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About the FIRO-B: Team Conflict


One of the many uses of the FIRO-B is to help teams work together better. Conflict is unavoidable whenever people come together, particularly in a work environment. This time we'll look at several common types of conflict and which FIRO-B results likely indicate this could be happening to your team.

For example, let's look at the case where some people seem to be overworked and others aren't carrying their share of the workload. This often called "free riding," meaning that some people go along for the ride without contributing to the group effort. This will be the case most often when both Expressed and Wanted Control are low. If this happens in your group, you might ask yourself if you're contributing to the problem. You might avoid group tasks because you disagree with the leader or don't like the leader's control. Others pull back because they're uncertain about their skills and abilities, so seek to avoid responsibilities that might reveal their shortcomings.

Another case involves those situations in which some team members feel undermined by others. This can happen in teams with low levels of Total Inclusion and low Expressed Control. Many times this can result from unclear or diverging goals. If this appears to be happening in your group, ask yourself if you understand and appreciate what the other team members want and expect from the group. Others may seek to maintain their individuality at the expense of the group.

Other groups struggle with trying to get new ideas taken seriously by the group. This can happen when there are high levels of Expressed or Wanted Control. One subgroup or person can dominate the rest of the team and have undue influence over the decision making process. If you are in this role, ask yourself if you are giving everyone a fair chance to influence the process and decisions. As more people contribute, there is increased acceptance of the group's decisions. It feels less like an imposed decision from above. More acceptance increases the likelihood that the decisions will be implemented by the team.

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