What did you say? I should want conflict, welcome conflict, even seek it out? Exactly! Why do you want conflict? Here are six good reasons:
- You want people willing to disagree with you. You are not as good, perfect, intelligent, and amazing as you think. I am part of a small group of business men who meet for study and accountability. We ask each other, “How smart are you this week?” Sometimes we feel amazingly smart. Other times we feel entirely defeated and brought back down to earth. Everyone needs someone who is not impressed with you. Get over yourself and learn.
- You want your employees and executives to give honest feedback. I work with companies to create open feedback loops. When the corporate culture invites and welcomes feedback, everyone wins (and improves). Some feedback is trivial, some vital, some stinging. Get over your defensiveness and learn.
- You want people to sharpen you. Iron sharpens iron. I do not know of any kind or gentle way to sharpen an instrument. A grinder sits on my bench in the garage. Sparks fly when I sharpen a tool or knife. Sparks often fly in conflict when we are sharpened. Don’t avoid it. Don’t stop it. Don’t become angry. There is a grain of salt even within the words of our crazy and insane critics. Sparks will fly. Get over it and learn.
- You need a coach. Coaches use many different methods to help you learn. A good coach knows how to coach you. Invite the coaching, even pay him or her. If professional athletes need coaching at elite levels, what makes you think you don’t need one? Coaches will disagree with you, challenge you, probably yell at you. Get over it and learn.
- Good meetings have drama. Drama means conflict. Most people think a good meeting is one without drama. Those are boring and often unproductive meetings. Think about it, what makes a good movie? Drama. The RIGHT kind of drama, the RIGHT kind of conflict, will drive you and your company to push through complacency and safety. Good meetings are filled with people who honestly examine ideas, processes, and decisions. Don’t play it safe. Invite the conflict. Get over the drama and learn from the conflict.
- Conflict brings change. You change. Your marriage changes. Your business changes. With the right conflict, this change is always for the good. You don’t know what you need to change unless someone has the courage to tell you. Your marriage will not change until you understand how YOU need to change, not your spouse. You are not going to change him or her. You can only change you. Your business will change when you listen to feedback from your customers. Nordstroms excels in customer service. They developed a culture of listening and accommodating the customer. They enjoy incredible loyalty. Conflict brought prosperity. Listen to your critics. Turn them into coaches. Change.
Do you want happiness, prosperity, and fullness? Then invite the conflict. Welcome the drama. You will learn, you will change, and you will win.