Often times when we hear the word conflict we think of war, after school fights, marital disagreements etc… I would bet that each of these images conjures up a negative perception about conflict in your mind.
However, is conflict really a bad thing? No, not if it is healthy. Team leaders should not only allow conflict, but they should encourage it. That's right, encourage it. The best teams engage in healthy productive conflict regularly. It increases the team's efficiency in meetings and ensures that all thoughts, ideas and feelings have been laid out on the table. It prevents teams from circling back in meetings to the same issues over and over again.
But one word of caution, healthy conflict is focused on issues, it is task oriented. Any other types of conflict not focused on issues and tasks will erode trust and have the opposite effect.