In a recent Business Week article, psychologist Kerry Sulkowicz, in his “Analyze This” column, argued that confrontation may occasionally be necessary to produce collaboration. It’s an important and counter intuitive observation. Many people tend to think of a collaborative group as one where everybody is at least respectful of one another. But what happens if that’s true for all but one of the group? We’re all familiar with the power of one person to undo a constructive collaboration. High school teachers have to deal with that problem frequently. So do group leaders when the disruptive party is a senior member of the organization. Good collaborations require differences of opinion. And tension between ideas can be valuable in teasing out the critical issues necessary for the best decision. Avoiding group think is just as important as managing emotional outbursts. Confrontation, however, can come in many forms and constructive confrontation does not have to destroy the confronted… and rarely does. Sometimes humor can provide a face saving alternative to an escalating situation, or a really good question can reframe the problem. Advance planning, when you know you have a person with strong and contrary views, may allow you to explain the contrarian’s views in an objective and non-emotional form before they speak. It’s all about balance. As Sulkowicz says, a key can be empathizing with the person you’re confronting air max clearance. Your mindset when you do that will help you be the honest broker for the group, enhance the quality of the contributions of all and improve the likelihood of a successful conclusion to the discussion.