I hate conflict!
I must admit that even after 15 years of corporate and startup experience, confrontations & conflict disturb me, scare me and I go to extraordinary lengths to avoid them. And I am slowly and steadily realising that, that is not the best way to deal with them. As the founder of a venture-funded health-tech startup, I’m now in the unenviable stage of not just managing my own conflicts and confrontations but setting a tone for how conflict is handled within the teams in my small but dynamic organisation!
And here are my 3 Key Learnings from my battles…
1) Conflict clears the air!
Too many people, too many thoughts, suppressed too long, are a perfect recipe for disaster. They will explode one day and the results won’t be pretty. Conflict is like a pressure cooker valve – it releases the tension in small, manageable bursts!
So, don’t be afraid of occasional conflict. Don’t shy away from it. Don’t lose your sense of courtesy and throwing stuff is a strict no-no but don’t be afraid to say what’s on your mind & what you believe in either! You are where you are to add value and you can’t do that if you don’t speak up.
2) Conflict exposes the truth!
When you’re worried, angry, irritated or drunk, the truth emerges. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth! It hurts initially but its cathartic. It cleanses. Unhealthy behaviours stand exposed, boundary lines are drawn and some people retreat licking their wounds, wiser for the same.
3) Conflict is necessary for successful delegation!
Show me a team that works together from day 1 and I’ll show you a liar! Teams are made of people and people think differently. Thinking takes time to align. And in the meantime, people will fight! It’s good actually if you can separate the benefit from the noise. They will fight, they will learn and then they will figure out a way to work together.
If you, as a leader, keep putting yourself in the middle to solve the problem before it escalates to a conflict situation, then they will never work together independently. And you’ll become a nanny. Be a parent, not a nanny!And on that note, let me go find a few fights to pick 🙂