Date:Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Author:Christian Ward

In this episode, Christian Ward, head of Multimedia Strategy at Stylus, discusses how conflict can be a good thing for your business. With Ian Leslie – journalist and author of Conflicted: Why Arguments Are Tearing Us Apart and How They Can Bring Us Together, and Estella Shardlow – senior editor of Consumer Lifestyle at Stylus.

Guests on this Episode

Ian Leslie is a journalist and author of a series of acclaimed books on human behaviour. Ian's most recent book, published in February 2021, is Conflicted: Why Arguments Are Tearing Us Apart and How They Can Bring Us Together.

Estella Shardlow is senior editor of Consumer Lifestyle at Stylus.

Episode Discussion Points

  • About Conflicted and what motivated Ian to write the book [1:00]
  • On why you don't want everyone in your business to be in agreement [3:09]
  • How to avoid office politics and disagree openly and constructively [7:11]
  • On the evolution of workplace trends over the past 12 months [10:08]
  • How to make creative conflict successful in remote working situations [14:02]
  • On the workplace priorities of Gen Z [18:01]
  • Will Gen Z embrace or resist creative conflict in the workplace? [21:45]

Key Quotes

"The thing we're missing out on is constructive or productive disagreement, and its immense benefits – it's so important to the way we think, the way we create, the way we relate to each other. And when we put it aside, because we're a little bit scared of it, we really lose out in some very profound ways." [2:04]
Ian Leslie

"The way to create passive aggression in office politics is not to have your disagreements. And the opposite is also true." [9:39]
Ian Leslie

"Companies [are] reporting that they want to have a greater amount of collaborative space, [and] people want to get back to the office to reconnect with colleagues and feel a sense of shared purpose. One case study is the furniture company Vitra, [which] has been using this analogy of a clubhouse for how they're transforming their own HQ – it's all about collaborative spaces, learning and socialising together." [12:05]
Estella Shardlow

"I think Zoom conversations tend to be more cautious or more conservative, and therefore less creative, less likely to lead to new things." [16:42]
Ian Leslie

"I would like to see more emphasis on open disagreement and conflict, and using that productively. Because actually, the different parts of your company should be in tension, they should have interesting, conflicting points of view. The point is not that everybody should agree with each other. The point is, you use those points of view to create something new. So a disagreement should be an act of creativity." [5:32]
Ian Leslie

"One thing that's really been coming through is this sense of Gen Z not feeling adequately prepared for life skills and workplace challenges [as their] education focus [is] so much on academic achievement: 59% [of Gen Z] said they'd like to see greater exposure to real-life work and professional mentorship in the education system." [18:19]
Estella Shardlow

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