Mine for Conflicts

If you want engaging meetings in which people are committed – you need to monitor and mine for conflicts between them.

Conflict means two or more points of view on the same thing. They don’t have to be negative. Conflicts are inevitable. Moreover, conflicts are good. If you keep it as a healthy debate. Healthy conflicts are necessary if you want to have a high-performing team. Because thanks to them new solutions are discovered, new ideas are born and the status quo is challenged. The collision of different points of view stimulates creativity, energizes people, and helps build strong human connections between them.

Unfiltered conflict is one of the indicators of an effective team meeting – everyone says what they think, there is a high level of trust, and there is drama.

Drama is not a negative thing either. Drama means – excitement, high emotions, interest, and attention.

Be mindful and aware that it is necessary not only to mine for conflicts but also to manage them well so that the drama stays in the room and there is no negative tension between people after the debate is over.

Mining for conflicts is also a belonging cue that you send to people on your team. Belonging cues are a tool for any leader who wants to show their people they are part of one and they are safe.


Pay attention to non-verbal signals


Look out for people reacting with their body language and then not saying anything. You can ask them to share their thoughts.

To read properly the signals you need to know 2 important principles:

First, how you recognize them is important. If you take the signals individually there is a chance of misinterpreting them, so it is very important to observe several signals TOGETHER.
And the second important principle is when to recognize them – when there is a CHANGE in a person’s behavior.


Label the condition of the person


Make verbal observations of the other person’s emotions.

You: “John, it seems like you disagree with the idea.”
John: “I’m just concerned with the time needed to execute it.”

You can read about the labeling technique and what are the possible pitfalls.


Invite everyone’s opinion


Invite people to add more on the subject or to disagree with what’s been said.

Divide the team into smaller groups to discuss. In this way, it will be safer for your more closed people to share.
 You can use this 1-2-4-All approach.


Welcome different opinions


If you have a person who thinks differently – that does not make them the “black sheep”. You have a valuable resource that your team should use. Welcome them. This reassures people on the team that it’s okay to speak their minds.

Sara: “The time needed for execution is not our biggest problem.”
You: “Okay, Sara. Tell me more. What do you think exactly?”


Set the “stage” for conflict


At the beginning of the meeting, you can agree on the rules for it. Such as having a rule that everyone’s opinion should be heard before the meeting ends.

At the beginning of the meeting, you might announce that you expect the topic to be controversial and that you encourage debate on the topic and challenge each other.


To summarize:

Conflict is good if you keep it as a healthy debate – without personal attacks and without negative tension when the dispute ends.

Conflicts lead to more drama in the meeting which makes it interesting, productive, stimulates creativity, and brings energy. Mine for conflicts and bring disagreements out into the open so they don’t grow into feelings of dissatisfaction among your people and bigger problems between them.

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