Can Disagreement Strengthen a Team?

When you put the same people in the same room day after day, conflict is unavoidable. That can actually be a good thing if you know how to use conflict to your team’s advantage.

One of the biggest rules in business leadership is to embrace the times when teams disagree and use it as a teaching moment that will help everyone involved grow and learn from the experience.

Conflict Creates Opportunity

Whether it’s a chance to learn something new or simply speak your mind, conflict presents unique opportunities in the workplace. When working on a team, people may have different ideas about different problems, giving everyone a chance to see the problem from a different perspective.

It Encourages Creative Problem Solving

Try to see each other’s point of view.

When conflict arises, only strong teams will be able to overcome them without risking the integrity of the team or the project as a whole.

To do this takes a high level of energy, creativity, and strategic thinking so that each person understands the source of the conflict and can conquer it without escalating the issue. When teams learn these skills, they become better at solving problems, even when they aren’t working within their team.

Teams Learn More about Each Other

Keeping ideas to yourself does nothing to help others see things from your point of view. You could have a great solution in mind, but if you’re too scared to participate in conflict, you’ll never see your idea brought to life and your team members may not see you as a contributor to the greater objectives.

Instead, team members should seize the chance to put their best foot forward and get involved in a solution.

Co-Workers Learn to Mediate Disputes on Their Own

If your business leadership team is spending too much time dissolving disputes, it’s time your employees learned how to handle things themselves. Conflict gives them a chance to work through their differences to find an optimal solution, and they should only come to you if they truly can’t figure things out themselves.

What Business Leaders Can Do to Encourage Healthy Workplace Conflict

Not all conflict has to be passive-aggressive or unhealthy. In fact, that’s exactly the type of conflict you don’t want tainting your teams.

That doesn’t mean you should go out of your way to avoid problems that could lead to differences in opinion. Doing so is a disservice to your employees because it robs them of a chance to grow, both professionally and personally.

The best thing business leadership teams can do is simply to encourage participation when conflict arises. Teach active listening skills and how to present ideas without threatening or overpowering others.

Most importantly, focus on the benefits that conflict can bring when presented correctly and how it can help everyone accomplish something far greater than their own agenda. The insights and ideas that arise can become a reward that keeps on giving, both to the employees and the company at large.

For more business leadership insights, head back to our Leadership articles.

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