Create conflict to boost production
Recognise the importance to create conflict for the benefit of your business. To enhance and boost performance, manager’s need to be challenged to be innovative and to problem solve. This challenge needs to come from within the business, with all managers challenging those that under deliver their commitments.
Create conflict to boost production? Everything we read suggests conflict is a thing and we need techniques on how to reduce it or eliminate it. However, if we did eliminate it, would the ‘harmonious’ work atmosphere boost production? I would suggest not!
At best a business is likely to stagnate, at worst, it will end up in liquidation. Businesses cannot stand still. They constantly need to be innovating, looking for new income streams and controlling costs. Additionally, every business is a ‘people business’. Where you get people, you will get some degree of conflict. If we can accept that, then we need to look for ways to harness that conflict for the benefit of the business.
Managers to put the business first
Many managers take pride in running efficient departments and achieving their goals required by the business. What they forget is that they are only one cog in the business wheel. That business wheel will come to a grinding halt if only one wheel stops turning. So it is not enough just to focus on your ‘piece’ of the business that you are responsible for.
If a manager of any department can see that another business department is struggling, then that manager needs to create an atmosphere of challenge and conflict. What is important is that the conflict needs to be for the benefit of the business as opposed to an ‘attack’ on the struggling department that the conflict is aimed.
No knowledge required
The risk is that a manager might not feel qualified to challenge another manager on another business area that they are unfamiliar with. After all, how can a novice challenge an expert on any subject? Well the good news is that you can. This is because you are not challenging the knowledge but challenging the ability or inability to deliver a commitment. Equally, you are not interested in why a manager has failed to deliver a commitment – that is past tense – all that you are interested in is what actions are they going to commit to in order to achieve the goal next time, plus make up the short fall.
All managers should be skilled in problem solving techniques. You could even argue that is the main core of what a manager is. To problem solve you require techniques to promote innovation, combined with the motivation to drive people to look for solutions in preference to procrastinate on the problems. Conflict is a motivation. Without that challenge, managers are unlikely to invest time in innovation and finding new solutions.
The need for respect
Conflict needs to be delivered and received with respect for the person responsible for taking on the challenge. Without respect, bad behaviours such as encouraging failure in other parts of the business to make your own department look better, start to appear – clearly not good for business!
If the conflict can be delivered and received respectively, you enter the problem solving zone, which is the only place where businesses can flourish and grow.
So I would encourage an equal balance of conflict alongside respect. Also remember, the more conflict we have, the more respect is required. Then the business can grow.