Where tension is felt personally, conflict is experienced between two or more parties. It’s the result of a clash of ideas, cultural norms and passions. And, like tension, it’s essential to the growth, evolution and renewal of the organization. Without healthy conflict, an organization will stagnate.
Now. Am I saying we want everyone at each other’s throats? Of course not. Conflict doesn’t always have to be fireworks. But I would argue that it’s only unhealthy conflict that is problematic. Unhealthy conflict is the kind where the conversation quickly devolves to who is stupid and who is evil.
Healthy conflict is another thing entirely. It’s about discussion and debate. It’s about drawing out tacit knowledge. It’s about surfacing previously unseen issues and opportunities It’s about creating a shared understanding. And it’s about creating the best possible solutions.
The key to healthy conflict is creating conditions where employees don’t freak out when there’s disagreement. Conflict is expected. Embrace it. This allows personalities and personal bugaboos to settle and for constructive communication and learning to occur.
Unstuck Leaders make it clear that the goal is to look for a solution, not make each other right or wrong. Organizational focus is shifted to calmly working the problem and it’s made clear that there will be no negative outcome for expressing oneself. There are also firm rules of engagement predicated on mutual respect.
Because here’s the truth. The conflict is not episodic. It doesn’t simply erupt out of nowhere and then dissipate. It’s always there. The Unstuck Leader knows how to put it to use.
Hiya! This post is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The Unstuck Leader: Getting unstuck. Staying Unstuck. If you’d like to learn the five steps to eliminating the patterns of belief and behavior that are holding you back, sign-up for my email newsletter, and you’ll be the first to know when the book is published.