Conflicts in teamwork, a well spring for innovation and creativity

When it comes to business, it is hard to deny that relationships are a matter of prime importance. No one can doubt it. Human-beings are complex and relationships between each member of the teamwork may be explosive as well as harmonious. In their article published in the Harvard Business Review, Darko Lovric and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic explain that too much team harmony can kill creativity. How come it be possible then?

Some experts showed that having harmony team down was good for creativity. Indeed, tension and disagreement are a wellspring for creativity at work. Thus, decide to create a pressure yet encouraging and caring atmosphere is good for the enterprise:  establishing a community in which discussions and feedbacks are open and usual is essential.

 The two authors think that too much harmony in a team lead to inaction and to complacency. On the contrary, having bold goals and tension in a team allow each member of the community to improve itself daily, but most important of all, it will motivate them to work hard so as to achieve their goals. Indeed, when two people negotiate views or discuss with the other, innovative ideas follow: according to the author, it is a key point in a company to create innovation in the team. They suggest then 3 main points which will help start-ups to reach this goal.

First, having bold goals. Indeed, demanding high goals is a way to create motivation among the team and to improve the skills of every one. Then, the leader has to maintain positive stress which will sustain an appetite for challenge in the team. Finally, the leader has a paramount role to the extent that he has to trigger conflict and adversity. He has to speak truthfully and he has to go with his team in order to provoke collective purposes and creative innovation. Indeed, Innovation and creativity do not come from a sort of individual burst of inspiration but they are the fruit of a teamwork. As a result, depicting conflicts as detrimental to a firm is completely inappropriate. In fact, conflicts have a beneficial effect on the team in the sense that it prevents teams to develop a groupthink (which is not source of inspiration). Most important maybe, conflicts lead to better decisions-making and also acceptance of them.

Then the leader has to do management conflict, that is to say he has to limit the negative aspects of conflict and at the same time boost its positive aspects.

Overall it would seem that maintaining conflicts create:

  • Self-discipline
  • Profusion thinking
  • Constructive interpersonal Interaction
  • Team collaboration
  • Innovation and creativity

Conflicts in a work team is the best solution to motivate each member of the team to do always better and to enhance his capability. The problem is that managers are often told to downplay conflicts in their team. They prefer favoring team harmony because many thinks that conflicts are destructive for creativity. However conflicts turn out to be healthy for the enterprise and its success. If everyone always agrees with everyone, then there is no innovation, no discussion and no debates. What is interesting in conflicts is the fact that ideas are challenged and discussed, thus the decisions taken are more efficient. A synergy is then created in the group. Working on the assumption that conflicts hamper team work is wrong. If the conflicts are used on their positive aspects, they can bring many positive aspects to the enterprise.

To conclude this short presentation, we can then keep in mind that a smallest amount of conflict is required in a team in order to enhance everyone skills, capability, self-judgment, but it also enable team creativity to be boosted and heightened.

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