Healthy Teams Fight

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Herding Tigers: Be the Leader that Creative People Need

Todd Henry, New York: Portfolio/Penguin (2018)

“Healthy teams fight. Some managers don’t want to accept this principle, because they want everything to be easy and smooth. In truth, without open conflict on the team, you are on the fast track to mediocrity. However, there is an important caveat to this principle: healthy teams fight fair. They have clear rules around how they will handle conflict, and they follow these rules in the interest of both the work and one another.

Great leaders embrace healthy conflict and use it to sharpen the team, whereas poor leaders try to prematurely resolve it.

Rules for Fighting Fair:

    1. Fight over ideas, not over personality. Personal conflict can be the death of a team, and it’s your job as the leader to ensure that everyone is fighting for something, not someone.
    2. Find the merits, don’t just destroy. The quality of the ideas matter less to your long-term team dynamic that what you do with them when they arise. You don’t have to celebrate bad ideas, but you do have to have some rules about how they are handled so that you don’t squash the team’s morale.
    3. Agree on your common objectives from the start. From the very beginning of an argument, the entire team should agree that the ultimate success of the project trumps everyone’s personal stake. Team members must commit to get behind whichever idea comes out on top, even if it’s not their own (p. 346-350).”

Herding Tigers is available from the OSU Leadership Center.

Learn how the Ohio State University Leadership Center is inspiring others to take a leadership role that empowers the world at the OSU Leadership Center website.

    1. Fight over ideas, not over personality. Personal conflict can be the death of a team, and it’s your job as the leader to ensure that everyone is fighting for something, not someone.
    2. Find the merits, don’t just destroy. The quality of the ideas matter less to your long-term team dynamic that what you do with them when they arise. You don’t have to celebrate bad ideas, but you do have to have some rules about how they are handled so that you don’t squash the team’s morale.
    3. Agree on your common objectives from the start. From the very beginning of an argument, the entire team should agree that the ultimate success of the project trumps everyone’s personal stake. Team members must commit to get behind whichever idea comes out on top, even if it’s not their own (p. 346-350).”

Herding Tigers is available from the OSU Leadership Center.

Learn how the Ohio State University Leadership Center is inspiring others to take a leadership role that empowers the world at the OSU Leadership Center website.

Jim Canterucci

I don't know everything. But I want to. The focus of our firm, Transition Management Advisors, is to develop leadership capabilities to create a championship culture, generate innovation, and successfully lead the resulting changes.

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On May 6, 2019
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