AS ONE CEO SEES IT, WE CAN TRADE CONFLICT AVERSION WITH PRODUCTIVE CONFLICT AND NOT BE LOATHED BY EVERYONE.
I cry at the movies, I find visits to the pet store wrenching, and interpersonal conflict makes me uncomfortable, even when I’m just a bystander.
My name is Matt, and I’m an empathetic CEO.
By nature, CEOs are supposed to be tough, direct, and painfully honest. I’m imperfect, but I tend to believe that the most successful people can check their most empathetic feelings in order to focus primarily on results—kittens and conflict be damned.
Unfortunately, the modern workplace isn’t exactly a model of productive conflict. Instead, we have a problem with being too nice at work. Conflict aversion and passive aggression are far more familiar to most people than transparency, directness, and painful honesty.
That presents a serious business with a big problem: To drive results, we need to get comfortable with making one another a little more uncomfortable.