Conflict is inevitable in a project environment. Sources of conflict include scarce resources, scheduling priorities, and personal work styles. Team ground rules, group norms, and solid project management practices, like communication planning and role definition, reduce the amount of conflict.
Successful conflict management results in greater productivity and positive working relationships. When managed properly, differences of opinion can lead to increased creativity and better decision making. If the differences become a negative factor, project team members are initially responsible for their resolution. If conflict escalates, the project manager should help facilitate a satisfactory resolution. Conflict should be addressed early and usually in private, using a direct, collaborative approach. If disruptive conflict continues, formal procedures may be used, including disciplinary actions.
When handling conflict in a team environment, project managers should recognize the following characteristics of conflict and the conflict management process:
• Conflict is natural and forces a search for alternatives,
• Openness resolves conflict,
• Conflict resolution should focus on issues, not personalities, and
• Conflict resolution should focus on the present, not the past.
The success of project managers in managing their project teams often depends a great deal on their ability to resolve conflict. Different project managers may have different conflict resolution styles. Factors that influence conflict resolution methods include:
• Relative importance and intensity of the conflict,
• Time pressure for resolving the conflict,
• Position taken by players involved, and
• Motivation to resolve conflict on a long-term or a short-term basis.
There are six general techniques for resolving conflict:
• Withdrawing/Avoiding. Retreating from an actual or potential conflict situation.
• Smoothing/Accommodating. Emphasizing areas of agreement rather than areas of difference.
• Compromising. Searching for solutions that bring some degree of satisfaction to all parties.
• Forcing. Pushing one's viewpoint at the expense of others; offers only win-lose solutions.
• Collaborating. Incorporating multiple viewpoints and insights from differing perspectives; leads to consensus and commitment.
• Confronting/Problem Solving Treating conflict as a problem to be solved by examining alternatives; requires a give-and-take attitude and open dialogue ,
Was this article helpful?
What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.