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Leaders: Why You Must Create Conflict

The key to leading a great team is in the dreaded disagreement.

by Mary Osgood, Senior Partner


When you think of the word ‘conflict’, what comes to mind? Arguing? Anger? Gossiping? Defensiveness? Negative words?


We define conflict as a difference of opinions involving strong emotions. It can range from brief, explosive disputes or subtle, long-lasting issues. It is often considered taboo...especially at work. Team members may spend inordinate amounts of time and energy trying to avoid it, when in fact, evasion of conflict is detrimental to team cohesiveness and productivity.


There are side effects to avoiding the argument. When teams don't discuss different or opposing opinions, members feel disconnected and refrain from asking questions. They are unlikely to share ideas and opinions - thus they remain a group of individual contributors (as opposed to a true team). This behavior impacts not just the emotional health of the team, but also your bottom line, as members may have difficulty achieving the team’s goals.


The good news is while conflict can be uncomfortable, it is a natural and inevitable part of team productivity. Even better, spirited and passionate debates are essential to being a GREAT team. Teams willing to eliminate destructive conflict behaviors and engage in productive conflict resolve issues quickly and create the best possible solutions in the shortest period of time.


This is why you, as the Leader, MUST lead your team into Productive Conflict on a regular basis.


What is Productive Conflict? Productive Conflict is debate that is focused on concepts and ideas and avoids mean-spirited, personal attacks. It is not negative; rather, it moves issues forward. And the truth is we are all guilty of destructive conflict behaviors, such as anger, sarcasm, gossiping, defensiveness, passive aggression and many others. Furthermore, our natural destructive conflict behaviors are closely tied to our DiSC style. But many times, we’re not even aware our behavior is destructive - because “that’s just the way I am!”


So as a Leader, how might you develop team members to embrace this positive type of conflict? How might you create a habit of disagreement in your meetings so team members actually enjoy this type of discussion, and seek it out? We can help!


Engage your team in the Productive Conflict DiSC profile. Help your team learn and apply new behaviors when disagreeing, debating or in conflict. You’ll find this profile report and workshop experience will help you and your team members.

  • Understand their approach and natural tendencies when experiencing conflict.

  • Develop positive and productive behaviors when engaging in conflict. These are customized for each person, based on their DiSC style.

  • Learn what triggers each individual’s destructive conflict behaviors and how to replace them with one or more of the 12 Productive Conflict behaviors before escalation occurs (also customized).

  • Understand differences in other people’s DiSC behavior during conflict, and create productive outcomes.


Productive Conflict is key to transforming uncomfortable encounters into successful results.


Have you taken the new Everything DiSC Productive Conflict survey? Our February ‘Deal of the Month’ is 20% off all Productive Conflict orders. Book your session today or reach out to us to learn more! Offer good until February 28th.

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Join the community of organizations who have built their leaders, teams, employees with FOCUS tools. 

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