Calling Out Conflict Avoidance in Teams
Great teams keep short accounts and normalize feedback, which allow them to make small degrees of change along the way. These behaviors allow great teams to create feedback loops, innovate and test new solutions quickly.
The problem? Most teams aren’t great teams. Most teams don’t have the courage to be that honest with one another. Most teams would rather talk about one another than talk to one another. They avoid conflict, and in so doing, they quietly kill their team.
I don’t blame them; it’s easier to avoid conflict than it is to run toward it. It’s easier to tell people what they want to hear than tell them what they need to hear. It’s easier to tell people a shade of or portion of the truth instead of the full truth. It’s not always easy to speak the truth…even if it’s true. When avoidance runs rampant on a team you’ll typically find symptoms of defensiveness, combativeness, excuses and fear.
Jesus modeled a different, more courageous brand of leadership without taking a harsh or rude approach.
- In Matthew chapter 5 Jesus encourages us that even if we are at the altar offering a sacrifice and remember that there is something between us and someone else, we are to leave what we’re doing and go make that right.
- In Matthew 18 Jesus teaches us that if there is an issue between us and another person we are to go directly to that person to resolve it first.
- Jesus doesn’t avoid speaking the truth to the woman at the well in John chapter 4 who had a string of broken marriages, and He doesn’t avoid it with the woman caught in the act of adultery in John chapter 8.
Yes, timing matters and your approach matters. You may not do it well at first, but don’t let that stop you from flexing a new muscle and building a new discipline. Don’t sit back and do nothing. Don’t let avoidance kill your team.