October 25, 2010 / 1:50 PM / 8 years ago

Management Tip of the Day: Help your team have a good fight

Two eleven-year-old Cuban boys face each other during their boxing training at an Old Havana neighbourhood boxing gym, August 12, 2003.REUTERS/Claudia Daut

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.

“Teams that always agree on everything rarely produce innovative and creative work. Effective teams fight, bringing in disparate views and challenging each other to think in different ways. To help your team have constructive fights, try the following:

“1. Ensure mutual respect. Team members can only fight well when they feel respected. Ask people to focus on the content of the disagreement, not personal issues. Make sure they avoid attacking or exhibiting non-verbal behaviors, such as eye rolling, that offend people.

“2. Brainstorm first. Make it safe for people to propose crazy or controversial ideas. Once the ideas are on the table, people can push back on them.

“3. Do backstage work. When the fight is over, touch base with people to make sure they did not feel personally attacked or upset that their idea was shut down. Coach those who overstepped their bounds to behave differently next time.”

- Today’s management tip was adapted from “It’s Up to You to Start a Good Fight” by Robert I. Sutton.

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