Mastering Conflict


Even though many of us may naturally try to avoid conflict at work, by doing so, we’re missing out on the kind of passionate debates that are essential to any great team. All lasting relationships require productive conflict in order to grow. When team members build a foundation of vulnerability-based trust, conflict simply becomes an attempt to find the best possible answer. Productive conflict around concepts and ideas has the potential to produce the best possible solution in the shortest period of time. How does conflict help teams succeed? A team that engages in conflict minimizes politics and puts critical topics on the table for discussion. It also extracts the ideas of all members, helping to solve real problems quickly. All great relationships, the ones that last over time, require productive conflict in order to grow. It’s important to distinguish productive, ideological conflict from destructive fighting and interpersonal politics. Conflict is often considered taboo, especially at work, and people may spend inordinate amounts of time and energy trying to avoid the kind of passionate debates that are essential to any great team. Teams that engage in productive conflict know that the only purpose is to produce the best possible solution in the shortest period of time.


Productive conflict:

  •  is focused on concepts and ideas
  •  avoids mean-spirited, personal attacks


A Team That Fears Conflict…

  •  Has boring meetings
  •  Creates environments where personal attacks thrive
  •  Ignores controversial topics that are critical to team success
  • Fails to tap into all the opinions and perspectives of team members
  • Wastes time and energy with posturing and interpersonal risk management


A Team That Engages In Conflict...

  • Has lively, interesting meetings
  • Extracts and exploits the ideas of all team members
  • Solves real problems quickly
  • Minimizes politics
  • Puts critical topics on the table for discussion


  

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