Facts on Conflict: Teams that have task-related conflict perform higher than teams with no conflict. Teams with relationship-related conflict perform lower than both of the teams above.
If you have a team with relationship-related conflict, your job as a leader is to fix it. How to fix relational issues in the workplace? Start with helping people understanding themselves first.
Judgement vs feedback is the biggest relational issue trigger.
I go into detail about this in my book Stone Heart Light Heart. Distinguishing the difference between judgment (either accepting the judgment of others or inflicting judgment onto others) and feedback is critical in building a high-performing team where all have first mastered themselves. How can you master a team through leadership if you haven't yet mastered yourself?
How can you help your team take feedback or engage with conflict without taking it as a personal judgement?
Being detached from people’s judgments and letting go of the need for validation doesn’t mean refusing meaningful and constructive feedback. Having the tools to be able to have a challenging conversation, without judgment or ego, in which you can meaningfully contribute to the pool of shared understanding and take feedback in a way that empowers you to grow, is crucial.
So why do we end up in angry or upset arguments when we actually just wanted to deal with something important? We have our ego to thank. Can you engage in a task-related conflict without letting your ego get in the way? Most people can’t unless they feel that they are in a safe space where feedback or disagreement isn’t filled with judgment. If the participants don’t feel safe, they will go into a state of violence (fight) or silence (flight, freeze).
Coming back to my initial comments on teams... If you want a high performing team, you have to teach them to master their emotions or all conflicts will be relationship-based not task-based and your team performance will dip.
The giving and receiving of criticism can trigger a relationship-related conflict.
The question is:
how do I take positive/negative/constructive feedback in a situation that may awaken my ego and not my higher awareness?
And how do I take feedback that may be positive but judgmental? How do I accept feedback even if I feel it’s a judgment?
Thank the person for the feedback, and have the courage to try it on. Experiment with the feedback. See if it fits you.
Pick away at the judgment and see if there’s any gold in it. Search for the truth and the lesson in it. Some feedback might be rubbish, but some might hold a glimmer of truth.
As adults, we can learn through awareness of our own behaviours. Later on, I will talk about looking in the mirror and seeing the truth.