While building a culture of trust is essential to a leadership team’s growth and success, the fear of conflict can stop any positive growth in its tracks. Conflict happens, especially in business, and the key is to embrace rather than avoid it. As Patrick Lencioni writes in the Five Dysfunctions of a Team, “All great relationships, the ones that last over time, require productive conflict in order to grow.”
Conflict is not taboo, especially in teams where trust is the norm. In fact, allowing conflict provides the opportunity for a multitude of ideas. If there is trust in place, conflict won’t lead to heated exchanges but instead can result in passionate dialogue around key issues – with a full-scale examination of ideas and resultant decisions – that can move your organization forward by leaps and bounds.
While general conflict can be detrimental if left unchecked, I’ve found that when conflict is handled correctly there are definite advantages including:
Earlier Problem Identification – Kari Boyle, Queen’s University IRC Facilitator writes that workplace conflict can shine a light on deeper problems that need to be addressed. “Even the most seemingly trivial disagreements might stem from underlying issues that, if not addressed, are likely to fester and then explode down the road. Thoughtful managers can watch for patterns in the workplace and engage early with the involved staff before the workplace is disrupted by a full-fledged conflict.”