Managing conflict at workplace – I

I would like to talk about one of the topics about work relationships that come up very often (and came up again very recently).

Scenario

A is a smart guy, well-established and on track to be promoted to next level. He is admired by others in his group and he is proud of himself.

B is a new hire in the team, equally smart (maybe more), who is trying to establish himself in this team. He has better skills than A in some areas and his hiring manager had mentioned he could be the next lead of this team.

Expected result

A and B work together to improve the performance of the team manifold because now the team has two smart guys to leverage.

Actual

A and B get into conflicts way too often and these conflicts drag down their performance as well as performance of the team. Net result is that team is less productive than when only A was around.

Sounds familiar? This is a very frequent occurrence in growing organizations where smart existing people have to work with smart new people and the result is not always on the expected lines. Continue reading

Series on High-performance and Dysfunctional Teams

I have planned a series of posts on teams. I planned this because of two reasons:

  1. I have left the company I was in for 5 ½ years and where I learned so much about teams, and had opportunity to work in great teams as well as rank bad teams, but all of these providing huge lessons learnt.
  2. I have joined a new company now, in a new country, and in a new role (one reason why I have virtually stopped posting here, till now). This offers me a different perspective to evaluate my lessons with, as well as provides new opportunities to practice them and see them work or fail.

Rather than using good and bad adjectives, which are highly subjective and vague, I will use ‘high-performance’ and ‘dysfunctional’, which are subjective too, but at least there is some sense of meaning to them. I am borrowing these terms from The Wisdom of Teams, the landmark book that gave us the definition of a team, and from The five dysfunctions of a team, a fable about leadership with great insights. Both the books are must-read if you are interested in understanding teams. Continue reading