I was speaking to a new client the other day. I am going to do some work their team who have been through a lot of change in the last twelve months.
My client asked, “how can I promote your business to my team? You have ‘conflict’ in your title. They’ll think we have a problem.”
I said, “you work in an area where there is lots of conflict. Good healthy conflict. It’s important that your staff disagree and debate and care deeply about the best way forward to deal with the issue at hand.”
Conflict is normal, inevitable and an important part of a healthy relationship. We are not robots.
Conflict ensures that we, as a society, are creative and innovative. Conflict occurs when we need to challenge behaviour that needs to be challenged.
I told my client that learning how to manage conflict does not mean you have a problem with conflict; it means that you respect how important conflict is to your organisation. That you understand and respect that in order to get the most of out of your fantastic employees, there needs to be rules and boundaries about how you conduct those robust discussions, knowing that they might get heated from time to time.
You need to know how you work as a team. You need to know each other well and high levels of trust. You need to know what respect looks like to you as a team. You need to have some rules about how you move forward when there are high levels of disagreement about a particular issue.
To get the most out of your team, to have a team that flourishes and creates outcomes that are greater than the sum of their parts; then you have to manage conflict and you have to manage it well.