I was going to write up a whole post on teams and using conflict to become more productive, but then I realized that I had already written it back in November.
I suppose it’s fair to say that I’ve learned a bit more about the whole process this week. In analyzing my current situation, I am part of a team that has never left the Forming phase.
In the Forming stage:
…team members are positive and polite. Behavior is driven by a desire to be accepted by the others, which avoids controversy or conflict. Serious issues and feelings are avoided, and people focus on more routine work (team organization, who does what, when to meet). Team members are also gathering information and impressions about each other, about the scope of the task and how to approach it. This is a comfortable stage to be in, but by avoiding conflict not much actually gets done. Roles at this stage are usually unclear except for the role of the team leader. As such, team members tend to behave quite independently. They may be motivated but are usually relatively uninformed of the issues and objectives and tend to focus on themselves rather than the team’s goals.
I think that there have been some efforts to leave the “honeymoon” phase and enter the Storming stage, but the leadership has not embraced conflict and therefore there is no way to formally prepare ourselves for Norming or Performing. Conflicting ideas are ignored, rejected, or shut down in meetings-outside-of-meetings. There is a lot of passive-aggressive behavior. Work products remain individualized, as does any accountability.