I hate conflict as much as anyone else, it’s exhausting and a distraction. But in The Advantage, Lencioni addresses why healthy conflict on your leadership team is actually beneficial for your business.
I don’t know about you, but if I ever hear a couple say they never have an argument then I immediately think, “Uh oh, their relationship is in trouble.” The same is true in your hospital. If you do not allow your team to experience conflict, you are in trouble. It is normal to have conflict on a team, but it needs to be healthy and constructive.
The exception to this rule is when there is no trust within the leadership team. There must be trust before conflict because without trust, the conflict will turn ugly pretty quickly. Instead of conflict being focused on issues and constructive resolution, it can become personal, and this is unhealthy conflict.
We must realize and accept that conflict can be uncomfortable. Not only is this okay, but it’s a necessary part of the process. You cannot run from this discomfort and expect your conflict to be healthy. “Overcoming the tendency to run from discomfort is one of the most important requirements for any leadership team-in fact for any leader.”
Conflict avoidance is a pitfall that affects so many businesses. When a leadership team embraces the habit of avoiding conflict it then filters down into the rest of the hospital as well. “When people fail to be honest with one another about an issue they disagree on, their disagreement around that issue festers and ferments over time until it transforms into frustration around that person.” Take a minute and let that quote sink in.
We must all remember that sometimes conflict might start crossing a line. We need to accept this and learn to manage it in a healthy manner. This, however, should be the exception not the rule.
In The Advantage, Lencioni discusses tools you can use to help bring some healthy conflict to your discussions, but remember, without first establishing trust, your leadership team will never be able to have healthy conflict.
Do you have healthy conflict within your leadership team? Do you agree that some conflict can actually strengthen your team?