GDD730 – Module 2: Week 3: Storming

Storming:

This week in the course we are entering the storming phase and will be investigating
“the theory, techniques and tools that can be used to harness the power of
conflict and overcome the dysfunctions of teams”. The course content and
studies are encouraging us as individuals to stop being polite and be honest.
This makes me feel slightly nervous as I would describe myself as someone who
would rather avoid confrontation. However conversely, I do have strong
opinions.

Adopt theories, tools and techniques to manage conflict in a productive manner

For a discussion activity we were asked to share positive anecdotes about conflict resolution. It made me realisethat I was unaware formal of tools and techniques for conflict
resolution. My approach was to understand the problem, listen to the person who
raised it and to work with the other party to propose alternative solutions. My
professional experience has taught me the importance of active listing and working
as a team to form and propose solutions.

Meyer & Ogungbamila found five types of conflict resolution strategies: confronting/collaborating, withdrawal/avoiding, forcing/competing, smoothing, and compromising” (Meyer, 2004; Ogungbamila, 2006). Studies have found that confronting and collaborating is one of the most successful techniques for conflict resolution as the cooperation means that a solution can be reached for both parties. (Mc Shane & Von
Gilinow, 2000). Forcing and competing can result in one party winning which can
result in a negative work behaviour (Salami, 2010). Compromising is where both
parties have a give and take approach to reach resolution. Smoothing is used to
highlight the key points for both parties and diminishes their differences,
which can result in positive behavioural changes. Withdrawal and avoiding asks
that one party refrain from the conflict this may lead to counterproductive
work behaviour. (Alper et al, 2000; Meyer, 2004; Omoluabi, 2001; Ogungbamila,
2006).  

Salami carried out a study where participants at different levels of seniority in
business completed a questionnaire about conflict resolution strategies considering
Emotional Intelligence as a factor and their impact on Organizational
Citizenship behaviour. He found that if superiors used to forcing and withdrawal
techniques it had a negative impact on subordinates feeling of citizenship as
they are not given the opportunity to share and contribute. Confronting, compromising,
and smoothing strategies improved the participants feeling of citizenship (Salami,
2010).

Based on both my research and personal experience I intend to employ confronting, compromising, and smoothing techniques to any conflicts I face with the team.

O’Neill et al, identified different types of conflict in their study. Task conflict,
relationship conflict, and process conflict as the three dominate types of
conflict experienced as part of a team. They assert that task conflict can be
beneficial as it promotes discussion. However, relationship and process
conflict can be detrimental to a team. (O’Neill et al, 2015).

I will try to encourage task level conflict within the team and speak up if there
is something that I think needs to be approached differently at task level.

Recall the five dysfunctions of teams:

I have thought about the Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of team in relation to my personal
view of our status as a team and from my perspective as an individual
contributing to the team. Then I have come up with actions regarding how we
could improve.

Absence of Trust

The team needs to build trust be open and ask for support when needed. We need to
create a safe environment where we can express ourselves (Lencioni, 2005). 

Team status: I think that as a team we need to spend some more
time together, this has been a challenge so far due to diary conflicts.

Personal Status: I have high expectations of myself and sometimes I
find it difficult to let go and trust people.

Action: In our next meeting I intend to suggest having
some breakout sessions so we can get to know each other. I do feel that the
team has created a save environment where everyone is able to contribute.

Fear of Conflict

We need to challenge each other to make the best decisions for the team. We need
trust to be able to embrace conflict. We need to understand how comfortable
each member of the team will manage conflict (Lencioni, 2005).

Team Status: This is an area where we need to develop as a
team. I think there are members who are willing to challenge. However, I think
on the whole the team are being polite.

Personal Status: I think that at this stage I just want to get on
with the team, so I am holding back a little.

Action: Understand everyone’s stance on conflict, ensure that we have an appointed team
leader who can move conflict forward.

Lack of Commitment

Everyone needs to commit to one approach even if members of team don’t agree with the
approach. Clarify at the last 5 minutes to summarise the key takeaway points.
Define a thematic goal, what we all believe is important(Lencioni, 2005). 

Team Status: I think there are different levels of commitment
in the team currently based on willingness to take actions and output.

Personal Status: I am committed to the team, but feel the goals are not
currently clearly defined.

Action: Define our goals and understand expectations.

Avoidance of Accountability

Peers to be on the same level, team leader must be willing to step in. We all need to
follow the rules to be a team. Progress trackers are important (Lencioni, 2005).

Team Status: This is an area that needs focus one or two
members of the team are trying to lead and focused on the outcomes, but the
other team members need to become more involved.

Personal Status: I need to make sure that I deliver what I commit to
on time. I also need to be realistic about what I can achieve as I tend to over
commit myself.

Action: Ensure that we all have roles and responsibilities, start to utilise the Kanban
and hold team members to account if they are not delivering.

Inattention to Results

We need to focus on results, we need to try not to focus as much on our individual
tasks but the team goal. The goals set need to be realistic (Lencioni, 2005).

Team Status: Academic deadlines are clear, but the team doesn’t
have a goal defined yet.

Personal Status: I will be looking to the team to lead on this as I
tend to over commit and be unrealistic about what can be achieved in the
timeframe.

Action: We need to create our performance metric and track our progress.

Dealing with Conflict

The course content introduces Dr Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats. It is a framework to support Critical Thinking.  Kivunja states “critical thinking is the cognitive process that creates the ability to interpret, analyze and evaluate information, arguments or experiences with a set of reflective attitudes, skills and abilities to guide our thoughts, beliefs and actions” (Kivunja, 2015). 

The hats each have a different colour and symbolises different ways of thinking in relation
to a topic.  I intend to use this approach when reflecting on our concept, the Hats are (Kivunja, 2015) :

White Hat: Focused on information and facts (Kivunja, 2015). 

Yellow Hat: Positive, looking for value and benefits (Kivunja, 2015). 

Black Hat: Looks for difficulties and Dangers, plays the Devils Advocate (Kivunja, 2015). 

Red Hat: Emotion: feelings and intuition (Kivunja, 2015). .

Green Hat: Creative, possibilities, alternatives and new ideas (Kivunja, 2015). 

Blue Hat: Manages the process of the review (Kivunja, 2015). .

 Sources:

Flex.falmouth.ac.uk.
2021. Week 3: Welcome. [online] Available at:
<https://flex.falmouth.ac.uk/courses/913/pages/week-3-welcome?module_item_id=50028&gt;
[Accessed 21 June 2021].

Salami, S.O., 2010. Conflict resolution strategies and
organizational citizenship behavior: The moderating role of trait emotional
intelligence. Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal38(1), pp.75-86.

O’Neill, T.A., McLarnon, M.J., Hoffart, G.C., Woodley, H.J. and Allen, N.J., 2018. The structure and function of team conflict state profiles. Journal of Management44(2), pp.811-836. Available at: <https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0149206315581662&gt; [Accessed 21 July 2021].

Lencioni, P., 2005. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (2002). Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team. [Online]. Available at: meridiancoaching.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Definition-and-Lencioni-Teams-.pdf [Accessed: 21 July 2021].

Kivunja, C., 2015. Using de Bono’s six thinking hats model to teach critical thinking and problem solving skills essential for success in the 21st century economy. Creative Education6(03), p.380.

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