All change efforts involve

Healthy conflict is open
and honest. It seeks to solve a problem
or exploit an opportunity.

behavior is not healthy conflict. It’s hidden conflict.  

It’s when someone saying
they will support an effort either does nothing or actively works against that

As long as this behavior
is allowed to continue, the underlying conflict causing it cannot be resolved. 

It’s also confusing to
other team members. When people see
someone say one thing and do something else they may start to feel as though their
own actions are somehow less important or no longer necessary.

Progress can quickly


What can you do about it?

To stop something from
hiding in the dark, turn the lights on! 

Be proactive. Assuming you’re managing a change effort that
has been identified and defined properly, try the following:

  1. Privately open up the lines of communication. Build relationships. Understand what makes your organization “tick”? What do different people or groups stand to gain? What do they stand to lose?
  2. Publicly open up the lines of communication. Get people to voice these concerns with others. Work as a team to anticipate conflicts and address them.
  3. Always publicly clarify decisions, actions and responsibilities. If passive-aggressive behavior is a serious problem for your project, document everyone’s commitments. Then have team members and stakeholders sign-off on them.
  4. Be careful. Don’t assume you have agreement just because you are not experiencing open conflict.
  5. Follow-up (privately and then publicly) on all actions and decisions. 

If your problems persist,
you are going to have to get help. Unless you are in a position to encourage positive behavior and sanction
unproductive behavior, you’re going to have to get the visible and active support of someone
who can. 

What are your
experiences? What tactics have worked
for you?

(Previous posts in this
series: A
Collaborative Series
, Culture)

Technorati tags: , , ,