Project Management

Work It Out

James Dawson

Conflict in a team environment is almost inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be destructive. In fact, it can be a positive factor in project success. Here is a primer on conflict resolution, including four communicative behaviors that can help project leaders turn differences into dividends.

Conflict is inevitable. We may be afraid of it and handle it poorly, allowing problems to fester and grow. We may use it to control and manipulate others. Or we may accept that conflict is necessary for things to improve or change. On projects, it's how we respond to conflict that determines whether we see it as a means to encourage innovation and find answers, or as something to be avoided.
If you understand the role conflict plays on your projects, and you create the proper behaviors and environment, you can make conflict work for you to find better, and often unexpected, solutions. To manage conflict effectively you have to understand the function, norms and process of conflict.
Function — Whenever incompatible activities or ideas occur, conflict occurs. Any two people who have a disagreement usually have some level of emotional attachment to their own point of view. As a result, conflict breeds increased interaction and involvement.
If managed appropriately, conflict can stimulate creativity and new ways of thinking. Conflict…

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