Regardless of what business you’re in, one truism that applies to every field is that managing a successful team isn’t easy. If everyone gets along too well, you run the danger of getting locked into creativity-killing groupthink. If there’s too much conflict, more time will be spent on settling scores than achieving goals. Here are a few techniques you can use to develop an optimally functional team.


Establish a code of conduct

Disagreement is a healthy part of developing any worthwhile concept. However, you don’t want the arguing to reach the level where it becomes disruptive to the development process. As this ERE Media post points out, one good way to keep arguments from spilling out of control is to establish a code of conduct at your very first team meeting. By agreeing that everyone will refrain from making ad hominem attack, never interrupt one another and always strive to give constructive criticism, you’ll save yourself and everyone else a lot of time and energy.


Spice things up

As a leader, one of your most important responsibilities is maximizing your employees’ potential. One way to do that is to make sure that your people are making meaningful contributions at each team meeting. While this sometimes means restraining your extroverts so that your introverts can get a word in edgewise, you’ll also need to call on people who look like they don’t want to speak. You’ll have to insist people clarify positions they purposely made vague to spare someone else’s feelings. Sometimes you’ll also have to wipe the whiteboard clean 10 minutes before the meeting is scheduled to be over if you realize everyone’s more concerned about beating the clock than reaching a real breakthrough. As Apple founder Steve Jobs taught his chief designer Jony Ive, personal vanity should never get in the way of professional excellence.


When things get personal, take action

Even with an established code of conduct and a firm hand on the tiller, destructive interpersonal conflicts can still arise. While it’s generally held that professionals don’t let these kinds of differences affect their work, social conflicts can and will bleed through nevertheless. You may feel hesitant to intervene because of the personal nature of the dispute, but being proactive usually yields better results. Disagreements that have nothing to do with the project at hand, do not belong in a team meeting. Do as this Forbes article suggests, and seek out and neutralize tensions before they become problematic.


This article was written by Mario McKellop of for CBS Small Business Pulse.


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