When individuals come together as a team, their differences in values and attitudes can often contribute to the creation of conflict. However, conflict isn’t necessarily destructive; it can be constructive as well.
In fact, constructive conflict can be the item that elevates your team to the next level of productivity and success. Here’s a great article by Amy Gallo on this idea.
Given the many advantages constructive conflict can generate, it pays to jump in and work with your team on how to do this. Try these 4 tips for encouraging constructive conflict on your team.
1. Create a Culture of Acceptance
Before constructive conflict can be used for the greater good, it’s necessary to develop a team culture where trying, not just succeeding are rewarded. Fail fast and learn from it.
2. Seek Conflict
Leaders won’t hear conflict unless they seek it and specifically name it. Constructive conflict is the opposite of YES people. If you are a leader and everyone in the meeting is just nodding their head YES, this means we are not utilizing the team’s strengths. It can be helpful if a 3rd party is named as a dissenter, to get the team going.
3. Organize Practice Brainstorming Sessions
Encourage people to work out of their comfort zone. Be creative and give prizes for the wackiest ideas. Most companies I work with are interested in innovation and growth. You want strong new ideas from your teams.
4. Trust Your Employees
You hired them and they work for you. You do need to monitor this activity but like most skills, when constructive conflict is used and understood, this is a very powerful tool for your team.
My two favorite books on this topic are by Liane Davey, You First: Inspire Your Team to Grow Up, Get Along, and Get Stuff Done and Building Conflict Competent Teams by Craig Runde and Tim Flanagan.
What strategy do you have for constructive conflict?
I’d enjoy hearing your story. Get in touch or comment down below.