Agile Notes (No. 37)
Hi all! Did everyone survive Christmas? :) Let’s get back at it. We are continuing our re-read of Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins. This week Chapter 9: Coach as Conflict Navigator.
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Another chapter with a TON of great tools and frameworks. It is almost overwhelming. However - I think the secret is using this book like the author recommends. It is NOT meant to be read cover to cover. It is a reference tool. Turn to the chapter that speaks to your issue, pick a tool to try out, check your results. This week’s chapter talks to how we help our teams navigate conflict from open warfare to “constructive disagreement.”
I have seen a lot of escalation to senior management. Person A doesn’t like something her supervisor said/didn’t say or did/didn’t do. Instead of talking it through with the supervisor they will jump as many levels on the org chart as they can and bring it to that person. That person, being a busy executive will try to fix the “problem” but will most likely miss the mark. Creating all manner of drama in the process. Rinse. Repeat. It’s exhausting.
I like the framework in the picture above for its simplicity. When you get NOs for all three questions….well….you don’t really have a problem then, right? Adkins calls these questions “interventions.” I love it. As a coach, you are INTERVENING in a potential situation but you are not taking ownership of it. You are not fixing the situation. You are asking an adult to act like an adult and go talk it out with another adult.
I worry that we are so quick to put the capital C - conflict label on things that can be easily solved with a conversation. I worry that we run away from even the most basic situations because we have been conditioned to AVOID conflicts at all costs.
How are we going to get anything meaningful done if we spend all of our time running away from each other?
I would love to hear your favorite frameworks for identifying and addressing conflicts or your stories of conflicts that were easily solved by having a chat.
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