Most leaders don't realize that unresolved conflicts are destroying their businesses—they're not even aware these conflicts exist! That's a result of poor communication. Other leaders avoid confrontation. That's called denial. Either way, your team loses.
The Weekly Report
Communication is the key to fighting this enemy of team unity. For Dave's team, that communication comes through their weekly reports. Each week, every team member emails a report to his or her leader and Dave. All leaders read their team members' weekly reports and pass along any issues or concerns to Dave. That way, leadership from all levels is involved with the day-to-day activities of the company.
Team members report their progress on their assigned tasks and relate their high and low points of the week. This is where dissatisfaction and disagreements tend to be revealed, directly or indirectly.
When a leader believes that one team member may be upset with another at work or has a problem with an assignment or a process, the leader gets the involved parties together and straightens things out.
Remove the Splinter
Deal with conflict like you would deal with a splinter: Pull it out right away, even if it hurts. Don't leave it until it's infected, causing even greater pain. A little confrontation can wash out the wound and allow the parties to go forward in a spirit of unity.
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Leaders lead best when they pull out that splinter. Sometimes it's messy. Sometimes it doesn't work perfectly. But the alternative is to walk around and act like nothing is happening and wonder why there's no unity.
Avoiding conflict is what normal companies do. Dave suggests you be weird. Normal companies have employees. Dave never wanted that. He wanted—and has always had—talented team members focused on the same goal, rather than ordinary employees who are burdened with unresolved conflict.
To learn more about properly pulling the trigger, download our latest EntreLeadership podcast, which includes a lesson from Dave on the easier way to make hard decisions. Also included is a special interview with best-selling business author Jim Collins, who talks to host Chris LoCurto on making the call.