Conflict in Functional Teams

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Conflict in Functional Teams

  • Democracy works on the principle of opposing view points. Perhaps your greatest asset is the one that disagrees with you because you have to think to counter their arguments.

    Plato said that people who think alike don't think much at all.

    Sometimes it takes courage to stand up in opposition, particularly when the position you are opposing is received wisdom

  • Absence of conflict is one of the key indicators of dysfunctional team, according to The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Five_Dysfunctions_of_a_Team). In short, conflict is healthy when team members are respectful of other's opinions and every team member should have their voice heard. The aforementioned book is a good read for anyone managing a team, and for team members as well.

  • I can recommend the rest of Patrick Lenceoni's books as well. They are a good warm up act to The Phoenix Project.

  • Fortunately my experience has been for the positive. We have conflict. An idea is presented that may get torn down right away. But another idea is presented, building off a kernal from the former idea. Round and round we go slowly building up what eventually becomes a strong, well developed idea.

  • The bottom line is that a lack of open communication, especially debate, leads to a narrow consideration of a problem, which in turn means that it will not be properly or adequately addressed and with that comes an increased chance of failure.

    I like success and therefore have a low tolerance for a closed-mouth or loud-mouthed environment.

  • Speaking as someone who doesn't like to engage in conflict (and I bet many users of the SQL Server Central website fit that description) I don't care much for conflict. Alice, I'm sure you're been fortunate enough to have been a part of a team that was able to engage in conflict and do so constructively, where people respect each other afterwards. I've just not been as fortunate. In all previous teams I've been a part of where conflict resulted, it led to a toxic environment that everyone was very happy to get away from, normally by leaving the company.

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • That's too bad to hear, Rod. I think it comes down to what kind of conflict the team uses - are they debating to find the best answer, or are they arguing to get things "their way".

    I worked with a group early in my career where we would get into very heated debates about how something should be designed, etc. Then we would go to lunch, and after lunch pick up the heated debate where we left off. I always felt confident in our ultimate designs because agreement was not automatic - it had to be earned.

    The trick is that the discussion/debate/argument/whatever cannot be taken personally.

  • I prefer to avoid conflict, but when it comes to system design or administration I will fight. I'll sometimes lose, and sometimes lose big, but at least my view will be heard. I will also happily argue both sides of issues at times.

    I can certainly see where good discussion can benefit projects and increases buy-in by staff. Management rule by fiat is not a good thing, I almost walked out of a job for such a thing.

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    [font="Arial"]Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find information upon it. --Samuel Johnson[/font]

  • The Important thing is team members feel that can express their thoughts and opinions and they can be discussed instead of just blown off.

  • Frank W Fulton Jr (10/13/2016)


    The Important thing is team members feel that can express their thoughts and opinions and they can be discussed instead of just blown off.

    AbSOLutely! I was blown off in a meeting where the outcome had been decided without involving me in the discussion. That decision snowballed, and after I left, they ended up having a corrupted database and lost several months of billable information. But as long as they were happy with their decision, and I was no longer there, then bully for them. 🙂

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    [font="Arial"]Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find information upon it. --Samuel Johnson[/font]

  • One of the best DBA jobs I ever had was at a firm whose chief data scientist and I argued like lawyers.

    We both agreed not to take anything personally, so anything went.

    In retrospect, we were both more interested in getting to the truth of things and the best decisions, than winning our arguments.

    That is intellectual honesty and it created an excellent engineering environment.

    We're both still friends and stay in touch with one another.

  • jim.riedemann (10/13/2016)


    That's too bad to hear, Rod. I think it comes down to what kind of conflict the team uses - are they debating to find the best answer, or are they arguing to get things "their way".

    I worked with a group early in my career where we would get into very heated debates about how something should be designed, etc. Then we would go to lunch, and after lunch pick up the heated debate where we left off. I always felt confident in our ultimate designs because agreement was not automatic - it had to be earned.

    The trick is that the discussion/debate/argument/whatever cannot be taken personally.

    Looking back at it for those debates that were heated and I was a part of, I may have been a part of the problem. Guess I'll have to do some soul searching to see if I can dig up where I went wrong. I don't want to make those mistakes again.

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • I'm definitely the loudest in the room. I cause a lot of conflict, but what I feel is good conflict because I always try to stay constructive and respectful.

    As one of the loudest in the room, I take it upon myself to call out those not contributing. I try to encourage people to join the conversation and give their input at times when management is not leaning on them.

    I've found that approach to work best in most of the teams I've worked on. The only negative is the fact people do get called on to weigh in. Plenty of people have their own ways of communicating feedback. But at the end of the day, if you're too shy or don't feel it's worth the effort, then you need to get out the room.

    Our one golden rule is: Silence is agreement.

  • David.Poole (10/13/2016)


    Democracy works on the principle of opposing view points. Perhaps your greatest asset is the one that disagrees with you because you have to think to counter their arguments.

    Plato said that people who think alike don't think much at all.

    Sometimes it takes courage to stand up in opposition, particularly when the position you are opposing is received wisdom

    Unfortunately, Democracy frequently fails to do the job correctly because a lot of uninformed people who thought they heard something get involved and managers frequently and unfortunately "Mistake the clatter of the crowd for the wisdom of the group".

    But, I also agree that even a supposed republic or beneficial dictatorship has problems especially if the manager(s) think they know better than everyone else. I'm going through that right now and it's frustrating as hell because I know what could be done but am basically being told to shut up because of the ignorant attitude that "Just because you can do something in SQL Server doesn't mean you should".

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".
    "Dear Lord... I'm a DBA so please give me patience because, if you give me strength, I'm going to need bail money too!"

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

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