Fear of CONFLICT - The desire to preserve artificial harmony stifles the occurrence of productive, ideological conflict

Trust is a requirement for overcoming the second dysfunction of a team, the fear of conflict.?

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Only team members who trust one another are going to feel comfortable engaging in unfiltered, passionate debate around issues and decisions.? Otherwise, they are likely to hold back their opinions.

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That?s not to say that some teams that lack trust don?t argue.? It?s just that their arguments are often destructive.? Team members aren?t usually listening to each other?s ideas and then reconsidering their point of view; they?re figuring out how to manipulate the conversation to get what they want.? Or, they don?t even argue with their colleagues face-to-face; instead, they vent about them in the hallway after a meeting is over.

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When we speak of mastering conflict, we are talking about productive, ideological conflict:? passionate, unfiltered debate around issues of importance to the team.? Even among the best teams, conflict is always at least a little uncomfortable.

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No matter how clear everyone is that a conflict is focused on issues, not personalities, it is inevitable that they will feel under some degree of personal attack.? It?s unrealistic for someone to say, ?I?m sorry, but I don?t agree with your approach to the project,? and not expect the other person to feel some degree of personal rejection.

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But if team members are not making one another uncomfortable at times, if they never push one another outside of their emotional comfort zones during discussions, it is extremely likely that they?re not making the best decisions for the organization.

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