Mastering Conflict: A Conversation with Ed Evarts

Written by Susie Guthro

30th Mar 2021

Whether you lead a team or participate as a member, chances are you have experienced conflict while working with others. Most of us hear the word conflict and go running for the hills. Pray for it, ignore it and it will go away. Maybe? But what if conflict is actually a really productive thing that can help your team understand each other and realize the goals of your project faster? We had a chat with Excellius Leadership Development coach, Ed Evarts, who casts conflict in a positive light.

Evarts, a seasoned leadership and team coach considers mastering conflict one of his top five behaviors of a cohesive team. He states, “Conflict doesn’t have to be negative. Conflict doesn’t need to set the team back or create animosity.” In an age where we can avoid face to face contact through a text message, or send an email instead of picking up the phone, it’s easy to become conflict averse. Doesn’t everyone protect their vulnerabilities and potential judgement of peers, by not speaking up from time to time? This behavior can actually be detrimental to achieving the goal of the team. When we don’t challenge the things we don’t understand or agree with so easily, Evarts warns that we are not being honest. This dishonesty can devalue your worth as a team member or leader and worse, stall your project. So, the next time something has you confused or concerned, go ahead and ask for clarification, you may not be the only at the table who has the apprehensions.

To go hand in hand with mastering conflict in a non-negative way, it’s important to recognize that agreement and understanding are two completely different things. Evarts suggests that we don’t always need to agree. He states, “We will never all agree with each other but we do need to understand each other”. Understanding vs. agreement is perhaps one of the trickiest topics that Evarts tackles when coaching teams and it’s a large component of commitment, another one of the top five behaviors of a cohesive team.
To find out if your team possesses the top five behaviors of a cohesive team click here It’s OK if they don’t. With the right coaching, your team can crush it.