“There will be highs and lows, but if the leader begins to see prolonged periods when people are unhappy, then there is a need to take steps to deal with the problem, he guides. “Heated debate, reasoned argument and other such forms of conflict – when focused on issues, not personalities – should be encouraged not stifled.”
Too many times in our CEO Chef cooking team buildings have I seen teams start down a path to complete their culinary challenge without seeking the opinion of the entire group. This is perhaps because individuals acquiesced to an authoritative or higher-ranked team member rather than state their own ideas about an alternative approach. Usually, these teams end up with the least attractive buffet item result.
How often do people choose to flee, rather than embrace, conflict?
We’re always taught to seek resolution – be nice, not rock the boat. But, how can we get the best solutions to today’s pressing and urgent problems without some “creative conflict”? If a group comes to consensus too soon, it may sacrifice alternative solutions that can only be uncovered during a time of disagreement.
Here’s how to use conflict and disagreement to your team’s advantage:
- Honor everyone’s opinion – if you respect other’s point of view, they will respect yours.
- Listen – this means totally focusing on what the other person is saying with a clear mind. If you’re not thinking of your own reply, you are open to truly hearing another and establishing mutual understanding.
- Be open – even if you think an idea stinks, think, “What new ideas does this current idea generate?”
- Don’t take it personally – People express their passion in different ways. My New York background comes across very loud and aggressive when I’m charged about a topic. It’s not personal – it’s just who I am.
- Seek consensus after all avenues have been explored – wait until everyone is heard and all issues have been aired before you move towards an agreed course of action.
Viva la difference!