Confrontation instead of cuddling – The right management of conflicts

Too much harmony is harmful. If you want to work together in an agile manner, you also have to be able to fight.

Discussions should be objective and professional, but also honest and open. Because anyone who thinks that a company can get by without conflicts and tensions is barking up the wrong tree. On the contrary, stink is often the basis of successful teamwork and the management must also recognize this!

“Peace & Joy” was yesterday

In our professional careers, we increasingly specify ourselves and become professionals in our field. Teamwork makes sense when the knowledge of several experts from different fields comes together. However, if different ingenious minds are sitting in the same boat and the problem is multi-layered, it is quite normal for differences of opinion or even disputes to arise. Different views always lead to disputes. And that is a good thing! Because if everyone always agrees from the start, new, imaginative ideas and creative solutions will never emerge. That’s why it’s important to learn how to argue properly, so that personal sensitivities and feelings don’t get in the way of productivity. This requires strong teams and good leadership.

Motifs as a driver

The relationships within teams are crucial for the success of the entire company. Because only together can creative solutions to problems be found and goals be achieved, even if this process sometimes leads through a valley of storm clouds and quarrels. In order for a company to get close to the drive of its teams, to boost the momentum again and again, and to prepare the ground for innovative thinking and action, it is important to find out what drives knowledge workers, what inhibits them! Only in this way can internal and external motivation contribute hand in hand to the success of the company. And, as if by magic, a corporate culture is established that takes interpersonal relationships into account or enables genuine togetherness at the workplace.

The following steps are crucial if a team wants to further develop itself and its togetherness:

What’s the rub?

In order to be able to develop the team at all, it must be made visible how it is doing. This happens far too rarely because managers in Germany overestimate their abilities as team leaders. 97% of bosses give themselves top marks, while only 60% of team members share this view. Honesty is needed: How satisfied is the team really? How great is the mutual trust? How solution-oriented are mistakes and conflicts dealt with? How appreciative is the communication? Are the team rules clear and are they adhered to? Only when the most burning issues have been identified can they be worked on in a targeted and efficient manner.

Unity needs diversity, otherwise it is not unity but monotony

Far too often, it is assumed that the others in the team tick just like you. But every person is an individual. Everyone ticks differently and needs something different in order to be able to develop their full potential. Therefore, it is necessary that each team member first knows exactly what he or she needs: What drives me? What is holding me back? If the team members are all similarly motivated, they usually get along well. Sometimes even too well. Similarity brings harmony, but can be at the expense of innovation. A healthy degree of diversity in terms of driving forces ensures new perspectives, ideas and flexibility for the team.

From insight to understanding

If one learns about the different values, the different attitudes, the different needs and the often conflicting intrinsic motivation of the other team members, it falls like scales from the eyes where misunderstanding or conflicts come from. If, for example, two characters meet, one with a high competitive and fighting spirit and the other with a high motivation for harmony, this combination can harbor a variety of potential conflicts. However, if these insights are shared within the team, an unexpected dynamic develops: mutual understanding increases and a genuine exchange at eye level is possible. Apparent conflicts become drivers of innovation. Difference becomes mutual appreciation. Genuine togetherness in the workplace is now possible. The employee with a high harmony value contributes significantly to a permanently good working atmosphere. The colleague with a fighting spirit can move the team forward in pronounced competitive situations. Especially for teams that want to work together in an agile manner, mutual understanding of individual motivations is a success factor. It is not for nothing that one principle of the agile manifesto reads:
Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done.
– Agiles Manifest


To implement these three steps as effectively as possible, it is advisable to use digital analysis tools. First, the results collected are unbiased, neutral and easy to evaluate digitally. Second, the team can very quickly focus on the really burning issues. For example, it may turn out that the team trusts each other very little and that communication is not perceived as open and appreciative. In that case, these issues should definitely be addressed first, so that expensive team-building measures do not fizzle out as lip service.
Die treibenden Kräfte in Barbara Wegmann´s Leben heißen Wandel und Innovation. Nach ihrem Studium in Paris und Mannheim, ist Barbara seit 20 Jahren unterschiedlichsten Rollen in der IT. Sie leitete für Dropbox Deutschland den Bereich für Medien und Tech und war Botschafterin für Unternehmenskultur und New Work. Seit 2009 beschäftigt sie sich als Coach mit der schnellen menschlichen Veränderung. In 2019 hat Sie ein Online-Coaching-Programm zur Entscheidungsfindung bei 'Trennen ja oder nein' entwickelt. Mehr dazu auf: Barbara ist ausgebildeter Coach, Kommunikationstrainer, Mutter von zwei Töchtern und passionierte Sky-Diverin.

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