Toastmaster Magazine, the print and online publication of Toastmasters International, interviewed me about conflict and high-performing teams for their March 2011 issue.
The article, What Makes an Exceptional Team? Great Groups Embrace Differences by Dave Zielinski, is now publicly available online and here’s an excerpt:
Tammy Lenski, an organizational-conflict management expert and mediator, says problems that commonly emerge on teams over issues, such as managing big workloads or ambiguous expectations, don’t evaporate because the teams choose to ignore them. “They usually reappear later, often at inopportune times,” she says.
Lenski stresses that how the conflict is addressed is often more important than what the conflict is about. The healthiest teams she knows don’t assume conflict is a sign of something being fundamentally wrong, but rather see it as a natural part of working with teammates who have diverse personalities, backgrounds or belief systems. “Teams that can robustly debate, but do so in a way that doesn’t damage relationships, usually make better decisions, are more creative and lose less time to unhealthy conflict,” she notes.
…Lenski says poor conflict resolution has several causes. Here are three of the main culprits:
It makes me pretty happy to be quoted alongside high-performing team luminaries like Jim Collins, Kathleen Ryan and Geoffrey Bellman!