Adaptive Leaders Orchestrate Healthy Conflict, this is how they do it!

198 views . 02 Oct 2020

Healthy conflict is an ingredient for a high performance team. It plays a significant role in narrowing the gap between aspirations and reality and also in decision making. Orchestrating conflict ensures a healthy level of conflict is maintained and the involved parties are in position to air their views.  Orchestrating conflict sounds attractive. However, it assumes that people who are involved can build strong relationships with people in the groups whom they need to have healthy conflicts with. This is not usually the case as people have different cultural and economic backgrounds and the ever increasing virtual world provides a superficial environment where people and groups don’t know each other well. 

Healthy conflict is an ingredient for a high performance team. It plays a significant role in narrowing the gap between aspirations and reality and also in decision making. Orchestrating conflict ensures a healthy level of conflict is maintained and the involved parties are in position to air their views.  Orchestrating conflict sounds attractive. However, it assumes that people who are involved can build strong relationships with people in the groups whom they need to have healthy conflicts with. This is not usually the case as people have different cultural and economic backgrounds and the ever increasing virtual world provides a superficial environment where people and groups don’t know each other well. In order to orchestrate healthy conflict, here are 7 steps you can use:

1.   Prepare: Involves understanding the environment you are operating in. Mapping stakeholders and factions, their standpoint on key elements, what they care about and losses they fear by taking part in adaptive work. Understanding this and talking to them in advance makes them trust you and gain the formal authority to deal with stress and retain their trust.

2.   Establish ground rules: Frame the issues with overall  mission and adaptive challenge. The goal is to keep the issues at the centre of the work.

3.   Get each view on the table: This involves including each faction  to articulate values, loyalties  and competencies that inform their perspectives on the adaptive challenge. Commitments they have to others not in the room and the perspective those have on the challenge. What they see as their potential and non-negotiation losses

4.   Orchestrate Conflict: This step entails articulating competing claims and position. This is through reminding people of the purpose. Knowing the right temperature in the room and understanding how the regulate the heat will result in greater outcomes.

5.   Encouraging, accepting and managing losses: Giving each person or faction time to reflect fully the losses they will be asking the constituents to accept. This influences commitment. Ask them how they are going to refashion their constituents expectations and loyalties

6.   Generate and commit to the experiments: This step helps in finding general  consensus using several experiments for tackling the adaptive challenges which will give different stakeholders perspectives of what might be expected in a given scenario.

7.   Institute peer leadership: This step helps in maximizing  chances of  successful move of the group through peer consulting  where stakeholders consult one another on leadership challenges to obtain different views.

Scenario

Adolescent pregnancy has affected the lives of young girls in developed and developing nations. It is estimated that 21 million girls aged between 15 to 19 years become pregnant in developing countries and about 12 million of them give forth to the young ones. Early and accidental pregnancies among young girls are linked to several adverse social , economic, educational and health outcomes.

Society has continued to bury heads in the sand believing teenagers are not having sex with sex education remaining a contentious topic on whether it should be introduced in the curriculum. Parents widely believe that teenagers should not have sex and girls they should not get pregnant. Society forgets that puberty is a stormy period for both genders and teenagers need an understanding and guidance for them to go through this period rather than the usual statements. 

Adolescent pregnancy challenges cannot be fixed by one person neither does it have a known solution. It is an adaptive challenge and as such different groups will have different perceptions of the problem and the path to follow to have positive results. Conflict will arise and as a person leading an adaptive change you should provide a conducive environment so that ideas and different views and perspectives can be provided. This is useful to get others on board. The seven steps should be put into practice as follows:

Prepare by doing your preliminary work. Understand different groups, engage with them prior to the meeting to preempt some items and get their views on tough topics. Different groups may include: parents, youths, church leaders, teachers union among other stakeholders. Ground rules for the discussion should be clear and be influenced by teenage pregnancies as the problem. The set environment should be in a way that stakeholders are free to share their views without infringement. In orchestrating conflict, you need to know when to regulate the temperature of the discussion. This will ensure no concept or idea slides out of the table. Identify losses and fears and how they can be managed. What will the church as an institution fear, what are the losses for the youths? Use different models that may influence consensus and commitments from different members and give room for consulting.  Thank you for watching.