Greet conflict with open arms

Welcome conflictFor nearly 12 years, Jamie Dimon has run America’s biggest bank, JPMorgan Chase. He oversees over 250,000 global employees.

Dimon, 61, believes in cultivating an organizational culture built on trust. But he realizes that won’t happen just because he says so.

He prefers to share information—strategic initiatives, financial results, etc.—with a wide range of employees. Through this inclusive approach, people at all levels feel like participants in the company’s fortunes rather than bystanders.

“You never want someone to walk into a meeting thinking you’re hiding information,” he says. “You can’t play that game.”

He’s also a fan of confronting conflict head-on. Resist the urge to shove aside brewing and potentially costly problems in the hope that they will go away on their own.

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“Conflicts don’t age well,” he warns. “Deal with issues sooner rather than later as they don’t resolve themselves. They get worse.”

Part of the challenge in addressing conflict is creating a nonthreatening environment where employees can speak freely. Yelling at someone delivering bad news can divert problems underground, where they can fester.

Dimon encourages colleagues to share their concerns forthrightly in meetings so that the group has a chance to problem-solve. He wants dissenters to make their voices heard in front of their peers instead of keeping silent and then raising their objections when it’s too late. That’s why he refuses to listen when individuals chase him down after a meeting to express their complaints or disappointments about what the group discussed.

— Adapted from, “Leadership Lessons From The CEO Of JPMorgan Chase,” Jason Fell, www.forbes.com.