Those of us who work in the team building world help people improve their work environment. Most people call us when they realize they’re starting to have a problem or when their problems get out of hand. We then conduct a team building training program or process to help get them back on track. I am often surprised when I hear statements like, “Given that you work for a team building company, it must be perfect where you work.

”Sure, we practice what we preach, but we’re still human. Take any group of people, put them in a confined space for a long period of time and conflict is inevitable. The difference is how we deal with it.

There are many ways to deal with conflict. Most people prefer trying to ignore it and hope it goes away. This inevitably makes things worse as subgroups form and tempers flare. Bad habits and unhealthy patterns emerge that are difficult to undo. Some people tackle it head on, communicate disrespectfully and then don’t speak to each other for weeks or months at a time… yep, that was solved effectively.

In my corporate culture, we tackle conflicts as soon as we see them brewing. We hold each other accountable for the atmosphere we create and the commitments we make. We trust each other enough that we know when someone brings up an issue, it’s for everyone’s greater good. No one is playing “gotcha” or trying to bring anybody else down. We truly care about each other and try to bring out the best in each other. It goes a long way to helping smooth over the rough spots.

Yes, I work for a team building company, but is it perfect? No, but if something goes wrong or something bothers me, I know that I can address it and bring everything back into balance.

By Kerry Fillmore