by Global Knowledge Network, Inc.
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Published on: May 2004
Type of content: WHITE PAPER
Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Length: 7 pages
In this paper, we will see that conflict within teams takes many forms and is not necessarily bad. We will see the definition of a team and that there are advantages and disadvantages of working in teams. Finally, we will see a checklist of six things that healthy teams do well and dysfunctional teams do poorly. Included is a quiz to score your team's health in regard to teamwork, communication, and team process.
One of the biggest complaints heard in the classroom from Team Leaders and Project Managers is that conflict among team members is a significant source of stress. If taken to an extreme, some teams may never get past conflict and may break apart.
What does it mean if there is no conflict within the team, other than less stress for the Team Leader? No conflict within a team generally means one of two things: 1) the team members don't care anymore and will just go along with whatever is put forward, or 2) all team members think exactly the same. On the surface, having a team that thinks exactly the same sounds nice, with no conflict and everyone happy. In fact, with no conflict, you may find that no one challenges old ways, no one thinks creatively, no one improves processes, or no one introduces new thinking. The kiss of death in most IT organizations is to stay the same for too long.
Both positive conflict and negative conflict exist. Positive conflict is good and healthy; negative conflict is bad.
This paper outlines what positive and negative conflict can lead to, plus things that may contribute to conflict. The bottom line is that some degree of conflict is absolutely essential for healthy teams and is unavoidable. As a manager, you must determine how to deal with inevitable conflict.
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