Team Poison Test: Unhealthy Conflict

Conflict is inevitable and will provide multiple opportunities to test whether a team operates in healthy or poisonous conflict. All three poisons can be present at the same time. The following are some symptoms of each of the previously identified conflict poisons:

1) The Avoider: Teammates that avoid tough talks and refuse to acknowledge the existence of conflict will begin to stand out. Everything will “be awesome” like the Lego Movie but suddenly, when enough is enough, there will be an emotional outburst that will seem out of character. Dissenting opinions that go unexpressed are ever increasing burdens to carry.
2) The Dominant Aggressor: If discussions are dominated by a single voice or opinion there is a dominant aggressor on the team. This is not always the leader of the team but someone who has learned to take advantage of those that are not comfortable with open conflict. You know this is present when the rest of the teammates begin to work around the dominant personality.
3) Passive Aggressive: A passive aggressive teammate will say one thing and do another. They will be agreeable in person but their actions and attitudes will eventually express their dissenting opinion. Passive aggressors exist when actions don’t match words over time.

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