I have written previously about trust, which is the foundation for an effective team and how real teamwork is impossible without this. But the challenge of building trust is that team members need to be prepared to make themselves vulnerable with one another.
However, once a team has started to build vulnerability-based trust, it can use this to overcome the fear of conflict. It may sound surprising, but in reality most teams have difficulty with conflict; there’s often not enough of it. Really. But unless trust has been built within the team it is not possible to have productive, unfiltered and even passionate debate around the subjects which really matter to the organisation.
Teams lacking trust may still argue but the process tends to be based around power, competition and ego. Essentially, it’s about winning arguments rather than finding the best solution for the team.
The challenge with conflict is to find the sweet spot on the continuum which has artificial harmony at one end and mean-spirited personal attacks at the other. This is the territory in which effective constructive debate is possible. But at the risk of being repetitive, without vulnerability-based trust it is not possible as it tends to get personal.
So, having built trust and overcome the fear of conflict, teams then need to go on to:
- Build commitment
- Become more accountable
- Focus on results
I shall be writing more on these topics soon.