The Role of Conflict In Building Effective Teams

Great teams are not meant to be a conflict free zone. Jim Woods

Great teams are not meant to be a conflict free zone. Jim Woods

Managing multiple teams from various locations can be complicated. Many teams in this age of speed work successfully virtually.

Face to face or virtually still requires high levels of trust, a safe place to present ideas, and respect.

How to build a successful team needs a free flow of ideas. Take advantage of conflict within your teams. Conflict is good.  There aren't any teams exempt from occasional misunderstandings. Each member of a team will have a different temperament. All will have their biases.

While disagreement among employees can get out of a hand in any organization, the manager or leader ought to face it as an avoidance of a serious malady; Group-think. Do not complicate the situation by usurping responsibilities from team members. If needed, gently steer the team so they pay attention to all sides carefully.

Their diversity will help them find strategies ultimately favorable to all sides. The team is comprised of quiet, intense, resolute, and alphas. At the conclusion team members will realize during feedback sessions that they created ideas resultant of their conflict that would have never materialized otherwise. More viewpoints mean more possibilities. This is critical to the team building process.


The team is a great starting point for building leaders. Consensus does not mean the ideas are correct. Majority may rule, but majority isn’t always correct.

Related: Bad Traits of Weak Leaders and Impotent Managers

Make hiring a team effort. If you want to hire a new person, discuss this with your team. Let your team members talk with candidate because they will work together and it's important this person fit into the team. Explain to team members what a good “fit” mean. I can’t stress enough how critical diversity of thought, education, lifestyle, failures, success, etc. are to optimal results. Being in a team can stretch them in ways they had not imagined. Of course, experience and suitable qualifications are important -- but the most important qualities to hire for are always personality and social skills that are compatible with your team. With regards to trust and respect described above, personality and social skills are like glue. They help people communicate. They can glue different people together, whereas qualifications just ensure tasks are completed properly.

About Jim Woods

Jim Woods is president and senior consultant of Woods Kovalova Group. He is a former U.S. Navy Seabee and has been a board member to numerous organizations. For more than 25 years, he has been a coach, consultant, facilitator, and trainer to leaders and individuals who desire to transform their lives and business. Jim is happily married and grandfather to five. He has designed and taught classes on leadership mastery, cultivating presence, embodied leadership and building confidence. Jim’s corporate clients include Whirlpool, U.S. Army, and Berkshire Hathaway. Jim has also taught fifth grade math and science and been a university professor. He holds a master’s degree in organizational development and human resources.