Many managers take issue with employees/constituents who argue. They feel it is threatening, or disrespectful. In addition, many leaders really wish they could move on from the arguments to “the real work” of making deals, or completing projects as they have an aversion to friction. What they miss is that conflict is evidence of people’s engagement and argument is evidence of some measure of commitment. The converse is apathy, and apathy is deadly to an organization.
Good leaders know that healthy, productive conflict, and passionate arguments dig up essential ideas and perspectives that are necessary for the success of an organization. Blind leaders value complacent compliance.
Leaders are most effective when they recognize that conflict is the work, not a hindrance to it. And if managers and leaders can leverage that work to get to the best possible ideas, now you’re on the road toward being an effective leader.
Embrace messy conversations. Abhor silent apathy. Don’t be afraid to dig in the conflict quarry. In it are precious materials that will greatly contribute to the success of your organization.