The Sign of a Great Team…

… is not the absence of conflict. The sign of a great team is the ability to resolve conflict, in a respectful and productive way. Of all the truisms I hold dear, this one has proven to be more true, more consistently, than any other.

I first learned this truism when I was competing for the US Olympic Sailing Team many years ago. But at every subsequent stage of my life, it has never failed to be true. In fact, I will take it even one step further… the absence of conflict not only is not the sign of a great team. The absence of conflict can often mean the exact opposite… that there are issues simmering below the surface that are being ignored. And ignored problems rarely become solved problems. They almost always come back to haunt the team, usually more significantly and more profoundly.

This idea has been in my head a lot over the last year because, while teams have always had to deal with conflict, resolution is harder when you never see each other in person, and are not able to share space in ways that allow you to feel each other’s presence, read each other’s body language, and “breathe the same air” (admittedly, an unfortunate way to make my point during an airborne pandemic.)

Of all the collective skills that a team will need to succeed, conflict resolution sits near the top of the list. Because conflict is inevitable, especially with ambitious, goal-oriented groups of people.

The point here today is a simple one… if you have not already done so, spend some time and energy exploring whether your team has the ability, the willingness and the process to discuss and resolve conflict.

It will be time well spent. It won’t always be easy… in fact, it will hardly ever be easy. But it will always be a good investment in your team. Guaranteed.

Have a great, safe and healthy day.

Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?

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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.