Healthy conflict. Dialogue. Debate. Too often teams avoid it.
Here are three reasons.
1. Organizations are overly focused on efficiency - through Lean initiatives, process improvement, time management, you name it. The problem is that innovation and creativity are a direct result of healthy conflict, and healthy conflict takes time. In their efforts to streamline their work, organizations too often gloss over conflict because "it takes too long." And in the end, when people lack buy-in and commitment and revisit decisions over and over again, they end up losing efficiency instead of gaining it.
2. The second reason conflict doesn’t happen is a tendency of some people to avoid the uncomfortable. It might be your personality preference to let things simmer under the surface. It might be a lack of knowledge on how to approach the conversation constructively. It might be your need to be accepted.
3. The third reason conflict is often avoided is because it's seen as taboo by the corporate culture. This usually stems from senior leaders not being open to having their ideas chalenged. You might even notice with these senior leaders that their jokes are funnier than anyone elses or their insights brighter. In these cultures it's harder to hear the truth the higher you rise in the organization.
So, why do people in your organization avoid conflict?
Are they overly focused on efficiency that it stiffles good debate?
Are they overly concerned about being accepted?
Do they have the skills to have the difficult conversations?
Are they stiffled by the corporate culture?
Perhaps it's time to hear the truth.