In the book The Captain Class by Sam Walker, the author studied athletic teams from all the world that established a record of success over a long period of time.
The primary distinguishing factor for the most successful teams was the captain who led them. In most cases, these captains aren’t the most talented or charismatic. They don’t give speeches. They serve their team. Hold teammates accountable. Work harder than most. Are crazy competitive and do whatever is necessary to win. Not the superhero captain. Decidedly lower key.
One of the other things they do successfully is set conflict in the proper context. They make conflict task oriented as compared to personal.
On teams, personal conflict is toxic. Divisions occur. One side is pitted against the other. Trust erodes.
Great leaders make the problem the task. They insist on getting the facts on the table. They confront personal attacks and their attackers. They make sure the problems are defined and there is common understanding of the issues. They courageously discuss the hard topics. Their handling of the issues demonstrates to all that such processing will improve the team.
This approach cultivates trust. It creates a greater likelihood that difficult issues will more readily be raised. Teams with this kind of leadership become better problem solvers.
What typifies your conflict style? If it’s personal it’s likely destructive. Reframing it as a task is more constructive.
PalletOne CEO Howe Wallace
Since 2005, he has been sharing his thoughts on the organization, leadership, and communication in an online daily note to teammates called Daily with HQ.