Opinions

■ Needs and expectations

■ Facts and perceptions

■ Levels, departments, and organizations

■ Interests, personalities, and egos

■ Competencies, knowledge, and skills

■ Targets, missions, goals, and objectives

Conflict can be controlled. Cooperate rather than compete. Orient toward the issue; not the person. Negotiate win/win solutions. Take an organization-wide perspective. Recognize conflict as natural. Observe empathy with other's views. Limit perceived status differences.

Conflict can be positive. Conflict leads to the pursuit of win/win solutions. It allows the team members to observe other team members' point of view. Conflict displays the team working through open communication. It forces the team to take an organization-wide view. By focusing on mission, any conflict takes personalities out of issue. Conflict invites trust and involvement, while viewing the entire issue. It provides the opportunity to examine different sides of an issue. All this leads to effective consensus decision making which establishes and maintains teamwork.

Agreement can be negative. This is commonly called groupthink. Groupthink is the tendency of the group to agree that may have an adverse effect on the effectiveness of the team to achieve the mission. Groupthink comes from many sources. Sometimes, groupthink results from the good intention of maintaining the cohesiveness of the team. In other cases, groupthink stems from fear. The team members may be afraid of losing their job, losing face, offending the leader, management, or other team members. Regardless of the source, groupthink must be identified and controlled. The following are some specific actions to overcome groupthink:

■ Appoint a devil's advocate.

■ Get open discussion on all issues.

■ Recognize impact of status differences.

■ Examine all agreements without resistance.

■ Evaluate all views/sides of the issue.

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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