Lencioni’s Healthy Conflict and How our Perceptions Matter

As promoted by Lencioni, embracing conflict and living near the middle of the continuum between “Artificial Harmony” and “Unhealthy Conflict” requires deep introspection about our approach to interactions at work.
PEEL sees this foundation of interpersonal effectiveness at work arising from the accuracy of how we take perspective in relation to others. Turning our minds to Emotional Intelligence (EQ), you will remember the key roles of Empathy and Self-regulation saw emotional control and ‘walking in others’ shoes as Conflict Management essentials. ‘Walking in others’ shoes is gaining perspective at its most basic level. To accurately gain perspective we need to take more information in than simply envisage what it is like to be someone else. Our individual perspectives are the organising structure for our perceptions of others. We are able to more accurately consider what’s in the minds of others when we have a broader perspective on our own mindset (perspective-getting) – that is, when we understand ourselves and gain more information about the other person.
To wade into conflict with a constructive perspective, as recommended by Lencioni, requires having “got” an accurate perspective from others (perspective-getting).We all have unique beliefs of how the world should be and how we fit into it – it is our perspective. Our unique perceptual filter will not always mirror other people’s unique perceptual filter. When we interact with others, we can be confronted with the reality that our thoughts and the way we see the world are not necessarily shared by others. We are confronted with different ideas and views and without having “got” their perspective, this can be the catalyst for conflict.
When things don’t fit the way we think they should, we can feel Stress. That Stress ignites behaviour that can often be the counterproductive behaviour that takes us a step (or two!) towards the “Unhealthy Conflict” end of the continuum .Exploring our perspective and our individual behaviours, including our Usual Behaviour and our underlying Needs, will help us understand how that step can be revised and become more productive rather than counterproductive.
Rather than rub against other people’s perspectives, we must learn to navigate, manage, and most importantly, leverage, varying mindsets. Understanding our own perspective and knowing when we are moving towards it being challenged, puts us in front of the game; more able to anticipate other people’s perspective. Then knowing how we can leverage the interaction between our own and their perspective is where we can really leverage our insight. We believe perspective is most accurately obtained by undertaking the Birkman questionnaire – The Birkman Method (TBM) .
Knowing your own mindset, being able to question it, take on new information gained from other reliable sources that allows you to create new views are the means to avoiding unhealthy conflict. Being challenged by the new information and using it to take the step to the “right” contains measured risk that Lencioni considers to be healthy. Although taking a step to the right (that is, closer to the Unhealthy Conflict end) may cause some scar tissue, it is that new information that you gain that allows you to adjust your perspective and “heal” with greater strength and knowledge.

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