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How to encourage healthy conflict on your team

As a leader, do you try to avoid conflict?

Perhaps it’s because conflict makes you uncomfortable or you want to protect other people from being uncomfortable.

If so, you are not alone. This is a common response to conflict BUT one that is not necessarily good for your team!

I’m going to say something controversial.

Conflict is a good for teams!!

Or let me be more specific…healthy conflict is good for teams.

Any leader who avoids a healthy debate or even a heated discussion is actually diminishing the trust on their team.

Try to avoid this common response to conflict: “This debate is going nowhere, I’m out of here”.

Rather, to really get buy-in and encourage accountability and commitment on your team, here is a more effective response for you: “This is great. This debate you are having is exactly what we need.”

Lean-in to the debate. Let it take its course.

People need to be reminded in real time that it serves your team to be engaged in conflict.

By encouraging healthy conflict, you are not violating anything or anyone.

Rather you are promoting a safe space to share ideas and discuss differences of opinions without the people on your team feeling threatened or undermined.

To ensure a safe space, make sure the debate is limited to concepts and ideas. If the conversation gets personal or is about other people and their flaws, this is then heading into an “unhealthy” space

Take a minute to watch the video below. You’ll learn several practical strategies to run a meeting that encourages “healthy conflict”.

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World. Order your copy here.

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