Why Team Building: Reduce and Manage Conflict

Event planners, managers, facilitators, or anyone else involved in planning a team building event inevitably face the question asked by C-level execs, comptrollers, or stakeholders:  “Why do team building? What are the benefits, and is it worth the time and money we spend?”

We're addressing this question in a series of blogs focused on the benefits of team building. Last week we showed how team building improves communication and participation.This week: reducing and managing conflict.

Conflict is inevitable in organizations - and in games. Whenever more than one person engages in an activity, each brings their own knowledge, skills, assumptions, personal history, and more to the issue at hand. The likelihood that each will begin with a different understanding and approach to solving the problems at hand is almost a certainty.

What team building games allow us to do is find ways to bridge the gaps between our different perspectives, find common ground and come to an understanding of ways we can move forward together - in a very low-stakes environment. In fact it is the lowering of stakes in the team building game that may enable participants to set aside their differences and allow another’s initiative to carry the day - or at least sway the outcome.

These practices teach larger lessons. Finding ways to resolve small conflicts gives participants tools they can use to resolve larger conflicts. Moreover, opening the lines of communication, participants discover shortcuts that can help eliminate the conflict before it even arises.

Next week:  productivity.



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