As a leader, much of the responsibility for creating an environment that fosters productive conflict lies with you.
What can you do?
1. Model Behaviour
Be accountable for your actions. Take responsibility for your decisions and the consequences. Let your willingness to discuss, argue, and compromise demonstrate the kinds of conversations you want to have.
2. Address the Important
It can be tricky to listen for what has not been said. If your team is not talking about obvious challenges or risks, you should initiate conversation. Whatever issues are looming over your team, you have to address.
3. Create Space for Conflict
Good conflict only happens when the people involved feel safe. Encourage your team to voice their opinions. Show them you appreciate divergent views. Remind your team that they have agreed to be accountable for doing the best they possibly can.
When executives engage in productive conflict, they collaborate better and make progress toward goals. Conflict shows passion and commitment, and leads to great innovation. Remember, it takes heat and pressure to make a diamond.