Conflict Ostriches

Conflict can be difficult to manage on a team if everyone doesn’t participate in a healthy way. Unhealthy conflict can poison a team over time because it dissolves trust and robs each individual of the freedom to focus on the team goals. Precious mental bandwidth is spent on wondering about the motivations and thoughts of others.

Unhealthy conflict happens because conflict itself can be so aversive for some people that they will do everything they can to avoid it. They do things that are a lot like an ostrich in a cartoon that sticks its head in the ground to avoid what is in plain sight. The result is just as absurd and awkward for everyone else involved. The scariest part of this poison is that it can slowly become a part of the team culture to work around unhealthy unresolved conflict and that leaves the team burdened beyond what is necessary for team success.

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