Difference and challenge in teams
Difference and challenge in teams

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Difference and challenge in teams

2 ‘Meetings often descend into all-out war!’

Mandeep is a manager interested in developing a better team, as you will hear from the audio below (a transcript is also provided).

Download this audio clip.Audio player: bg012_2016b_aug011.mp3
Skip transcript

Transcript

Meetings often descend into all-out war! We never seem to get anywhere with everyone at each other’s throats. I can hold my own in that kind of contest; I sometimes come out on top – winning the argument – but it doesn’t calm things; I leave the room with battle scars; feeling bruised. Why can’t we just see who has the best idea, come to an agreement and work with that? There are too many big egos; too many people with points to prove and score off each other.

End transcript
 
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Activity 2

Timing: (30 minutes)

Think back to a time of outright, heated, conflict at work – one you experienced directly or indirectly. Choose one of the people involved in the conflict (you, the person you were in conflict with, or another colleague).

  • List five behaviours that person displayed (obvious behaviours of conflict might be shouting, banging the table etc., but try to think more widely, about body language, expression).
  • List five words or phrases you recall might have been said as part of that heated conflict.

Five behaviours

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Five words or phrases

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Answer

Commentary: How easy was it to recall and reflect on this conflict? We imagine it made a strong emotional impression. Sometimes the memory of the emotion and stress caused lingers well beyond the memory of what the conflict was about. Energies are taken up coping with the stress of conflict. Within the behaviours and words you’ve listed, you might be able to differentiate between those that are acceptable in the workplace and those that are not.

Finally, did anything good come out of the conflict situation? How might that same good – or something even better – have been achieved with less stress and emotional upset? Looking back, what advice would you give to yourself/your colleagues on handling the situation?

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Surely there must be some value in adversarial debate and the clash of ideas?

From where we are writing, in the UK, much of the political system seems grounded in conflict. Opposing parties ‘attack’ each other’s positions, a shadow cabinet tracks the every move of government – keeping it in check and arguing vehemently for issues to be seen from an alternative perspective. In such systems, two (or more) teams are involved in the opposition – though we often hear that the same sort of conflict arises within the teams themselves. Political parties try to maintain a public image of complete harmony – yet if they are to lead and innovate, there has to be an opportunity to dissent from the current party line, and there has to be a way members can challenge themselves to dream up better, more relevant policies.

BG012_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371