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How to Win

How Conflict Can Save a Team

If you’re a member of any team — and you are — there’s something that can make your team stronger.


What? Conflict can make a team stronger? Yes, and it’s right there in the book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni.

One of the functions outlined by Lencioni is fear of conflict — seeking artificial harmony over constructive passionate debate.

Emeka Okafor of the Washington Wizards recently chose constructive passionate debate with teammate John Wall. Okafor said some things he thought needed to be said. At first, Wall didn’t like it. Now Wall is playing like the franchise player he is being paid to be.

Okafor could have settled for artificial harmony. Instead, he chose a more difficult, but more constructive, approach. That’s the key — stating the conversation with the correct intentions.

This can work in families, the workplace and even political debate, even though the Washington gridlock makes you wonder if there will ever be a constructive tone there.

Okafor’s action may be the closest that Washington comes to a constructive debate!


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