The basic idea of teamwork is to have a group of people work together to create a program.

But what if you determine that there is a serious flaw in the process? Would you avoid confrontation by peacefully going along with conclusions of your fellow team members?

The answer should be assertiveness. Writing in Business Week, Kerry Sulkowicz says assertiveness is confrontation’s adaptive cousin. It can be deployed usefully between people working toward the same goal.

Assertiveness is used to negotiate contracts, reject bad work, or criticize a strategy, but some people will do almost anything to avoid any confrontation.

Sulkowicz says they may fear that expressing displeasure will cause anger among team members. They don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and they fear the consequences if the criticism turns out to be wrong.

The key to successful assertiveness is to empathize with the person you are confronting. Before you do it, gather all the useful facts and be ready to offer alternatives along with your objections.

Direct your comments toward the issue rather than at a person or persons. Your opponents won’t hear what you say if you attack them personally.

When proven right, don’t gloat. Sulkowicz says nobody likes a poor winner.