“I don’t like my new boss,” my friend said a while back over lunch. “We don’t fight enough.”
I was taken a little off-guard by my friend’s comment. He’s a senior executive who had just started reporting to a new CEO. Hey, complaints about new bosses aren’t unusual. But my friend doesn’t seem to be one who picks fights for fun. I was intrigued.
“Listen,” he said, “with our old CEO, we worked through big decisions and had fierce debates. I don’t feel like we’re doing real work if we don’t fight every now and then.”
I think my friend is onto something. Leadership teams ought to be grappling with big issues and tough decisions like where to spend resources, what hill to climb next, and how to get there. If you’re not fighting every now and then, you’re probably lying to each other too much.
So why do some leadership teams either avoid conflict altogether or do themselves huge damage by doing conflict poorly? And what can leaders do to navigate teams through conflict safely and productively?
Lord knows it’s scary to tell the truth, but you’ve got to. I could tell you more, but I thought I’d show you instead… so click here to check out a brief self-guided tour through the Forest of Conflict.
Then think: is it time to pick a good fight?