Beneath the cuddly surface of broomsticks, wand-shopping and owl postal systems, Harry Potter’s characters have to face some pretty epic conflicts, not least of all between each other. Overcoming interpersonal issues or team failures can sometimes feel as torturous as a crucius curse, but when approached in the right way, the outcome can be magical. Following on from our teamwork blog post, we’re going to explore how Harry Potter can demonstrate the Dumble-do’s and Dumble-don’t’s of overcoming conflicts in the workplace.
Dumble-do: play on your individual strengths
So you’ve just been given a deadline, you’ve drafted up a strategy, and you’re ready to get started – that is until your colleague pipes in with a completely different idea. Sometimes, having differences within a team can seem inconvenient and often downright annoying. However, utilising your individual abilities can be an extremely powerful tool. Take the ultimate spell-casting trio: Harry, Ron and Hermione. Their ideas are often opposing, but when the three young wizards make the most of their strengths they become unstoppable. No other moment shows this better than when they face the different underground challenges in the first movie, Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. It is only through the combination of Hermione’s cool head, Ron’s chess prowess and Harry’s broom-flying abilities that they can reach the Philosopher’s Stone (and save the whole of the wizard world. Just saying.). Instead of immediately dismissing them, try to view the strengths in your colleague’s ideas – perhaps they are providing the stats where yours are lacking, or a clearer budget plan. If you focus on the strengths of both ideas, a better outcome can be achieved.
Dumble-don’t: keep your problems to yourself
Remember in the Order of The Phoenix when Harry goes through wizard puberty, sitting alone in dark rooms and having excruciating nightmares about Voldemort? He only overcomes his frightening visions when he shares his problems with his closest pals (it’s ultimate trio time again). Together they decide to create a secret school club, Dumbledore’s Army, to face Voldemort’s insatiable cronies. Don’t be afraid to let your colleagues know if you feel overwhelmed by the workload or you’re stuck on a problem. You’d be surprised at how happy most people are to share their advice and experience, help out with tasks and talk through problems over a Butterbeer or two. They will likely respect you more for being honest with them. Who knows, the issue may be a lot easier to overcome than you think.
Dumble-do: support each other through failure
Conflicts often bubble up when projects go wrong or figures are low, but it is in these moments that collaboration is the most necessary. Failure is an important step along the path to success, and it is unrealistic to expect every project will work out. The most productive way to overcome a failed task is through focusing on positives. When Harry is knocked off his broom in the Prisoner Of Azkaban, his teammates cheer him up even though Gryffindor have lost the cup. Just because something didn’t work, it wasn't necessarily a waste of time: post-mortems are a great way of working out how company failures can be developed into successes. Examine what didn’t work, but be sure to congratulate your teammates on what did. This will give your team the confidence to try again and work harder in their next project.
Dumble-do: maintain cross-team connections
As our post on events taught us, it is important to keep strong networks both within and outside your team to prevent future problems.The taste of winning is not so sweet if you throw others under the bus to get there. It is easy to tell your boss that the low results last week were another team’s fault, or take all the glory for the last quarter’s wins, but it does not pay off in the long run and is likely to cause unnecessary issues. In the Triwizard Tournament, Harry eventually decides to tip off Cedric that there will be dragons to fight in the first round, even though this puts him at a disadvantage. This eventually proves to be beneficial for Harry, as Cedric gives Harry advice which helps him win the tournament. If you are willing to help out other teams, the likelihood of future conflicts will be minimised, and they will be more willing to help you out when you need it most.