A different point of view can spark new ideas.
At the most basic level, just the discovery of a different point of view can enable us to see something that had not occurred to us individually. In fact, innovation and collaboration require that people be able to work together productively, making conflict management a core competency for all employees, especially those in management positions.
When we communicate skillfully about our differences, we generate positive developments for the group, succeeding beyond individual boundaries.* In fact, effective communication in the workplace is a means to achieve success, not an end in itself. It is a win/win proposition.
Through sharing ideas openly, focused on what a person says – not on his or her personality – we generate fewer problems and greater benefits than any one of our preferences might have produced on its own.
The ability to argue constructively allows people from widely varying perspectives to work together well. And that is why we help clients learn, practise and master the skills that lead to creative abrasion and fruitful dissent.
*For full description, see creative abrasion in “Putting Your Company’s Whole Brain to Work”, Dorothy Leonard and Susaan Straus; Harvard Business Review, July-August 1997.
Copyright(c) 2015 Carol J. Sutton Cert.ConRes.