“Why can’t they all just get along?” I heard this question from a colleague the other day. She is working for a company where the leadership team does not play nice. They fight amongst themselves and there are a few “leaders” (I use the word loosely) who have no compunction about publically bad-mouthing others on their team and in different departments.
Conflicting ideas and opinions are natural and to be expected when a diverse group of people, with different backgrounds, experiences and personalities work together. Those differences have the potential to create strength and diversity, but in many cases, are instead used as weapons and to build walls. Dysfunctional teams that do not disagree respectfully hinder growth; ideas stagnate, factions form and opposing camps battle against each other instead of working together to achieve success.
As a parent, I very quickly learned that my children needed a team working together on their behalf. That meant, that in some cases, meetings were held behind closed doors, differences of opinion discussed and decisions made. Sometimes, one team leader had to make concessions, sometimes it meant “agreeing to disagree” but in all cases, once the doors opened, a consistent, unified message was delivered.
This holds true in the workplace as well. Opinions, insight and suggestions from a broad range of stakeholders are important, but just as important is a consistent, unified message once a decision has been made and everyone, regardless of their original viewpoint, needs to own their role in the organization’s success.