Not all conflict is bad. Don’t get me wrong…It can suck. But after the storm is over, it can bring about better things for your business.
What conflict have you dealt with recently? That sigh you just let out, or that knot in your stomach when you think of it, means you don’t like conflict. That’s OK. But consider this: good debate, based on a foundation of trust, actually strengthens organizations. Businesses that are candid and not afraid of conflict instill more trust and respect within the organization than those who keep everything closed up.
Conflict can feel risky, but without the uncomfortable feelings, you can’t create a breakthrough and move your team forward together. Some of the most productive, business-building meetings happen when people challenge each other, and when people change their perspective from uncomfortable conflict to passionate engagement.
It’s the role of the leaders in the company to encourage conflict resolution in a healthy way. Here’s how to set up and encourage the conflict in a way that benefits your team.
Focus on the problems, not the people. It can feel natural to point fingers at the person who blew the design, lost the client, or generally messed up. But instead, focus on the underlying issue of why the design didn’t hit the mark, identify the red flags with the lost client and define the action the team should take moving forward.
Set your ego aside. You’re not going to solve every single problem alone. You need collaboration, and other great minds to help. When conflict arises, don’t take it personally. Check your ego and let the best solution win. Keep your motivation for the betterment of the company. Friendly-yet-challenging banter can generate new ideas that often lead to greater outcomes.
Take a breather. If conversations get too heated, know when to redirect the conversation, step away, and reconvene at a later point. Sometimes the energy in the room can flare tempers or make people feel discouraged. If apologies are needed, don’t hold them back. Take a break or even a couple of days to think things through. Then try again. The right solution will come.
Too often we settle for harmony when we should embrace the conflict. Conflict creates clarity and synchrony. When conflict happens regularly, in a productive way, pressure doesn’t build. Instead, it’s consistently released, leaving a healthy, transparent culture. If you’re interested in learning how to apply the principles of the EOS Method to help your company grow through healthy conflict, we’d love to hear from you.