today’s organizational paradigm: conflicts – good or bad

June 1, 2016

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Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors said that hiring people who aren’t like you, is one of the important lesson that they learned while transforming GM.

But, we are comfortable with people just like us. People who aren’t like us, tend to create tension and conflicts. We cringe at conflict, we rather avoid it at all cost. Certainly, conflicts can polarize and divide teams, diverts energy away from productive activities, and often left us without resolution to problems. These are relationship conflicts. For relationship conflicts, team building activities and exercise can help with the lack of trust, and resolve interpersonal differences.

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There are other categories of conflicts, for example task conflicts. Task conflict or cognitive conflict occurs when team members have differing ideas about how to get a job done. Working through task conflict can help team members better understand problems and consider different approaches to accomplishing results. Perhaps, this is what people who aren’t like you means. People who aren’t like you bring new ideas, new perspectives, new way of thinking about the problem, and new solutions. These are the characteristics of creativity and innovation.

Some conflict may not be entirely bad. The difference between innovative and stagnant organizations could be whether they recognize and accept conflicts, and harness the creative energy engendered by such conflicts.

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One Response to “today’s organizational paradigm: conflicts – good or bad”

  1. annalice said

    hmm interesting post, some food for thought!

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