Conflict Management in Teams: For Military and Government
Despite the hierarchical power structures in the military and government, as they reach more senior levels, leaders routinely operate in peer-to-peer teams. These environments require the ability to negotiate complex group dynamics-a skill which often goes undeveloped in typical hierarchies. Groups that succeed over time have three things in common: (1) they meet their performance goals, (2) their members feel satisfied that they are learning/benefiting from being a part of the team, and (3) the process the team uses to collaborate sets it up for future success. Recent research, however, suggests that only about 25% of teams meet these criteria. The rest of the teams typically experience less-than-ideal processes and a decline in performance and/or satisfaction. This technical note explores what goes wrong with teams, the ways in which conflict can both help and hurt a team, and how a team can harness the benefits and limit the liabilities of conflict.