by Serge Lashutka, M.A., M.B.A.

Recently I met with the top team of a family owned furniture manufacturing company to discuss teambuilding. The top team of 12 people is half male and half female. However, more than half the team members are related to the husband and wife who started the company.

The company’s founder is a man who is a visionary furniture designer. His wife recently became second in command after two outside hires did not perform well and were fired. The team wanted to clarify their roles and improve communication. Lots of dynamics on this team! One key to the team’s future success is going to be its ability to effectively manage conflicts – no matter how clear roles are or how improved their communication. All teams need to effectively discuss differences and conflicts as they arise, if the team is going to develop and perform. No matter whether these differences arise from gender, cultural, family, technical or another cause, teams that really perform learn to effectively resolve important differences. So, developing effective conflict skills and the ability to embrace conflict became our work!