In the fourth unit of reading, we read sections on many different aspects of leadership and working on teams, from decision making and conflict management, to problem solving and creativity. One of the sections that specifically caught my attention was the section on conflict management. Within Levi chapter 7, the author explains that it is actually important to have conflict, and that a lack of conflict may be indicative of a bigger underlying problem, such as a domineering leader, getting caught in the routine, as well as unhealthy agreement. This last part especially was interesting because it tied in with the abilene paradox, which is when group members just keep agreeing with something even if they don’t truly believe in it themselves to appease the others in the group. This is a clear time in which the group is trying to minimize or eliminate conflict, even though the apparent inclusion of conflict would be more beneficial. Some of the benefits include finding novel ways to solve the tasks at hand, better creativity and decisions, as well as enhanced commitment to the organization fueled by their former drive in their conflict. This is so important to understand for a team because often times, they continue on working together without really having any conflict, which hurts their problem solving, but also means that the team cannot become as close as it has the potential to be. There are many ways to resolve conflict, and if a team knows how to deal with each type of conflict effectively, they will be able to weather even the toughest of challenges.
I can see this especially within my personal experience as a leader within the RLC. When our group was in its storming phase, we disagreed on many different ideas, from how to name each of the halls, to how to structure the classes for the freshmen. Through this phase of disagreement and butting heads on almost every issue, we were able to think critically and solve the problems to come up with the best possible solution. Without this phase, we would have just continued on agreeing with the first idea we had, which might not have been the best idea to go with. This was actually something I really struggled with in the beginning. As a very non-confrontational person, I was not really able to give my ideas to the group well, but I found myself growing into the role more as I found things that I believed were so vital that I broke out of the pattern of just agreeing with the others ideas to keep them ‘happy’. I realized that in reality, they were not going to be incredibly hurt if I disagreed with them because I did have a good team, but also because part of disagreement and conflict is getting your idea across and explaining it in a way that convinces others to follow through with it. In the future, I am planning on becoming more confident in order to follow through on sharing my ideas. I also think it would be a good idea to learn how to handle conflicts better so as to become a better moderator when I am placed in a leadership position. While conflict is a good way to get things done and solve problems quickly, it can also hurt efficiency and breakdown ties between team members if it carries on too far and gets too heated. Therefore, in order to become the best leader I can be, and to be a helpful moderator for future conflict, I will learn what I can about all the different types of conflict.