I’m no stranger to conflict. In fact, unlike some, I don’t shy away from it. The truth of the matter is, conflict can be good. Let that sink in for a minute. Before we go down that path, I’d like to review the two types of conflict that are outlined in the workshop on How To Facilitate Productive Meetings (but don’t get hung-up on the meetings aspect, as these definitions can carry into other parts of your personal and professional lives.)
Cognitive Conflict – This is the GOOD conflict of thoughts, ideas, opinions and perspectives. Think of it as healthy debate.
Affective Conflict – This is the BAD conflict that occurs when things get emotional, or personal.
When in meetings, we want to maximize the Cognitive Conflict and minimize the Affective Conflict. It’s even helpful when you can ensure that those you are meeting with understand the difference, including when one crosses the line from Cognitive Conflict to Affective Conflict.
The freedom to disagree is important because some of the best ideas can be an amalgam of differencing opinions. It’s important to seek out the differences of opinion, and create an environment where everyone feels comfortable to contribute. Failure to create an open environment can lead to frustration, or even complete shutdown where participants are unwilling to share alternative points of view.
Creating a safe environment for discussion and sharing ideas can lead to better outcomes in decision making. As a leader, we encourage you to set the tone for sharing and listening to the ideas presented, and foster buy-in within the group.
For more information on Convergency Systems’ Living As A Leader®, Leadership Development System and Series, visit our website at www.convergencysystems.com
Michael Edwards | Online Performance Marketing – Co-Founder