Is conflict avoidance harming your success? In this TED Talk, Margaret Heffernan, a former CEO of five businesses, explores the advantages of provoking conflict to solve problems and lead change. Dare to embrace differences to achieve better thinking and results.
What You’ll Learn
After completing the work on this page, you will be able to:
- Recall advantages of embracing conflict and disagreement
- Recognize the importance of raising issues in the workplace
- Realize the benefits of collaborating with people who think differently
Watch the Video
After watching the video, reflect on the following questions. Jot down your thoughts. Consider sharing this video with a colleague or a work group for an insightful discussion.
- According to Margaret Heffernan, 85% of executives in North American organizations are reluctant to raise issues over fear of losing or getting into arguments. What are the effects of not raising issues in the workplace?
- Have you ever dared to embrace conflict when it arises? Reflect on that situation and the outcomes.
- Do you have a thinking partner who is not an “echo chamber”? If yes, how does he/she affect your thinking?
- What are the benefits of collaborating with others who have different ways of thinking, experience, and backgrounds?
- Who do you surround yourself with? Are they similar or different than you? How does this affect your collaborative efforts?
Here’s more to spark your thinking on this topic:
NOTE: There is a limit of viewing 4 online articles per month at Harvard Business Review without a paid subscription. If you click on the link to an HBR article, it will count toward your limit.
- Know how to use conflict as a beneficial energy source in the Ted Talk Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It.
- Emotions DO belong in the workplace as explained more in the Wall Street Journal Bestseller No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work. Consider picking up a copy.
- Discover 6 tactics to create productive conflict in the HBR video The Explainer: How Management Teams Can Have a Good Fight.
- It’s time to change your mind about conflict as explored in the HBR article “If Your Team Agrees on Everything, Working Together is Pointless.”
- Know how conflict debt stands in the way of progress in the HBR article “An Exercise to Help Your Team Feel More Comfortable with Conflict.”
- Learn how to make conflict productive as described in the HBR article “How to Debate Ideas Productively at Work.”
- Take one or both of these HBR Assessments: