Why teams that embrace conflict outperform others

game of chessAsk most people what they think is the thing that most often gets in the way of team work and they will probably answer trust.  Trust is definitely the foundation of any high performing team.  Teams that work seamlessly together in energetic pursuit of challenging common goals work hard to build the trust that has individuals prioritizing the team’s goals over their own.

Teams that have built this trust however have first embraced constructive conflict.  They understand that the real gold is only available to teams that celebrate the diversity of perspectives, skills and experiences that each team member brings. These teams recognise that you are in fact only a team when you can leverage this difference. That this is what gives the team the ability to magnify the impact of the individuals in contrast to what any could achieve on their own.

The leaders of these high performing teams know that to create teams that benefit from the exponential performance rewards of great teamwork, their role is to create environments where it’s safe to disagree. These leaders, rather than seeking to build consensus through teams whose behavior, backgrounds and ideas mirror their own, search for the diversity that brings strength through inclusion and leads to the buy-in that sets up sustained positive change.

These are the leaders that invite regular feedback and encourage their team members to do the same.  They don’t wait for the 6 monthly or annual performance reviews but are constantly seeking to know what’s working well and what could be better.  These leaders don’t look in the mirror for affirmation, but rather seek the true mirror of revelation. These leaders know that real leadership is enabling each member of their team to be the best they can be and that by doing this they will enable a high performing team.

Jill Arkell

Jill Arkell

Focus: Jill is a team coach creating collaborative workplaces. She works with leaders to turn individuals into teams to get results faster. Through team coaching Jill brings clarity to purpose and task, creating trust and shifting behaviours from ‘I’ to ‘We’ to create mutual accountability.

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