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The Leadership Quest Blog


Conflict Can Be Good

October 23, 2018
Conflict can be good_Article

I get asked a lot of questions about teamwork. Do I do teambuilding and that kind of thing? Today I want to talk about Patrick Lencioni’s excellent work on “The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team.”

Patrick describes the behaviors that it takes for an intact team. This wouldn’t be a team that’s spread all over the country that never meets. This is an intact team. They could be diverse geographically, but I think the critical thing here is their intact.

Patrick describes five behaviors.

The first one is Trust. Great teams have vulnerability-based trust with one another. They trust each other implicitly in everything that they do in the workplace.

Because they have vulnerability-based trust, they are willing to Engage in Unfiltered Conflict. I’m talking about the kind of conflict that gets to the heart of the matter. Nobody leaves a meeting without their opinion being said or heard. It’s because they completely trust one another and are willing to say whatever is on their mind and so there is conflict. That doesn’t mean that it is destructive conflict, it’s far from it, but is unfiltered conflict.

When teams have vulnerability-based trust with one another, and when they engage in unfiltered conflict, they make Strong Commitments to One Another. Nobody leaves a meeting saying, “You know, I’m just going to sit on the sidelines and watch that fail.” Everybody has talked through the issues. Everybody’s opinions have been heard. There may have been really robust conversation – conflict – but because of all of that, the team members make firm commitments to one another.

When there is vulnerability-based trust, we engage in unfiltered conflict; we make strong commitments to one another, the team will hold each other accountable. Accountability is number four. There is less top-down accountability, so for you leaders of the whole team, you’re going to love that. There’s peer-to-peer accountability that is born in this process. Because they make strong commitments to one another, they’ll hold each other accountable.

Lastly, when you have vulnerability-based trust, you engage in unfiltered conflict, you make strong commitments, you hold each other accountable, you will get Great Team Results. You will get the results you set out to get. You’ll get world-class results. Nobody will be saying, “Hey, that’s all about me.” It will be all about the team.

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