We’ve all been there: the meeting where everyone sits quietly, not wishing or not willing to contribute – or worse, passively agreeing when you know it’s not how they really feel. This is artificial harmony, and it doesn’t get the work done.
We’ve also all been in the opposite meeting: the meeting that goes off the rails, with emotions and conflict drive the discussion, where nothing gets accomplished because dominant personalities are too invested in their opinions to find a solution.
Today, I’m talking about how to manage conflict within a team – and especially these days, in the midst of the Stay-At-Home orders across the United States – how to manage conflict in virtual teams.
There are many reasons a meeting can go off the rails. Lateness, distractions, #Zoombomb moments, having too many or too few people involved, you name it. And one of the biggest reasons is conflict. As a leader, it’s your job to learn how to build trust at work and how to improve communication within a team so that you can avoid the passive conflict, the aggressive conflict, and bring out the healthy conflict in your team: the place where everyone feels empowered to share their opinions and come to a solution.
In this video, I’m going to give you three questions to ask when your meeting has gone off the rails to bring your team back to that focused, healthy conflict so you can get the real work done!
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Video Transcript:- Hey they friend, it’s Stefanie Krievins, founder of the Pro Troublemaker Nation, where I share tips and encouragement so you can fix your hot messes. And today, I wanna talk about the hot mess that is many of our team meetings. How do you manage conflict in a team meeting when things have gone off the rails? First, let’s dig into the three types of conflict that might exist within your existing meetings right now. Virtually, or otherwise. So the first one is artificial harmony, and this is from my friend Patrick Lencioni, he’s the expert on the conflict in teams. But the first version of conflict he shares with us is artificial harmony. That’s the lack of conflict. There’s not enough tension, there’s not enough debate. No one’s getting emotionally invested in the decision being made at this meeting. The opposite end of the extreme is aggressive conflict, right? Like, fuming and being mad, and people slamming their hands on the table. Not sustainable in terms of motivating people to make decisions. Here’s the kind of conflict that you need in every single team meeting. It’s a healthy conflict, where there is debate about the idea, but people aren’t attacked. Where people think critically and proactively, and with focus on what problem actually needs to be solved in that meeting. So your job my friend, as a leader, regardless of your title, is to create healthy conflict in every meeting that you attend. So when it goes off the rails, and there’s not enough of the right kind of conversation happening, or people are talking over each other and being disrespectful, and attacking each other personally, here’s your job, I want you to ask three questions. The first one is, what are we here to decide today? Just insert that into the conversation. Make yourself be heard. But the first question is what do we need to accomplish, what do we need to decide during this meeting? Let’s make that happen. And in order to do that, the second question I want you to pose to the group is, let’s go around the room and everyone answer the question, where do you stand on this topic? What do you believe is the best way forward based on the conversation we’ve had today? And then the third question that you need to ask the whole group and have them answer, again, because you’re a leader regardless of your title, the third question is how do we move forward from here? Friends the third question is how do we move forward? Focus on proactivity, getting people to make a decision, resolve the issue, and actually move forward. That’s your job my friends, to manage conflict in a team. Ask these three critical questions to bring the conversation back to healthy debate, so that the real issues are discussed, not just the superficial stuff, and not just the stuff that people get super emotionally charged about, to discuss the real issue at hand so that you can bring change to your organization. All right my friends, love to hear from you in the comments, wherever you’re watching this. How have these three questions impacted a meeting that you’ve been in recently? What have you done as a leader to demand, debate healthy conflict in a team meeting, so that you can manage that conflict with your team? And then it’s time to get off the internet and be a Pro Troublemaker who knows how to get the real shit done, and I’ll see you soon.
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