Business Magazine

How To Generate Productive Conflict at Work

By Shrinkingthecamel

How To Generate Productive Conflict at WorkMy colleagues and I are trying to generate more conflict in our meetings at work.

Some of us executives have been reading “Death by Meeting,” by Patrick Lencioni. He promotes, among other things, healthy drama as the starring attraction of your meetings.

Conflict is good, he says, because it forces people to get beyond surface-level platitudes and head nodding – which of course leads to head-bobbing and drooping eyelids. Instead, conflict can get team members engaged by digging deep into the heart of an issue and voicing their passionate opinions.  

And he’s right. Bringing up differing points of view can be extremely valuable to the overall outcome of a meeting. If you disagree, or think the idea being presented is stupid, why not say something?

Conflict simply leads to better decisions.

According to a survey by OfficeTeam, managers think that 28% of their meetings are a complete waste of time. But what do you expect when folks are assembling in limp heaps around conference tables, only to listen passively to what’s being presented without voicing their true opinions? It’s usually after the meeting’s over when the real opinions start coming out, with end runs and gossipy closed-door office conversations.

There is a healthy way to go about generating productive conflict.

Robin Democoni, Sr Vice President and Brand Manager for Elle Group, was featured in the Corner Office segment of the New York Times Sunday business section last week, and has her own take on how to generate healthy dialogue.

“You can say anything to anyone, as long as you say it the right way,” she says.

The ‘right way,’ of course being the operative words here. She calls it MRI, or “most respectful interpretation.”

Robin encourages people to challenge her, to be passionate about their ideas, but to couch their alternate opinions in a respectful way.  She gives an example:

“Maybe you need to preface it with: ‘I’m just curious, and I want to understand what you’re saying better. Right now, my point of view is quite different. So can you help me understand why you don’t want to do this, or why you wanted to do this?’”

Now, that doesn’t sound like negative, bullying destructive talk, does it? She continues by saying,

“If you get people talking and challenging each other, you’re going to have the ability to arrive at the right decision so much quicker and so much easier.”

Robin, I couldn’t agree with you more.  Honest.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • How to Succeed With Today’s Empowered Customers

    Succeed With Today’s Empowered Customers

    You can’t succeed in your new startup if you can’t win customers, and the new Internet-empowered customers are tough. They are in control, and they no longer... Read more

    By  Martin Zwilling
    BUSINESS
  • How to Dress Classy at Work

    Dress Classy Work

    Not sure what to wear to work? I recently did a guest post on i love mondays on how to dress classy at work that I wanted to share with you today. Enjoy! Read more

    By  Classycareergirl
    BUSINESS, CAREER, FASHION, LIFESTYLE
  • A More Productive Work Week

    More Productive Work Week

    Who doesn’t want a 4 hour work week? I think the possibility of only working 4 hours a week is probably not possible for most people but there are a lot of grea... Read more

    By  Classycareergirl
    BUSINESS, CAREER, FASHION, LIFESTYLE
  • How to Find People to Network With

    Find People Network With

    Do you have a goal to meet new people but don't know where to find professionals to network with? One reader recently emailed me this question: I hear about... Read more

    By  Classycareergirl
    BUSINESS, CAREER, LIFESTYLE
  • How To Lame It Up

    I try to avoid rants railing on work that's out there, but this one particularly rubbed me the wrong way. I would vote for the following story as one of the... Read more

    By  Happygrc
    BUSINESS, MARKETING & ADVERTISING
  • How to Recognize Dysfunctional Startup Leadership

    Recognize Dysfunctional Startup Leadership

    Founders almost always cite lack of money as the reason for failure, but if you look deeper, I believe the reason is more often about dysfunctional people and... Read more

    By  Martin Zwilling
    BUSINESS, CAREER
  • How to Deal with Stress Today?

    “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up” (Proverbs 12:25, NIV). Over the years, I have experienced a variety of stress types, and... Read more

    By  Rachel
    BODY, MIND, SPIRIT, SPIRITUALITY