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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.