I have this need to resolve conflict. It’s my nature. I hear people arguing and I immediately insert myself into the situation, hoping to create a peaceful resolution. You want my attention, pick a fight with someone. I’ll be right over.
To my kids, I am like a Pavlovian dog.
“Where’s dad?” says child one.
“I don’t know,” replies child two. “Let’s yell at each other really loud and find out.”
It’s very frustrating.
Still, I should admit that despite my need for peace (particularly in my home) is the underlying truth that sometimes conflict is good. As humans we need to vent our frustrations or risk delving into destructive behavior. But it’s not just about the emotions, it is simply the fact that conflict, or opposing perspectives, can bring forward the best results. The rub is not that we disagree. it’s the manner in which we transact our disagreements. At times I wonder if we have lost the art of communication, and perhaps understanding, altogether.
At the risk of sounding political, which I understand is truly a risk these days, I want to fess up and simply admit that I worry about our country sometimes. In the past I used to worry about the issues but now it seems silly to worry about topics that get batted around by the same players without any evidence of progress let alone good will. When it comes to the welfare of our nation we can’t seem to take a step forward with any sense of accomplishment. We are plagued by social and economic issues that divide us and we have lost the ability to stand united in a way that lets us find a compromise to move forward, past the conflict and towards progress. Our country, our team, needs to remember that we are always stronger together then divided.
… end of tangent.
Ironically, where I do see teamwork these days is in the trenches of today’s markets. Capitalism has a wonderful way of ferretting out dysfunctional organizations. If you can’t work together you can’t innovate, you can’t serve your customers and you most certainly won’t be able to manage your operations. In my experience, successful companies inherently understand that teamwork is paramount to the company’s future.
So why is it that some company’s find a way to develop teamwork and others fail? There is probably a host of reasons but I tend to think it’s about leadership. In business, executives that understand how to bring people together are worth their weight in gold. Successfully driving an organization towards a common objective is the result of a real understanding of human behavior, organizational structure and communication. I could no doubt point to a number of industrial icons who are notorious for this type of leadership, but I don’t think that’s the point. The point is that in business (and in life) we either succeed together or fail alone.
I have to remember to read this post to my kids…