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How to discern the good conflict from the bad on teams

Leaders need to figure out whether the inevitable conflict within their teams is of a constructive or destructive variety, and act accordingly, says Harvard Business Review.

"Every team has a certain amount of conflict, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. As a leader you should identify whether the tension is destructive or constructive, and address it directly.

Destructive conflict, including personal attacks and scapegoating, undermines the trust that is vital to working relationships. Manage it by acknowledging the problem, using persuasion, reminding others of the long-term perspective, or otherwise deploying your power as a leader.

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Constructive conflict, on the other hand, is when team members have divergent perspectives on your most important tasks or priorities.

Ask pointed questions to draw the issues out. Then insist that your employees discuss them openly and work out solutions that can be integrated into your team's overall vision."

Today's management tip was adapted from "the Harvard ManageMentor Online Module: Leading and Motivating."

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