Collaborations must expect and plan for the inevitability of tension. Ignoring controversial topics that may be critical to success and failing to tap into the diversity of perspective are just two consequences of sidestepping disagreement. The first step is for the collaboration to acknowledge that conflict can be productive. It’s also critical that collaboration meeting chairs and membership remember and practice this simple rule: always debate issues, not personalities.
There are many resources and tip sheets out there on conflict management. Start here to understand the basics about the storming, norming and forming dynamic within collaborations and explore some additional resources on this topic:
• Podcast on making conflict productive
• Video: Essential Skills for Engaging Conflict