I once headed up a team responsible for developing a new product line. I remember dreading the group meetings because of 2 strong-willed members who were temperamentally and philosophically polar opposites. One was self-expressive, emotional and entrepreneurial, the other was conservative, disciplined and corporate. Both were passionate in their own ways and committed to excellence.
The meetings were often tense as were the meetings after the meetings. At points I thought the team would fail because of the friction and frustration level that pervaded the early stages of the initiative. Fortunately, I began to discover I was wrong for 2 reasons. First, in spite of their differences, both refused to fail because of their aforementioned passion and need to excel which compelled them to compromise rather than let the group implode.
More important, though is the second reason. The very conflict that I feared and did at times occur, actually drove the final outcome beyond where it would have ended up had there not been disagreements.
This situation didn’t make things easy for me. It was like trying to contain and harness the power of a nuclear reaction. But it was part of my job description and it yielded just the kind of achievement the best teams are capable of.