Any group of people, be that two individuals or a larger team, will experience conflict at some point.
Most people naturally tend toward avoiding conflict, when we should do the exact opposite and step into it.
Conflicts could be rooted in all sorts of things from differing points of view, to unhappiness with performance, or differences in communication style, to name a few.
The secret to moving past conflict and creating a high performing team rests in 3 things:
Change your view on conflict
The right kind of conflict is incredibly beneficial. It enables a group of people to consider multiple points of view and uncover biases or potential flaws in their thinking. As long as we’re in pursuit of the right answer, rather than “being” right, engaging debate and argument are actually helpful.
Seek out and mine for conflict
Sometimes a conflict may be obvious to all and in plain sight. Other times it may rest below the surface and we must mine for it, as we would diamonds or gold. When we sense conflict, one of the most powerful things we can do is simply point out what we sense. Whether with ourselves or with others, point out the underlying disagreement or differing perspectives. Bring it to the surface so a healthy debate can ensue. Most people don’t genuinely need to be right, but they do need to feel heard.
Ensure debate remains healthy
This one can be a bit tricky, especially when things become very heated, but it’s important to officiate both ourselves and others by reminding people to keep the discussion focused on the issues and resist the temptation to pass judgment or make things personal.
So, I have two questions for you.
What discussion or conversation have you been avoiding at work?
And with the above three pointers in mind, when can you schedule the discussion that you know needs to happen?