Points of view. We all have them. When I am working with groups, facilitating workshops or meetings, I have a set of house rules. One of them is to ‘respect each other’s point of view’. One of the main reasons for setting this rule at the start is, as I stated previously, we all have them, points of view that is, and we may actually learn something from another’s point of view. Ironically, this isn’t a view held by everyone.
I recently saw a post on Facebook which was a clip from one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Captain Jack Sparrow is running from a large tribe who are chasing him carrying various weapons with them. They are not happy! The caption accompanying the clip is ‘when you state your opinion on the internet’. The simple reality is, it can happen anywhere. That is, your opinion or point of view is not heard and ignored or is simply shouted down and attacked. The other strategy some people have is to politely change the subject like you never said anything at all.
I often see this with teams. The team members find it difficult to hear or acknowledge the point of view of another team member which is different to their own. Sometimes team members do not put forward their point of view because they don’t feel safe doing so. Or maybe the way in which the team operates does not allow all team members to share their ideas and thoughts. It is a dangerous place to be.
This is where valuable ideas and innovation can be found. But innovation means challenging the status quote and this is also where conflict may be initiated. There is nothing wrong with conflict if it is constructive. For conflict to be constructive it must be done with respect and care. If your team can’t deal with conflict, it is very difficult to innovate and change.
How well does your team handle conflict? Are different points of view heard? What opportunities could the team be missing out on?