5 Reasons You Should Not Avoid Conflict
Are you able to find the win in moments of conflict? In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team we learn conflict is needed for a team to be healthy. As I read this book I wondered how this same principle could be applied in other areas as well.
Where there is no conflict there is dysfunction. This seems counterintuitive, but a closer looks revels something important about disagreements. Conflict requires trust and vulnerability. When relationships don’t trust they don’t feel the security to share their true feelings. Absence of trust is the first dysfunction of a team.
This team building lesson caused me to also think about how grace makes room for healthy conflict in our spiritual lives and family.
Fear of conflict is the second dysfunction of a team. When kids are afraid to bring the truth of what they are dealing with to their parents then they are forced to face these issues on their own. Giving them grace for their mistakes guarantees that you are helping them co-pilot difficult situations. When we don’t have grace for our spouse then issues may fester under the surface because the other person is afraid to bring them up for discussion.
When there is an atmosphere of grace in a ministry then the conflict sin creates can be dealt with instead of hidden. Grace doesn’t mean we cover up sin. It means there is permission to deal with the root instead of just the symptoms. When there is grace people can trust the truth your share. When there is no grace there is no door for people to open up to let truth into their life. I believe this leads to avoidance of accountability which is another one of the dysfunctions of a team.
Conflict on a team is destructive when it is motivated by ego, self-interest, and position grabbing. That is toxic. On the other hand, team members that always say yes and never disagree appear to be in agreement but don’t have buy-in. Unanimous buy-in is more important than universal agreement. As long as someone’s opinion is heard then that person can still give buy-in even if the final decision is different from their own. This avoids a lack of commitment, another dysfunction of a team.
The final dysfunction of a team is an inattention to results. Universal agreement without processing through disagreements can mean that apathetic team members are offering platitudes that will lead to passive aggressive actions later. Allowing conflict on the front end avoids even more messy conflict on the back-end. It also gives your most passionate people an avenue to get involved in the process even if they are wrong.
Permission to disagree and for mistakes requires that we extend grace so people can better receive our truth. Conflict, something we sometimes avoid, can be the most efficient way to create buy-in and solve problems.
What do you think about conflict? How have you seen it work? When does it not work? Have you read The Five Dysfunctions of a Team? Would love to hear your thoughts!
You can get The Five Dysfunctions of a Team be clicking below. It is a short leadership parable that is interesting and insightful. I think you will enjoy it!