Next time you overhear a work-related disagreement among staffers, don’t be too quick to jump in and mediate.
Reason: Occasional conflict can be a great problem-solving tool (so long as it’s not personal infighting).
Why don’t many companies figure out they have big problems on their hands until it’s nearly too late to fix?
More often than not, it’s because someone didn’t question the powers that be early on.
Too many companies send the message (knowingly or not) that’s it better to get along and not muddy the waters. In other words, don’t speak out once others have decided on a course of action.
How disagreements can pay off
Here’s a common scenario: One or two staffers think they know a better way to handle a problem or streamline a process.
They may not have support from others. Doesn’t mean they aren’t right though.
And if they’re right, everyone benefits.
So even if you’re not on board and there’s resistance from others, it’s not a bad idea to have the debate. Maybe it’s something you put to bed for a few days and revisit when the dissenter’s done more research.
Follow these four steps to keep the debate from turning into a quarrel:
- Give all sides a chance to make their point without interrupting. Let others know they’ll get a chance to offer their opinion, if necessary.
- Praise staffers who take a different stand. Most people don’t like to go against the pack.
- If an idea has merit, don’t dismiss it. Sleep on it first – your staffers will appreciate it.