Now more than ever we need conflict in teams.

Good and bad ideas alike, tossed around, embraced, debated, built upon and re-formed resulting in an idea, concept or solution that no individual could have come up with.

This is the essential ingredient of innovation. The ability to invite and manage conflict well, to tap into and embrace diverse thinking, is a mark of a thriving team. Individuals create organisations but it is teams that sustain them.

This is because no single individual has the answers to the complex problems facing us and our ability to collaborate effectively, revealing and harvesting our diversity, is the only way forward. The alternative is staying stuck in today and ultimately becoming irrelevant.

Continuing to replicate the past by sustaining the status quo, will not create the fresh thinking, creativity and new ideas needed to thrive in our increasingly ambiguous environment.

Here are 5 steps to invite creative conflict into your teams:

  1. Keep it objective, it’s about the issue not the person
  2. Start with the end in mind, align early on a good outcome
  3. Ensure equal voice, make sure all team members have equal air time, surface the gold of the quiet achievers
  4. Focus on strengths, know what is working well, individually and collectively and do more of that
  5. Use questions rather than statements, prioritise curiosity over judgement

Start small and aim to build the habit, stepping into the discomfort of difference requires persistence and a clear view of a good outcome and as is the case in building any new skill there is no substitute for practice, practice, practice.

If you’d like to know more about how to do generate this type of constructive innovation in a way that strengthens everyone in your team, click here to let us know.