by Matt Monge
The whole idea of conflict is just weird. None of us really likes having to engage in it, yet most of us probably begrudgingly admit the necessity for it in business and team environments. Whether you’re the leader of a team or you’re a leader that’s a member of a leadership team, the importance of engaging in healthy conflict around ideas remains the same.
There’s a lot that could be said here, and I’d love to get into the psychology — both individual and organizational — at play here, but here are three practical tips to get you started as you look for ways to better “pick fights,” as we Mazumans sometimes say.
1. Look for disagreements.
Be proactive. Be on the lookout for those moments you can tell folks are hedging or dancing. And when you find them, point them out and help each other into the fray. Sometimes groups are so used to overlooking them that they forget what a disagreement actually looks like. And if you don’t see any disagreements — like ever — you can be assured that your team hasn’t yet learned how to be vulnerable with each other. More on this below.
When you’re in a meeting, and you see team members retreat from an appropriate and necessary discussion, coach them in real-time. It’s almost like you’re giving them permission to enter the aforementioned fray. Help them understand that not only is it OK for them to engage in the discussion, it’s actually really important to the team that they do.
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