One of the biggest challenges teams face is building trust and managing conflict. While you want differing opinions, it’s important that conflict stay focused on content and not become personal. How do you encourage healthy debate? Here are five team attitudes and perspectives that can help you build trust and keep conflict productive in your work group.
- Team members must develop a learning attitude. Everything that happens in the team is “grist for the mill.” There are no failures–only learning opportunities.
- The team must build a trust-based environment. Trust is built by sharing information, ideas, and skills. Building trust requires that team members cooperate rather than compete, judge, or blame. Trust is also built when team members follow through on their commitments. It is critical that team members communicate openly and honestly and demonstrate respect for others.
- The team must value differences. Team members should encourage and honor differences. Different viewpoints are the heart of creativity.
- People must view the team as a whole. By seeing the team as a living system rather than a collection of individuals, team members begin to think in terms of “we” rather than “you” and “me.”
- Team members must become participant observers. To work well in a team environment, members should develop the skill of participating and, at the same time, observing. This practice, akin to being in a movie at the same time you are watching the movie, can give team members valuable perspective.
How’s your team doing in these areas? Knowing the characteristics and needs of a high performing work group is critical. It gives people a target to shoot for as they progress from a collection of individuals to a smoothly functioning, high performing team.