May 25th, 2023
An Inevitable Opportunity
Written by: Shane Oswald, Director of Delivery
When working within a team, inevitably conflict will arise. I’ve written previously about how new agile teams will experience conflict during their storming phase. It’s a natural progression when navigating through team dynamics.
Conflict in its most basic form usually means there is a disagreement of some sort between two parties. If not handled properly, that conflict could escalate to the point where emotions get involved. Conflict isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, we expect a healthy dose of conflict, disagreement, and/or debate while working on any project. Working through that conflict brings thoughtful analysis which usually results in a well-formed solution. When conflict arises, it’s important to remember a few things.
First, it’s important to realize that conflict only arises if people care. We are passionate about solving problems for our clients. Our clients are passionate about solving problems for their customers. That’s a good thing. If people are having disagreements about a certain topic, it’s because they are engaged and invested in the outcome. Passion is not something that can be trained. People either have it or they don’t.
Secondly, the process of working through conflict is an opportunity for growth. There are so many interpersonal skills that are honed by working through conflict. People need to communicate, persevere, strategize, and compromise. Navigating through conflict requires listening, clear communication, and self-reflection to determine what is actually important. It requires empathy to understand the needs or wants of the other party involved. Conflict can be seen as such a negative thing and is often avoided at all costs, but avoiding it eliminates the growth opportunity that comes from working through it.
Lastly, conflict can be the inspiration for improvement. Some of our best practices at Clientek have surfaced from difficult challenges or conflicts that we have faced in the past. When these situations occur, take a step back and try to objectively consider if there is a better way of doing things. Look for that positive outcome.
The initial emotional reaction from a conflict or disagreement is usually not a good feeling, but if the situation is viewed as an opportunity, it can help diffuse some of the emotions and help maintain focus on the potential positive outcome.