Conflict issues on a team are inevitable, but choosing to ignore conflict areas leads to the next dysfunction in the Five Dysfunctions of a Team - A Lack of Commitment.
Commitment issues arise when you feel others don’t hear or understand your point of view.
Suppose the majority of the time, you end up cleaning the kitchen in your office. At first, you are willing to be helpful; you load the dishes, take out the trash, and wipe down the counters.
After a while, you notice everyone lets you to do the kitchen. They don’t offer to help or make an effort to share the responsibility. Your internal dialogue about this situation begins to be negative, “Do they think I’m their personal maid?”…“Does anyone around here know how much I do to keep this place clean?”…
Resentment begins to replace the excitement and commitment you once felt for the team, and you start doing only what your job requires of you; not willing to go above or beyond to help out your teammates. You might even rationalize you’re not going to do anything extra, because no one appreciates it anyway. As this energetic shift happens in your mind and body, you lose sight of the organizational and team goals, and the commitment level to the team wanes.
According to Patrick Lencioni, the author of Five Dysfunctions of a Team, two things are necessary for commitment to be achieved and maintained on a team:
Buy In – the achievement of honest emotional support.
Clarity – the removal of assumptions and ambiguity from a situation.
The scenario above is actually based on a real situation I encountered. A team lead was upset that office chores were not being shared amongst the team. She felt she was constantly cleaning up after others in the office. She began to feel resentment towards her teammates and noticed she was not willing to help them when they needed her assistance.
I suggested she share her feelings at the next team meeting (gain buy in), and the team could come up with a chart of assigned cleaning responsibilities for the week (create clarity).
Her response was, “I would never do that! They should see that things need to be cleaned up! I’m not going to assign them duties?!”
In this scenario, the only way the team could have understood how the lead felt was if she had been willing to share her feelings. If that had happened, a conversation about how the team could create clarity around cleaning responsibilities may have been explored.
Had she chosen to do this, team members may have understood her feelings and reasons for bringing up the issue, others may not have, and that is okay. Healthy teams trust they can put feelings and opinions on the table so that conversations can be held that can lead to solutions.
Gaining “buy in” is not about gaining consensus, it is about creating understanding of others perspectives whether or not you agree, and then committing to a decision that everyone on the team will support…like a chore chart.
Imagine the feelings of relief and peace the team lead could have experienced had there been enough trust in herself and the team to host this conversation. She would have felt committed and happier leading her team!
Dedicated to raising your consciousness!