The following is a guest piece by HBR columnist (and fellow Canadian) Liane Davey.
I am a strong believer that the scarcity of high performing teams is due to our inability and unwillingness to engage in productive conflict. Often, the problem is too little conflict: teams filled with passive-aggressive members who would rather take their gripes underground. Sometimes, the problem is a dysfunctional or even vicious group who spend all their energy going back and forth instead of moving forward.
So if no conflict is a sure path to oblivion, but too much conflict is equally risky, how do we avoid going from ditch to ditch and instead find a path to productive conflict somewhere in the middle? The secret lies in changing your assumptions.
First, let’s start with a little experiment. Imagine the person on your team who rubs you the wrong way. This is someone you just don’t see eye-to-eye with. Somehow all of your interactions with this person are tense and uncomfortable—even over the most innocuous thing. Can you picture that person? Now I want you to imagine receiving this email from them… Click here to continue reading »