You walk into the team room.
Tensions are high, disagreements are many, and the path forward is unclear.
Team members ask tough questions to each other. Focus is on the problem, not the person. There are no personal attacks.
The team notices you and stops.
You are faced with choices:
1. Stop the conflict, and encourage agreement.
2. Add your opinion and join the discussion.
3. Ask a hard question, to turn up the heat.
Coaching has a soft reputation.
But coach-like leaders choose the hard options.
They help dial up conflict, provoking deeper disagreements.
They help detonate the conflict bomb.
A better solution and deeper relationships.
This is conflict at its best. Intense, constructive, and focused on the task, not the person.
This is a sign of a high-performing team.
There is an important detail missing in this story. The "when"
This team is engaged in conflict at a safe time, whilst planning their next deliverable.
What would happen if the team engaged in this conflict the day before a big project deadline?
The pressure will likely lead to unskillful conflict. Potential falling into personal attacks.
The fallout. Confusion and damaged relationships.
Knowing when to dial up conflict is a key leadership skill.
"On match day, composure is needed more than conflict."
- Eddie Jones - Leadership
Find space to detonate the conflict bomb, safely.
Your business and relationship outcomes will improve.