How to manage conflict with colleagues

There are no innovations without conflicts. Disagreements are an important metric for progress.

It is unfortunate when constructive conflicts are taken personal by some people. This is an emotional reaction that is subconsciously hardwired in most people. But there is a simple solution to avoid such predicaments.

Whether you are a team member or a leader, use these magical words at the beginning of projects:

“Conflicts are an important ingredient for innovation and progress. If I or anybody in the team disagree with anyone, please understand that it is project-centric only. Let us be considerate of this important thought, and have the clarity to NOT take it personally.”

One example of tough conflicts leading to progressive solution, is the relationship between Dr. Alice Stewart and George Neil in 1950’s at Oxford University. They were at logger heads with each other in the lab, and best friends outside. In a research that continued for 25 years, they were successful in proving that X-rays caused cancer to the fetus. Laws were then established to ban X-ray application on pregnant women. – No more resumes, no more job search.
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