Management Tip of the Day: 3 Steps to stop a team fight

Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:28am EDT
 
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BOSTON (Reuters) - The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and HBR.org (www.hbr.org). Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

"Working with teams can be a frustrating experience, especially when seemingly straightforward conflict devolves into personal or protracted disputes. Next time your team members start throwing proverbial punches, take these three steps to get them to stop fighting and start working:

1. Intervene early. The sooner you step in the better. A simple disagreement can turn into a serious conflict within seconds when emotions are running high.

2. Focus on team norms. Refer the parties back to something they can, or hopefully already have, agreed on. Use team norms to guide behavior and help the parties identify common ground.

3. Create a shared agreement. To reach an accord, have the team members talk it through. With all parties' cards on the table, facilitate an outcome that is amenable to all. Avoid a lowest common denominator solution. Instead find one that integrates both parties' interests."

- Today's Management Tip was adapted from "Get Your Team to Stop Fighting and Start Working" by Amy Gallo.

 
<p>Students practise sword-fighting at a kung fu school in Hefei, east China's Anhui province August 9, 2006. REUTERS/Jianan Yu</p>