Conflict is about surfacing differences and doesn’t imply confrontation, argument or hostile debate. Creative conflict is the passionate surfacing of differences in a space of shared respect. If differences are ignored or discounted, all is ultimately lost. Creative conflict requires the strength and courage stay with the differences until something new emerges.
What you can do to encourage creative conflict?
Seek to deeply understand the other person’s perspective.
Say, “Help me understand what led you to that conclusion.”
Accept that what another person is saying is true and real for them.
Use any reactivity on your part as a signal to get curious about your assumptions.
Seek to stay present and connected even while disagreeing.
Acknowledge the other person or persons.
You can acknowledge others’ feelings without feeling the same way.
You can acknowledge others’ desires without agreeing to meet them.
You can understand without agreeing.
State your position.
Speak your truth without holding it as the truth.
Share the thinking, feeling and beliefs that underlie your position.
Invite inquiry by asking, “What do you see that I am missing?”
Be open to input.
Avoid premature closure.
Avoid the temptation to go for a safe zone of generalities or pseudo-agreement.
More can be gained by going deeper into understanding of the differences.
Staying with differences kindles inspired ideas and actions
Staying with differences strengthens relationships.
Allow something new to emerge.
Listen for new possibilities emerging within the group or within you.
Step back and observe the process from various perspectives.
Consider offering the group any new awareness.