Why You Should Be Careful Publicizing Internal Team Disagreements 

Whether with a team you manage during the day or the family you come home to in the evening, you’re likely to experience bouts of miscommunication. 

Disagreements between members of any team you’re an integral part of, aren’t always solved in one series of back and forths. People need time to sleep on things, and to reconsider their stances. 

You may have experienced ongoing disagreements with / among members of your family or team whilst having to make a quick team decision. In having to perform as a team in some fashion, there are often members who don’t get their way. 

Examples of such instances are having an argument with your spouse on the ride over to a family friend’s home, or not coming to a formal agreement with your colleagues prior to meeting another department’s leaders to make an important decision. 

There can be times in which your issues in communicating with members of your team can be made public. You may feel an urge to excuse your bad mood at your friend’s home by citing your argument with your spouse on the way there. Whilst discussing a team’s decision with senior leadership at work, you may find yourself being descriptive about the disagreements that took place within your team. 

This article aims to warm you about exposing too much information regarding the disagreements you may have with members of any team you lead or are a part of. 

Publication Encourages Public Attempts at Solving Private Issues

Communication issues with your family or team often required nuanced, calm, and time consuming solutions. The introduction of external parties into the matter at hand will subject your problems with biased opinions which are neither nuanced or sufficiently educated on the matter at hand. 

As with many complicated issues, the information we gather quickly can make us feel that a simple, obvious solution exists. Upon further pondering and venturing past the surface however, complicated issues do well to humble our early and broad understanding of them. 

As you publicize your communication issues and disagreements, you’ll subject those issues to the opinions of the uneducated parties you introduce them to. These external parties not only risk muddying the waters, but may develop into playing the role of backup opinion holders that certain members of your team anchor on to. 

As they see that outside parties would be getting involved, members of your team who disagree with your leadership may start influencing those other parties. New opinions are easier to form. Team members looking to have more individuals back their stance will seek to influence those newcomers’ opinions to align with theirs. 

The publication of communication issues you have with internal members of your teams can thereby empower the rigid minority of your team. Their vocal attempts at dragging extraneous opinions into the matter can arm them with more power in whatever misunderstanding you undergo as a team. 

Rumors can be spread, and mistruths can begin to guide the perception of you as a leader of such a team. Public pressure can force you to act in ways which you know to be unwise, and your management of a team can change in its course based purely on uneducated public opinions on the matter at hand. 

Maintaining an Air of Stability Around Your Team Is More Important Than You May Think

The team you lead or manage will undoubtedly communicate with other teams that have their own managers and leaders. Especially in a corporate environment, a management structure often calls for segregated team discussions to be brought to a more public forum to be evaluated and approved by other stakeholders. 

The stakeholders which evaluate your team’s stance at a corporate environment will look after their own interests. As they relate to you, their interests may seek to encourage the achievement of your goals, or put up a barrier to the execution of your plans. 

A perceived instability to be present within your teams can negatively impact you from the standpoint of both, stakeholders who are aligned with your vision, and stakeholders who are not. 

Below, the effects of publicizing your team to not be in agreement are explored as they affect the two major groups of stakeholders you’ll generally find around you. 


1. Effects on Stakeholders Whose Goals Are Aligned With Yours:

 The alignment of your team’s goals with the goals of another group in a professional environment is a delicate process. As both parties have internal discussions on whether the mutual goal would in fact bring benefits, the finalization of those terms is often difficult to set in stone. 

Walking into a meeting hoping to finalize a plan, proposal, or an agreement going forward relies heavily on a confidence that’s built during internal team discussions. If everyone on your team is on the same page prior to entering discussions with other stakeholders, mutual goals become a little easier to push the conversation toward. 

Selling stakeholders on goals is thereby drastically more straightforward when all members of your own team are on the same page – or at least appear to be. Whether they be your partners or the subordinates you elect to be at the meeting with you, acting as a confident single unit does well to raise confidence in those affected by your team’s decisions.

 The publication of disagreements and communication issues within your team serves to pique concern among those affected by your team’s work / decisions. As a function of natural curiosity, stakeholders in any context would yearn to be filled into any internal disagreements taking place within the teams you lead or manage. 

Stakeholders will perceive these internal team disagreements to be serious in importance, as both sides of a disagreement would be knowledgeable regarding the topic they disagree on. It will become difficult to sign off on any plans, proposals, or general agreements with an unexplored sense of disagreements among the team that pushes for those sign offs. 


2. Effects on Competing Stakeholders Whose Best Interests Don’t Align With Yours:

In short, competing stakeholders will be quick to latch on to opposing arguments made by members of your team in an effort to further split them apart. The contending team members whose position best fits with these competing stakeholders’ interests will be propped up and agreed with. The stakeholders who you’ve anticipated to stand in your way will improve their ability in doing so by teaming up with members of your team who disagree with you. 

Such groups of individuals will seek to use members of your own team to drive their points home and get their way in meetings and discussions. In the presence of senior leadership, such individuals will be quick to cite the members of your team who disagree with one another. These combative stakeholders will be sure to give the people on your team whose opinions suit their best interests a voice while disregarding the contending arguments. 

As a manager or leader, you’ll be placed in a disadvantaged position when members of your own team can be positioned against you in the decision making process. Your authority as a leader can take a severe hit when information about your team’s internal conflicts is made public and used against you by other stakeholders during the decision making process. 

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Disclaimer of Opinion: This article is presented only as opinion. It does not make any scientific, factual, or legal claims in any way.