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Caring Enough to Argue: The Importance of Passionate Teams

illustration of a lightbulb
Illustration by Sarah Kula Marketing Designer

We have to care enough about one another, to argue with one another.

When there’s passion behind an objective, an organization, it’s reflected in how employees interact with one another.

Our CEO, Russ Starke, regularly publishes videos for a series entitled Truisms. These are quick yet informative lessons for leaders and practitioners across a range of industries. For this entry into the series, Russ shares his perspectives on the value of friction in the workplace and how it can lead to healthier teams and organizations. We’ve written an overview that you can read below, or if you’d prefer to listen or watch, click here for the video.

The truism of caring enough to argue

Friction makes us sharper and clarifies our thinking.

It’s worthwhile, no matter our position in the workplace, to speak up. Challenging and presenting ideas not only enhances our individuality, but can also lead to healthier teams and collaborations. A team or overall work environment where this type of interaction is encouraged redefines the workplace and strengthens morale.

It’s not always easy to engage, though. It’s understandable for there to be hesitance where a conversation may lead to an argument. When these kinds of direct (ideally tactful) interactions aren’t encouraged within an organization, it demonstrates a lack of interest—there’s a missing passion among employees. Maybe the organization has created a culture where employees don’t feel safe sharing their opinions, ideas, and values, or there’s a lack of encouragement within teams to empower this way of thinking and foster these challenging discussions. Either way, something needs to change.

Our company evaluations

At Think, we perform annual company evaluations to collect and provide peer feedback.

Russ noted in the video that he was glad he didn’t get the highest marks across the board. Why? Because it meant that employees were not only honest in their feedback, but that they felt secure enough in the first place to provide such honest evaluations—to the CEO at that. The constructive feedback demonstrated a high level of care for the company, and Russ, as he continues to adapt and grow as a leader. It provided an opportunity to be introspective for continuous improvement on an individual and company level.

The power of constructive feedback

We don’t always want to hear constructive feedback or criticism. When receiving less than desirable feedback, we often want to revert to a defensive position or take things personally. We may even go out of our way to make false narratives about why someone provided the feedback they did. At the end of the day, these kinds of excuses only serve to make us feel better. They don’t allow us to learn about ourselves from an outward perspective and grow from it. The power of constructive feedback is that it provides the space and foundation to improve. It acknowledges a challenge, and it’s up to the individual to address and tackle it.

To hear more from our CEO, Russ Starke, head to our YouTube channel and watch Care Enough to Argue.


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