The Goldilocks approach to team conflict: How leaders can maximize innovation and revenue growth.

To stay competitive, companies need to constantly innovate. To remain healthy, they need to constantly grow revenue. We explored whether there were any leadership behaviors that had a significant impact on innovation and growth. Our research was based on over 1,000 executives from a wide variety of industries who completed the Bates Executive Presence Index (ExPI), a validated, multirater leadership behavior survey. We compared the ratings of leaders identified as leading innovative teams with those identified as unsuccessful at leading innovative teams. A t test found that of the 90 items on the ExPI, 57 items were significantly different at the 0.01 level. We also completed a multivariate analysis of variants comparing the scores of leaders whose company’s revenue grew 5% or more for the 2 years prior to taking the ExPI to leaders whose company had a −1% revenue growth for the 2 years prior and found significant differences in 67 items. We also found that both types of leaders were better able to find an optimal amount of psychological tension that brought out the best ideas in those around them. These leaders created an environment that was psychologically safe for people to speak up, challenge each other, and have a healthy debate. Just as important, they were attuned to the optimal tension people could tolerate. We identified specific, observable behaviors that leaders can model to facilitate constructive conflict–conflict that generates solutions based on the best ideas created by exploring a diversity of points of views and opinions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)