The Good Fight: How to Grow Healthy Companies Through Conflict
“Healthy divergence exhibits two telltale traits: It emerges from a climate of trust and it is reinforced from the top.
First and foremost, a good leader will recognize when his or her company is wrought with artificial harmony. Are people holding back ideas or criticisms due to fear? Are they nodding yes during the meeting, then back-channeling to vent frustrations and concerns after the fact? Are they more concerned with job security than innovation? If so, then your organization needs a trust adjustment.
… toward healthy internal conflict. How, you ask?
- Establish this simple meeting norm: Silence = disagreement. If a team member is silent, call him out to air his concerns right then and there.
- Question the idea; don’t criticize the person. Keep conflict from getting personal.
- Don’t leave the meeting without a unified pact to work together toward a goal. Not everyone will agree on the goal, but they all must agree to work toward it wholeheartedly.
- If someone comes knocking to air a grievance after the meeting, refuse to engage in back channeling. Shut down passive-aggressive tendencies but be certain to address valid concerns with the whole group out in the open.”