Unlocking a group intelligence that is greater than your own will always enhance the creative potential of your business. By keeping issues and possibilities open as long as possible—accepting disagreement and discontent—you have greater access to innovation and success.
Some business leaders are afraid of conflicts and disputes. They shy away from acknowledging and channeling valuable input from team members, because they are not skilled at handling disagreements. As a result, they forfeit the creative energy that is available when constructive discontent is valued and put to use in ways that can transform a business. High-level cooperation can emerge naturally, even when many independent-minded team members are in far-flung places with no dominating central authority.
As an owner or manager, your team looks to you to channel differing ideas, opinions and feelings into transformative actions. Like any business skill, constructive discontent grows stronger and more valuable with regular use. You can use the following tactics as ‘rules to live by’ to help you develop that aspect of management and make the most of constructive discontent:
- Extend respect and trust.
- Stay open, curious, and empathetic.
- Learn from resistance and criticism.
- Be aware that contention stimulates quality and innovation.
- Recognize that discontent about how things are right now, direction to do something different, and movement toward change must exceed the mindsets, beliefs, and attitudes of the status quo.
- Remember that the inability to experience or express anger in a healthy way gets you and others stuck in ongoing conflict.
- Be gutsy enough to clarify or challenge assumptions and spark a shift in attention.
- Get out of the way so the answer can be found, rather than needing to tell others the answer.
There is nothing to fear from discontent… unless you ignore it or shut it down.
Soon we’ll post some ways to make the most of constructive discontent in your business. Stay tuned!
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