Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What is Constructive Conflict?

A reader asked me to define the term, "Constructive Conflict."

(Excerpt from an article by Peter Vadja Ph.D). Link is posted below).

Constructive conflict: being open, allowing, accepting and non-judgmental for "the good of the order."
...focuses on ideas, not personalities.
...allows for disagreement
...follows ground rules for interacting. mutually respectful.
...fosters and encourages divergent and lateral thinking and varied perspectives.
...takes place in a living laboratory where folks are learning how to engage in constructive conflict and learning about themselves in the process. intentional about repairing any damaged relationships that may arise or result from the process. fair where all are heard and all ideas are considered, even though not everyone may be satisfied with ultimate decision. open and transparent.
...holds people accountable for their role in the process.
...supports the process of relationship building and meaningful dialogue

The notion underlying constructive conflict is to create a safe and trusting environment where all are heard in order to enhance the decision-making process and garner buy-in and commitment from the participants for implementing decisions.

Constructive conflict, when implemented appropriately, fosters commitment and collaboration.

Leaders, managers and supervisors would do well to consider constructive conflict as a process to drive change where all parties are "drivers, not passengers".

Excerpted from “Constructive Conflict Benefits” written by Peter Vadja, Ph.D. The entire article can be read here:

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