It’s awesome when everyone agrees, isn’t it? Yes—and no. Most of us have, at some point, fallen into the trap of groupthink to avoid conflict and promote harmony in a group, whether at school, work, or on a committee. Groupthink has its perks: everyone feels comfortable, and there’s no risk of tension among members. It’s safe. Easy. Unfortunately, it can also kills creativity and innovation.
While serving as CEO of MySQL AB, Mårten Mickos had a falling out with a founder of the company. These types of situations are common in startups, says Mickos, especially between original founders and new management teams. Mickos explains why he made some tough choices out of dedication to the employees he had brought on board.
Conflict is a dreaded word. Most people associate conflict with interpersonal clashes ranging from inelegant avoidance tactics in the breakroom to fierce and open hostility. Surely, it is obvious that conflict in teams is detrimental to creativity and innovation. But is it? In this post we will explore this matter further and see when conflict sometimes can enhance the creative thinking skills of teams.
Author Ori Brafman describes behaviors of good “clickers,” those individuals skilled in making instant connections with others. Brafman relates two studies, one focusing on MBA students, and the other on members of a string quartet, that reveal insights about interaction between “clickers”: 1) They show greater support for colleagues, and 2) They create more conflict, but deal with it head-on.