Handle Both Kinds of Conflict

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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. 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.

Adapted from the Harvard ManageMentor Online Module: Leading and Motivating.

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