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The Good Fight

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The Good Fight

Use Productive Conflict to Get Your Team and Organization Back on Track

Page Two,

15 min read
8 take-aways
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Conflict is good for your team – if you can learn how to use it productively.

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People tend to want to avoid conflict, but business strategist Liane Davey calls on leaders to foster more – not less – dissent within their teams. She believes conflict has many benefits, like fostering healthy relationships and inspiring higher levels of performance. By contrast, avoiding conflict accumulates “conflict debt,” which prevents teams from working together effectively. Using a straightforward, clear voice, Davey offers valuable guidance in how to create everyday moments of productive conflict. Her strategies will help you strengthen your problem-solving skills.


Avoiding conflict creates “conflict debt,” which inhibits productivity.

Many people believe conflict is a bad thing, but companies need healthy conflict to function well. Conflict is an essential component of nearly every organizational activity, including strategic planning, product management resource allocation, talent management and product design. People tend to avoid conflict, rather than take the time to explore opposing viewpoints and find resolutions. Organizations create conflict debt when they silence those with opposing views, ignore difficult conversations and stick to topics that feel safe. When conflict debt accumulates, it erodes trust and makes workers feel frustrated and disengaged. Studies reveal employee disengagement is a widespread problem that negatively affects the productive potential of roughly 68% of workers. By ignoring the skeptics within your organization, you also create a culture of cynicism and fail to anticipate risks.

Conflict debt can have other bad effects as well. For example, team leaders have to speak candidly with one another in order to determine which projects to prioritize and which to postpone or stop. When leaders...

About the Author

Liane Davey, is the author of the New York Times bestseller You First. A public speaker and a business strategist, she earned a doctorate in organizational psychology from the University of Waterloo.

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