Project Management

Resolving Interpersonal Conflicts in Projects

Jiju ‘Jay’ Nair is a Senior Manager with Fannie Mae driving Cloud Transformation and adoption. He is an avid advocate for using innovative project and process management principles for building reliable and sustainable products.

High-performing project teams delivering critical business results are the superstars of any organization. They toil under severe time constraints and consistently changing scope, making things happen with unbelievable ease.

Let’s be honest: Being part of such a project team is exhilarating in many ways—and at the same time it’s exhausting, too. The adrenalin rush that comes from constant interaction with super performers and delivering the unthinkable is very satisfying to many employees. While the rewards are outlandishly attractive, such project teams also bring in special pains to organizational well-being. Interpersonal conflicts invariably arise out of such teams—even if they may not contribute toward unsettling the general project goal.

However, project leaders will have to spend a substantial amount of time and effort to address these hurricanes in their march toward project success. Researchers have found that interpersonal conflict is an important occupational stressor with far-reaching organizational consequences resulting in abysmal project results.

It has been found that moderate levels of interpersonal conflicts are perceived as a sign of a healthy and constructive work environment. However, higher incidences of interpersonal conflicts are viewed as detrimental to individual, team and organizational effectiveness (Jha, 2010). The …

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