#43 Working with people who challenge us

We often need to experience some challenge in order to grow. But tension can easily spill over into destructive interactions. As leaders we need to demonstrate that we can challenge and be challenged. In this chat Pilar and Tim learn they have quite different thresholds for conflict. And they explore the difference between being challenged constructively vs destructively.

0:30 min Sometimes creative tension is actually just fighting.

3:10 People are always watching how their leaders deal with conflict. It’s important to role model the behaviours we want to see from others.

3:50 Pilar is pretty comfortable with conflict. Tim not so much.

5:05 Once again we reference Kim Scott’s book Radical Candor, this time about the importance of regularly showing people that you care about them. This protects your connection even when you are disagreeing with each other.

6:00 Pilar shares a couple of anecdotes about how the quality of work improves when she is able to be challenged by her colleagues. And it suffers when she can’t. It is important for her to establish this open atmosphere early in a work relationship.

9:30 Tim muses about people at each end of the “comfort with conflict” scale. In particular the difficulty of finding common grounds for communication between conflict-avoidant people and those who are energised by conflict.

11:15 If we don’t communicate our dissatisfaction or issues the tension will build up. We run the risk of exploding! This is a familiar pattern for Tim.

14:40 Pilar wrestles with how carefully she should choose her collaborators. It is hard to choose someone who will push her creative boundaries but also respect her work.

16:15 Which leads us to the importance of how we are challenged. Creative tension is a very different beast to destructive tension, we need to maintain healthy connections and respect in order to collaborate together.

18:30 Pilar shares some examples of being challenged in a healthy way and how it led to better and sometimes unexpected work outcomes.

22:00 Tim bangs the drum for self awareness (again).

What about you, dear listener? How comfortable are you with conflict? How do you encourage or discourage people to challenge us? We’d love to hear from you.

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