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Recent weeks have seen a number of tributes and articles about the late great Robin Williams. According to Mr. Williams, he inherited his sense of humor from his mother. He joked that Freud had a needlepoint pillow on his therapist’s couch that read, “If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother.”

Mothers, fathers, siblings and spouses not only know us well, they know how to push our buttons. Articles, books and movies have been written about family dynamics and conflict.

Conflict at workA new study reports that conflicts and worries at home not only upset home life, they are also brought into the workplace. Like the lunchbox we take from home, we pack our worries and our arguments into a compartment and sometimes unpack it in the workplace.

The study was led by led by Dr. Ana Sanz-Vergel at the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Business School and Complutense University of Madrid, Spain.

“The difficulty of focusing on work when distracted by family worries made employees irritable. This led to them reacting negatively towards colleagues instead of using more adaptive strategies, such as seeking social support or being assertive. This negativity is transferred to the home in the form of increased conflict with their partners. These findings may help us to better understand how family-work conflict affects our relationships with others both at work and at home and on a daily basis.” Dr. Sanz-Vergel

In our last blog post, we discussed teamwork and trust, one of the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team. The first tenet or behavior is to trust one another. When team members are genuinely transparent and honest with one another they are able to build folder ability based trust. When there is trust team members are able to engage in unfiltered constructive debate of ideas with the fear of being judged.

The second tenet is to engage in conflict around ideas. Some teams are wary of this type of discussion because they are uncomfortable with the conflict that might arise. However, conflict can be both healthy and productive for a team, as long as it remains focused on issues and solutions and not on people.

Ask yourself if your team would say yes – or no – or maybe – to these statements.

  • Team members voice their opinions even at the risk of causing disagreement.
  • Team members solicit one another’s opinions during meetings.
  • When conflict occurs the team confronts and deals with the issue before moving to another subject.
  • During team meetings the most important and difficult issues are discussed.

Conflict at home, when not dealt with, can cause disruptions at work. Conflict at work, which is not dealt with in a positive manner, can cause high employee turnover, loss of productivity and other undesirable results.

How does your team handle conflict?

Source: Science World Report, “Family Worries Lead to Conflict at Work, Study Finds,” Benita Matilda, July 5, 2014