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  • Karen Boylston recommends

ARTICLE: Why Teams Should Argue

Updated: May 1, 2020


In a recent strategy+business article, Adam Kahane observes through his work with a Mexican grassroots organization that a typical weakness among teams is the belief that in order to make progress, we need to ignore, avoid, or smother conflicts—be polite and ignore our differences in order to avoid getting hurt, and making collaboration impossible.

Overlooking the differences in our perspectives, interests, and needs does not make them disappear. It means they will fester and erupt later with greater violence. There is a more productive way to work with a diverse team—and tactics teams can employ to encourage fair, and useful, fighting.

Start with diversity. Rather than working with like-minded colleagues with similar backgrounds and approaches—industry experts with familiar views, we should seek out those with alternative, unfamiliar, even uncomfortable perspectives. By stretching out of our comfort zones and engaging honestly and openly with others who are radically different from us, we can have a fresh view of what we ourselves are doing and therefore what we might need to do differently, avoiding the risk of shared blind spots.

Read more about becoming comfortable with and even seeking out the sort of conflict that differences might provoke so that you can take your team to a more transformative place.

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