Conflict In Teams May Be A Good Thing!

One source of unhappiness at work is conflict within teams.

We simply cannot understand why the other person has to behave the way he does, in team situations.

“He comes late.” “He is unprepared for meetings.” “She calls too many meetings.” “She disagrees with everything I say in meetings.” and so on.

Here is an alternate view of the situation: People come with different inherent traits. These play out in variety of behaviours. When we fail to understand why the person behaves that way, we feel unhappy.

Dr Meredith Belbin has created a model for various team roles. Here is a short description:

Action Oriented Roles

Shaper: Dynamic, extroverted people who challenge the team to improve.

May be seen as argumentative.

Implementer: They get things done. Convert ideas into practical plans and into actions.

May be seen as inflexible and resistant to change.

Completer-Finisher: Pay great attention to details. Dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Perfectionists.

Prone to anxiety, refusal to delegate.

People Oriented Roles

Co-ordinator: Interested in building consensus within teams. Excellent listeners. Want to guide the group towards common objectives.

May tend to be manipulative.

Team Worker: Supportive, do what is needed for the team rather than what interests them. Flexible, diplomatic.

May be indecisive, maintain unclear positions during decision making.

Resource Investigator: Well networked outside the team. They can sell the team’s ideas to others and get necessary resources.

May lose enthusiasm quickly, over optimistic.

Thought Oriented Roles

Plant: Creative innovators. Introverted, like to work alone rather than in a team.

Cannot take criticism, may be poor communicators.

Monitor Evaluator: Can analyse ideas. Carefully weigh pros and cons before coming to a decision.

May be perceived as detached, unemotional.

Specialist: Pride themselves in their deep knowledge, skills, abilities. They constantly keep learning in their field of expertise.

Pre-occupation with technicalities, unable to see the big picture.

We can easily see that each of us tend to play a few roles more than others. We are also likely to show some of the weaknesses described.

We could learn to appreciate the other members style, role and contribution.

We could also learn to tolerate their weaknesses. We can stop assigning them labels such as “unprofessional” or “enemy” and do ourselves a ton of good.

Indeed, a diversity in traits is necessary for the success your projects!  Developing a tolerance for this diversity will not just make you successful but happier too.


One response to this post.

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