6 Benefits of Constructive Conflict
March 9, 2012 1 Comment
Conflicts do not always have to be destructive. In fact, in many instances, conflicts are incentives that cause us to take action to accomplish a particular goal. Getting issues out in the open and on the table allows teams to evaluate an issue with more complete information and, in the end, to make a better decision.
Too often teams operate as if they’re in an volunteer organization. You know what I’m talking about; everyone is polite during the meeting but then after the meeting’s over the cliques form to judge what he or she said. “I can’t believe what a stupid idea that was.”
Now why don’t we stop pretending to be polite and have the conflict face to face? Weren’t you taught to attack the process, not the person? Save time, save misunderstandings and ineffective performance by encouraging constructive conflict across your organization. There are many benefits to constructive conflict.
Here’s the list of constructive conflict benefits for you to consider:
1. Increased participation in decision making. When a conflict develops and the result lead to everyone getting involved, it is a good conflict. Get “buy-in” when everyone participates in the decision. Some team leaders will need to draw out quieter voices – know that it’s the leader’s responsibility to facilitate and get enough participation to make a better decision.
2. Better information. When information is shared, and discussion is opened up that result in verifying or clarifying information, it is a good conflict. When everyone on the team knows that his/her opinion is valued and voice will be heard, better information will be offered. Only when the team has a single expert can you allow one voice to be heard.
3. Better choices. When alternative choices become apparent, it is a good conflict. An issue that requires a creative solution can be resolved when more minds are together to think of new solutions. During early stages of brainstorming, resist the urge to edit or limit suggestions. Let the conflict wait on the side until it’s time to move to the next step. The quality of your choices will improve.
4. Reduces anxiety. When it releases negative thoughts, emotions, stress, and anxiety it is a good conflict. The enemy of every company is outside the company. Haven’t you been in discussions when one department group is attacking another department or group. Stop it! Get the groups together and have it out. This is management’s responsibility to address conflicts and
5. Encourages collaboration. When cohesiveness escalates, it is a good conflict. Working toward collaboration is desired in many companies and if the process involves conflict to get there, so be it. Get everyone in the same boat, rowing in the same direction sooner and stop the destructive disagreements when you don’t.
6. Increases understanding. When people grow and are able to apply knowledge they learned from conflicts, it is a good conflict. Haven’t you sat through a heated discussion and learned something new because the truth finally came out? Well, I’m not recommending that you start an argument but to approach encounter with a goal of increasing your understanding of the other point of view. There are plenty of techniques for increasing understanding. Constructive conflict can be a very effective and time saving method.
In summary, don’t be afraid of conflict. Encourage constructive conflict across the teams in your organization. They will enhance their performance. Use constructive conflict to make better decisions, to get better information, to have better choices, to encourage collaboration and to increase understanding.
To find out how Allen Pratt and Hawkeye Consulting Advisors can help facilitate this process for your organization, phone 630.800.7545 or email Allen@HawkeyeConsultingAdvisors.com.
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Will you refer me? If Yes, please do. If No, please call; I’d love to know why – you know its constructive conflict.