Conflict is merely a matter of individuals or groups having different perspectives on a subject. Conflict is inevitable on a team. The opposite of conflict is not peace and harmony, it is apathy. When people care about what they are working on, they speak out. Thus there are advantages to having at least some conflict on a team. Conflict generates energy and is a prerequisite for change. People talk about problems but until they generate some felt need to change, nothing happens. Conflict often provides the felt need.
Conflict can motivate people to do something. Conflict between the team and those outside the team can create team cohesion as members put aside their differences and unite to face the challenge. Conflicts helps a team get over the overly polite stage that exists when a team forms. If conflict is handled well, it produces more realistic and decisions within the team.
Of course, there is a downside to conflict. It can polarize the group. It can result in the use of political tactics rather than rational problem solving. It can cause disruption of production. In all this, trusting “the other side” can be hard.
So conflict should be seen as inevitable. It is neither good nor bad for the team. The key is how situations are handled, and how you, as a leader, manages the team during the situations. As a leader, you must channel the energy of the group toward the resolution.
From Tools for Team Leadership: Delivering the X-Factor in Team eXcellence by Gregory E. Huszczo