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Agree with several of the comments here...listening is the start to any conflict resolution. Since as the PM you tend to be the arbiter of conflict, it's important to make sure the two parties are communicating.
Often the conflict stems from simply not actually being able to communicate. Remember that talking isn't the same as communicating. I frequently experience employees that are genuinely trying to get to the same end state but cant seem to communicate what their needs are.
There are many techniques to manage conflicts:
1. Withdraw - Avoid
2. Smooth - Accomodate
4. Force - Direct
5. Collaborate - Problem Solve
1. Empathy first! Try to understand the reasons behind the conflict. Often conflicts can occur due to differing personalities that may not be the preferred combination for a team. Logical thinkers perceive and approach situations differently from emotional individuals.
2. Creating a sense of trust with the involved parties will be essential. If one party involved does not trust that they are being heard then all other actions will be futile.
3. Help to build a common understanding of the different thinking of each involved for a shared trust among all. No one wants to be the problem, but if they feel like the victim, the stance to resolution will be hostile.
Before trying to resolve a conflict a Project manager has to :
1. Identify the cause of the conflict
2.The 5 difference modes of response are:
Competing - this is an assertive style which is also not co-operative
Accommodating - this is the self-sacrificing mode. Used too often it may make you appear 'too soft'
Avoiding - this can involve postponing the response or staying away from conflict.
Collaborating - this is a pragmatic approach where you dive in and take an interest in the resolution
Compromising - moderately assertive response where both parties have to adjust.
A Project Manager has to demonstrate qualities of Emotional intelligence when communicating with team members and stakeholders like:
Besides he has to focus on the behaviour and not the person. He has to listen to both sides of the story.
Conflicts happen and we should not try to stay away from them but rather communicate openly and resolve them
One thing to nail on the head - High EQ (Emotional Quotient). This is certainly something that can be groomed as we grow up (as compared to IQ which can tend to slow down along the way). A person with good EQ can certainly deal with the situation better compared to that of lower EQ. It is the "One minute manager" that is the need of the hour and the one that always wins a confrontation or conflict for a win-win situation.
Just started using the discussion forum here and good to learn lot of new stuff, as I see Technique for conflict management is well defined in PMP which also addressed in earlier answers. The learnings from my experience would like to share is, any conflict in a team is always begins "due to a difference of opinion about an issue or a solution". Conflict solving is always little easier only when we solve it at "Difference of opinion stage" or else it becomes more complicated when the conflict moves to next level "Btw person to person ego". Using the right technique at right time is the real skills of a PM, Emotional Intelligence helps a lot in developing these skills and also by experience. Thanks.
PMBOK Guide proposes various approaches to conflict management
Personally, I think the best way to resolve conflicts is to know and practice the 7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey.
To me, it is the ability to put aside all pre-conceived notions or ideas and to try and put yourself in the shoes of the other person that potentially has the conflict.
Quite often, you realise when you do that, you find ways to justify (whether correctly or not) his or her actions, and as such find a way to co-create a win-win situation. It is not about win-lose but a common understanding and respect for each other's situation...
First and foremost, if this has already been said then please disregard as I did not read all of the comments.
The first thing to know about conflict in the workplace is that it will come.Some people try to avoid conflict, which never works.
Secondly, not every conflict is worth you time and effort so choose your battles wisely.
Also, it would be fair to say that a conflict to me, is like a storm. And much like life, storms will pass. As long as you have the character to withstand the storm (or in this case the conflict) you will be alright.
Developing soft skills can also help to deal with conflict.
Thanks for your question.
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