Conflict is often viewed as one of the biggest roadblocks to achieving a shared goal. There are many instances in which it can bog down or completely derail a project from reaching completion. However, consultant Lina M. Echeverria, author of Idea Agent: Leadership that Liberates Creativity and Accelerates Innovation, argues that there is a hidden benefit to conflict: it can help your team achieve creative breakthroughs.
In a recent Soundview Author Insight interview, Echeverria addressed the concerns leaders have about conflict:
Conflict is one of the things that scares most leaders because it doesn’t feel good. We have always been conditioned from early childhood not to fight. Be good. Be nice. And it is not about encouraging fighting; it is about encouraging dialogue. It is about encouraging the ability to disagree, to give other viewpoints and engage in a dialogue. But as I say, it really feels in the pit of your stomach like, “Ugh, I don’t want to be here.” So, what it takes first is a lot of courage once you have come to the realization that that conflict is an essential part of the creative process.
It is an essential part because people that are creative, that have a really good idea that others have not seen, are driven by this vision. And this vision can be very, very powerful and they’re not going to stop because of any barriers until they achieve the mission.
So, when those viewpoints come from a different angle, you could have a lot of passion, each [person] pulling in a different direction or let’s say, pushing towards the center and trying to make [his or her idea] happen. So, what is needed is to bring them to the team. Have them understand that theirs is not the only way and that they need to learn to respect others while at the same time, helping them understand how their behavior can impact the dynamics of the team and can push others down.
Soundview subscribers can login to their online library to hear the complete interview with Echeverria. The Soundview Executive Book Summary of Idea Agent is available for download now.