To anyone observing it was a very heated argument. One member of the
team was criticising another and not holding back. The other responded
with a few well chosen remarks of their own. Voices were raised. It
looked and sounded ugly. The boss did not intervene. So is this what
is meant by a dysfunctional management team? Not according to the boss.
According to the boss this type of burst up between members
indicated the strength of determination to get things right and
improve performance. The boss claimed to have no problem with this behaviour.
Shocking as this sounds, the boss did not see their role as a
referee and was content to let them fight it out.
How is this different from a dysfunctional team? In my experience
dysfunctional teams don’t so much argue as snipe. They don’t disagree
about a particular course of action or strategy they can’t agree on
anything and respond by each doing their own thing regardless.
What an observer would have witness in this instance was not a
personality conflict, this was not a case where two people just rub
each other up the wrong way. Most significant was how it ended. In a
dysfunctional team it never ends its just the end of that particular
round. Where as this confrontation ended in both parties acknowledging
the others feelings and then moving on to the next item on the agenda.
Never the less it takes courage, confidence and a knowledge of
the individuals on behalf of the manager to let the confrontation play
itself out and not to step in. Especially as one of the
characteristics of a dysfunctional team is a manager who has loss
control and the respect of their team.
Blair McPherson former Director , author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk