Photo credit: Neal Cooper (CNP Safaris)
One of the myths of leadership, I believe, is the issue of solving conflict/ problems or tensions and if you have the same problems, or if you have tensions over and over again, then you’re not a good leader; clearly then, you’ve got a leadership issue.
The reality, however, is that leaders should know how to leverage those problems and tensions in a way that causes them to never go away, but rather so that they become part of what your team or business need to remain competitive and sustainable.
Andy Stanley shared this view in a series called“ the upside of tension”
As a leader you should...
Understand that your organisation/team has problems that shouldn’t be solved, and tensions that shouldn’t be resolved
For example conflict between marketing and production, mining and engineering, operations and safety, maintenance and quality management. Think about it, it is not about solving it. Resolving it may just create new tensions. What if you opt for excellence at the absence of sound financial principles?
Trying to resolve might create a barrier to progress. Progress depends not on the resolution but on the successful management of those tensions.
In order to distinguish between problems to solve and tensions to manage, ask the following:
- Does this conflict/tension keep resurfacing?
- Are there mature advocates on both sides?
- Are the two sides really interdependent?