Conflict at Work Represents Opportunity

Tension in the workplace can be uncomfortable and challenging, leaving us questioning how to navigate it effectively. But what if we told you that stepping into tension is not only necessary but holds the key to unlocking powerful energy and improving employee engagement? If you can learn to navigate and harness workplace tension, you’ll foster a culture of engagement and growth.

How can you transform conflict resolution at work?

How you step into tension makes all the difference in resolving conflict at work. Brady Wilson discusses how you can choose to channel the energy found in tension to foster innovation.


Embrace Conflict at Work By Stepping into Tension

Your brain requires tension to innovate and do its best thinking, but it avoids tension at any cost.  What is it that is right inside tension, you desperately need to be super productive, to be innovative, and to be your best self in any situation?

It is energy.

You do not get to decide whether energy will be released from the tension you have with another person, with another department, or with your customers. But you do get to decide which way the energy will flow. Will it be:

  1. Creative, generative, innovative, forward moving energy that leads you to a desired future?
  2. Trust sapping, suspicion inducing, homeostatic type of energy that leads you to the status quo?

We would never learn or grow without tension. Our brains are energized by it, interpreting it as a fascinating novelty, a puzzle to be solved.


Tension in the Workplace Drives Innovation

People say, necessity is the mother of invention. It’s not – tension is. Innovation is spawned by tension, not necessity – it’s the tension between the current way of doing things, and the desired way of doing things that sparks innovative thought.

In short, the human brain requires creative tension to think inventively and act integratively. Leaders are those who can hold two opposing thoughts in their mind simultaneously. Don’t lose your grip on the current reality, but don’t let go of the preferred future either. Seek a solution that synthesizes and is comprised of the competing needs of the situation, the conflicting priority, and the opposing points of view. Seek tension, not harmony.



Entrepreneur Guy Laliberté used this form of cognitive tension to release innovative energy, and subsequently came up with an idea that has made more than an estimated $2.6 billion.

The tension Guy Laliberté sought to harmonize, resided between the fun and the laughter of the circus, and the intellectual sophistication of the theater. People are done with the circus, but the theater is not accessible to everyone. Could there be something that is held in the tension between those two?

What emerged was an outlandish idea, the brilliant, beautiful and eminently successful Cirque du Soleil. A perfect blend of fun and laughter of the circus and intellectual sophistication of the theatre that now travels the globe.


The Engagement Paradox

Traditional employee engagement strategies aren’t working anymore. Scores are plateauing (in some cases even declining) leading to a crisis of belief for both employees and leaders.

This white paper offers a new path forward – one that blends the energy employees want with the customer experience and business results leaders need.


Without energy, your strategies are at risk


Transforming the way you engage with employees in today’s complex workplaces requires new approaches to leadership. Our customized learning solutions will help you grow leadership skills and fuel sustainable performance.

If you want more on this, check out our white paper, The Engagement Paradox which goes into how we can transform engagement and get the very best from our team.

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