Project Management

Ask, Don't Tell

Theresa Morris and Steve Bender

Do you manage or damage conversations to resolve project conflicts? Here is a four-step, question-based process to confront project problems, including knowing when not to pick a fight, identifying an issue worth solving, getting ready to tackle a conflict, and creating common goals worth pursuing.

Based on techniques and assessments from Neuro-linguistic Programming and Language and Behavior profiling, this article presents a series of questions to consider when confronting project problems.
Are you feeling annoyed because there is tension in the air between you and another project stakeholder or team member? Are you very angry but want to avoid a fight? Do you want to discuss an issue with someone who is very reluctant to talk about problems? Have you tried everything and come to the point where you want to give up? Would you like to consider a different way of solving problems and improving your relationship with a coworker or manager, even if they are difficult to deal with? If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, consider using this four-step process to confront the other person.
1. Figure Out What You Want
There is what you think you want and what you truly want. What you want might be based on how the project is going. What you truly want is based on your emotional reaction to the project. Sometimes our true wants are buried or disguised in …

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"Chaos is a friend of mine."

- Bob Dylan