I hate conflict as much as anyone else, 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. It is normal to have conflict on a team, but it needs to be healthy and constructive.
The caveat to that is when there is no trust within the leadership team. There must be trust first because without trust, conflict will turn ugly pretty quickly. Instead of the conflict being focused on issues, it can become personal, and this is unhealthy conflict.
The first thing we must realize is conflict can be uncomfortable, and that is okay. “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 another pitfall that affects so many businesses. When this happens within the leadership team, 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 the conflict might start crossing over the line, and we need to accept this and learn to manage it in a healthy manner when it does. 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 trust being established first, 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?