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Weathering Storms: When Conflict Engulfs the
I'd like to talk about how coaches should respond to storms and squalls – those inevitable conflicts and struggles for power that emerge when human beings attempt to accomplish goals together.
Conflict often arises from differences in values, beliefs, personality, opinions and work and communication style. That is why high impact teams should include a method for ironing out conflict in their working agreements. When a team knows it has a structure and an agreement to address members' differences, it is more likely to meet the conflict head on and defuse it with dispatch.
Bringing Team Members Into Alignment
Here is an exercise for aligning team members who have descended into conflict:
Now ask each participant to drill down a little further regarding his or her solution:
Remember: conflict is a natural part of teamwork. It is not a sign that your team lacks chemistry or "the right stuff" to get the job done. As long as conflict is mediated early and de-fused, it can actually add to the synergy of the high impact team.
That's one of the things that separate them from ordinary teams. invariably involved shared leadership. The term "shared leadership" contrasts with the "command and control" style of leadership, in which control and authority rest exclusively with those at the top of the organizational ladder. In high impact teams, all team members assume decision-making authority and responsibility for the team's results.
Look at your team. Do all team members feel empowered to make decisions about their own work? Are team members creative problem-solvers? Do team members take initiative? Is the team leader free to coordinate the team's activities without constantly being called in to troubleshoot problems for team members?
The idea of shared leadership is based on mutual respect and caring for all team members. Far from diminishing the leader's influence on the team, distributing responsibility highlights the leader's significance, while bringing out the best in others.
Command and Control
In the traditional command and control model, the leader's trust of the abilities of others is low. Hence leaders command employees in what to do and then control how they do it. The natural intelligence of team members is never given a chance to grow. Creativity, willingness to take initiative, and active ownership for results by team members is suppressed. Such teams remain low-impact teams, no matter how hard everyone works. The leader will have a hard time holding on to a vision for the team when she is constantly ensnared in micro-managing the team's work. The team members feel stunted, their energies trapped. In this atmosphere, it is impossible to develop the kind of synergy that characterizes high impact teams.
Let Their Talent Shine Through
Leading a high impact team, on the other hand, requires the leader to be much more competent at listening, and at constellating a wide variety of tasks and individual needs. It is far more difficult to motivate a talented group of people to complete a coordinated cluster of tasks well than it does to order someone to comply.
Generations X and Y, for example, will not tolerate command and control leadership. They commit their time and expertise when there is a personal connection, and not merely because someone commands it. One of the benefits of practicing shared leadership is that you will attract the best talent to your team.