The key to an effective group decision is constructive differences of opinion – differences that challenge the views of others with respect and productivity, according to Francesca Gino, a professor at Harvard Business School. “We often finish negotiations too quickly and leave value on the table because we fear that we don`t agree with others,” she says. On the other hand, if we not only agree with others, but are also encouraged to do so, we open the door to different perspectives and encourage a stricter decision-making or negotiation process. In the 1970s, psychologist Irving Janis used the term “group thinking” to describe the general tendency of group members to hold their real views for fear of being excluded or upsetting others. Groupthink can cause negotiating teams and other groups to ignore critical information from their decision-making process and ignore impending crises. Janis blamed group thinking for President John F. Kennedy`s cloaked invasion of the Bay of Pigs and the 1986 Challenger disaster. But conflict is not necessarily a bad thing. Healthy and constructive conflicts are part of highly functional teams.
Conflicts are due to differences between men; the same differences that often make different teams more effective than those made up of people with similar experience. When people with different perspectives, experiences, skills and opinions are invested in a project or challenge, the collective effort can go far beyond what any group of similar people could accomplish. Team members should be open to these differences and not let them find themselves in large-scale clashes. Last week, we talked about how teams need to conduct conflicts and constructive debates in order to be truly successful. The “constructive” piece is the key. There is no doubt that there are types of conflicts that affect a team`s performance. So how can the process of participation in conflict and debate be properly managed in order to increase performance, not reduce it? Once the team is ready to resolve the conflict, the next step is to understand the situation and the point of view of each team member. Take the time to ensure that each person`s position is heard and understood. Remember that strong emotions are at work here, so you have to go through the emotion and reveal the true nature of the conflict.
To create a level playing field, communicate your goals to your office in any way, which is most effective. For some companies, it may be an electronic memo. Or maybe you`ll have to explain to all the department heads who would inform their team. Even a meeting of all the teams can bring the best results to make sure that everyone hears what you say. However, take the time to express why you value freedom of expression in your organization so much. Point out to your staff how much you appreciate their feedback and that to build a better team, you expect more input, even if there is disagreement. By setting the tone, you are showing your employees that this is a serious matter that must be taken to heart. Tagged: Conflict management, workplace conflicts, Constructive criticism Conflict can indeed be an asset for team negotiation and decision-making, but only if managed constructively.