Conflict on Warning Road Sign.This just in… Healthy conflict is NOT an oxymoron. It’s real and it’s achievable. In fact, healthy conflict can be dynamic, motivating and even exhilarating.

But our old school notion of conflict can indeed be something to fear, or at least be something that makes us very uncomfortable. So it helps if we clearly understand the difference between healthy conflict and unproductive conflict:


In order for healthy conflict to work, it must be understood and accepted by all parties before delving into a discussion. But once simple ground rules of respectful dialogue and focused listening are agreed upon, let the sparks and ideas fly.

If an organization’s leaders don’t create a culture that allows for healthy conflict and productive questioning, those organizations risk stagnation. Healthy conflict is a forum for an exciting exchange of ideas, points of views, solutions or opinions — all that lead to better outcomes.

  • Here are just a few benefits of healthy, productive conflict:
  • ✔️ Accelerates innovation
  • ✔️ Motivates new thinking
  • ✔️ Raises questions
  • ✔️ Identifies gaps and disconnects
  • ✔️ Build relationships
  • ✔️ Engages the Team
  • ✔️ Discovers barriers
  • ✔️ Improves ideas

Now it’s your turn. Using this no-fear three-step process, discover how productive healthy conflict can be:

  1. Invite your team to commit to idea sessions applying the rules of healthy conflict.
  2. Ensure everyone has committed to respectful dialogue, focused listening, open minds and no egos!
  3. Engage in discussion, but be mindful that it takes a few tries to get it perfect. Ask folks to debrief to find the healthy conflict method that’s best for your organization.

Finally, as you practice using healthy conflict, be sure to celebrate the resulting benefits as they happen. If healthy conflict got your team to a better idea, make sure everyone knows about it. You’ll go from fearful to fearless in no time.

Empowering change agent, Maureen “Mo” Douglas delivers powerfully positive public, workplace and leadership engagement. Click here for Mo’s FREE e-Guide to Better Public Engagement. Follow her on Twitter.