities for constructive conflict and contribute to the conversation to resolve it productively? Here’s our take:
First, realize that in business, as in life, conflict is a given.
The successful personal or professional life is always based on strong values and eternal truths, but also on a strong propensity to compromise around the vast majority of situations where there is no one best answer, approach, or direction. People incapable of compromise — or have what we call “the disease of certainty” — will fail and are alone with their feeling of superiority or “rightness.”
Think about this . . .
Would you rather be successful, happy, productive, useful, constructive, helpful, or RIGHT? If you are not a paid political “expert” let us suggest you skip being RIGHT! Business is not a place for constant certainty. Innovation and taking a chance, as previously discussed in many newsletters and tips, however, is an absolute must. Flexing one’s compromise muscles, thinking outside the lines, and having an attitude of inquiry and openness promotes better conflict resolution and allows for innovation.
Second, be alert for areas of disagreement whenever you’re working with others to achieve a common goal.
Disagreement often signals that a goal can likely be achieved in more than one way. When disagreement occurs, engage in rational discourse, be open to the ideas of others, and listen actively before you dismiss quickly. Many workplaces have cultures that value strength at the expense of thought. In such environments, quick decisions, forceful comments, and unrealistic demands are often used to replace careful consideration. While slowing down just to slow down is not necessarily the answer, a bit more caution could benefit more workplaces than fast responses.
Third, be the leader who makes a call and commits to achieving it — with the team “on-board” (of course!).
When you do, make sure that before the team “leaves the station” that you have raised areas of disagreement and looked for ways for everyone to feel they have been part of the process. An inclusive, trust-based, and collaborative approach means that discussion, negotiation, and conflict have been handled properly — that in the end — the team wins!
Want to learn more? Here are two books we think you’ll find helpful:
- Ours is a society that loves winning and admires winners! This update on the classic Getting to Yes is a must read to help gain the skills to handle conflict in a fresh way.
Good for You — Great for Me
Finding the Trading Zone and Winning at Win-Win Negotiation
- Never read the ORIGINAL Getting to Yes? Here’s the the original. It’s still a classic!
Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
More for QwikCoach Users
- Much keeps appearing about workplace conflict. Here’s a piece that also connects to others. It is direct and practical.
Personal Courage and Conflict Resolution at Work
- Are you someone who struggles with conflict? This piece might give you a new perspective on why conflict is actually GOOD for you.
Stop Avoiding It — Why Conflict is Good for You
- Sometimes workplace conflicts need a special approach. This might help you in those particular stressful situations.
10 Tips for Tackling the Toughest Workplace Conflicts