Workplace conflict comes with the territory. In any setting where different personalities are required to work together, you expect disagreements to arise. However, this doesn’t mean that petty disagreements should be allowed to grow unabated. Disagreements can be caused by opposing personalities, power struggles, role conflict, ego and pride, and performance discrepancies among other issues.
The Cost of Workplace Conflict
Leadership and conflict will always go hand in hand and as an effective manager, it is your duty to ensure disagreements are solved early before they blow up in your face. To lead effectively, you have to understand all pertinent issues around a conflict in order to resolve it. For starters, it is imperative to appreciate how conflict can bring down your business.
Take a look at some consequences of unresolved workplace disagreements:
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- Toxic workplace environment: Nothing is as frustrating as managing workers who can’t even talk to each other. Such an environment is plagued by gossip and sabotage.
Harnessing the Power of Conflict
By Kiron D. Bondale
Few of us enjoy dealing with conflict.
But shying away from conflict doesn’t work – you’ll get mediocre results from a team who focuses more on being nice than making progress, or worse, your better team members will become disengaged and actively seek new roles.
So what are some clues to alert you that you may need to step in to catalyze the chemical reaction?
Pay close attention to people’s body language. If you are frequently witnessing a mismatch between what people are saying and how they are acting, that might indicate that they are really not in favor of a direction.
If the drive to maintain team harmony appears to trump all others, that may need to be called out. A symptom of this is whenever any discussion starts to become lively, a number of team members suggest that it be taken offline (which never happens), or some other type of interference occurs to interrupt the progression of the conflict. Read the Complete Article
Power and Leadership in Project Management
By Jim Murray
Project Managers who are involved in enterprise-wide project management and are able to understand both business and IT requirements are highly sought after individuals whose compensation is well above the average salary of a professional employee. While being a Project Manager is an exciting and rewarding career choice because of the high profile corporate projects, variety of projects and the exposure to staff at all levels, it does have its drawbacks. At many companies enterprise-wide project managers are working on “make or break” projects that will either give the company more market share, increase revenue or it involves performing high risk activities such as moving data centers or employees to another building that could impact production and service level agreements. Because of the risk involved, a PM of these large projects must succeed as their head is on the “chopping block” if the project is not implemented on time and within budget. Read the Complete Article
Why Building Trust Is Key to Managing Conflict in Virtual Teams
By Richard Lepsinger
Managing a virtual team is both rewarding and challenging. Flexibility, decreased overhead costs and freedom to work from any place in the world are certainly attractive advantages, but the lack of face-to-face interaction can make critical managerial responsibilities like conflict resolution uniquely taxing.
In a virtual setting, words can be easily misconstrued, and unresolved disputes between team members can significantly hinder a team’s ability to efficiently and productively work together. Conflict isn’t inherently a bad thing; in fact, it can actually strengthen your team if you’re able to work through it in a constructive way and reach a positive resolution.
What’s destructive is the resentment and lack of unity that unresolved conflict can cause within your team. No virtual team can avoid conflict entirely, nor should that be the goal. However, you can strengthen your team’s ability to manage conflict by developing stronger interpersonal relationships. Read the Complete Article
Dealing with Difficult People
By Kerry Wills
Every place I have worked at has their share of “difficult” people. These are people who seem to enjoy making everyone else around them miserable. They yell, they berate others, and they look to find fault in everything. To top it all off, somehow they even move up the management chain and get into positions of power.
I have found several techniques to work with difficult people.
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- Maintain composure – The worst thing that a PM can do is to react to a situation, which will empower the difficult person even more. Stay calm.
Learn what sets them off – Hopefully there are others who can advise on triggers, otherwise it becomes a (painful) learning process. Identifying these triggers will allow you to tailor your approach to be conscious of them.
Focus on the facts – People have a hard time debating the facts and this way the conversation focuses on that versus the people themselves.
Three Dangerous Routes and a Proposed Safe Route for Dealing with Conflict
By Ammar W. Mango
There are dangerous yet tempting routes many take in conflict resolution. Here are three dangerous routes to avoid:
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- Immediately be biased to your side of the issue. For example: if I am a supplier team member and there is a conflict between the client and the supplier, I immediately start looking selectively for facts that support the supplier’s point of view. Same happens if I am on the client side. Both sides of course feel justified in what they are doing as they need to protect their interests. Long term, the interests of both sides are served when a fair resolution is reached, regardless whether supplier or client is at fault. This is not theory, this is reality proven from what happens in real life. If a supplier is known to take a defensive position and to point fingers to client regardless if he is at fault or not, then he will become long-term out of favor with clients and will gain a bad reputation.
8 Tips for Handling Difficult Emotions
By Ray W. Frohnhoefer
Back in April, we looked at 10 necessary skills for handling conflicts that occur during the course of a normal project. This article expands on one of those skills in particular – handling difficult emotions. And to further clarify, this is not directly about handling your emotions (though you need to do that as well!). As the Project Manager, you should remain calm and in control at all times. This is specifically about managing the emotions of others that are in conflict.
When conflict gets out of control and the two people or parties in conflict cannot resolve the situation without help, emotions can often set up a barrier to solving the issue at hand. You need to break down this barrier and defuse strong emotions in order to get on a solid path to resolution.
One important step is to gain an understanding of the parties in conflict. Read the Complete Article
10 Necessary Skills to Resolve Project Conflicts
By Ray W. Frohnhoefer
Ever have your project conflicts get far out of hand? Needless to say, conflicts are a normal part of life. Often they stem from interpersonal issues. There are many other sources, though, including disagreements on requirements, design, work assignments, technical disagreements, and more. With appropriate management, conflicts can be healthy for organizations, promoting change and innovation.
I think it goes without saying that conflicts are always best resolved at the lowest level of the organization or project team. Normally that would be the two people in conflict. But sometimes it’s possible they cannot resolve the issue themselves and as Project Managers, we need to step in. Here are the 10 necessary skills all Project Managers should have to be able to successfully resolve conflicts and harness the benefits:
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- Provide the right Emotional Temperature: Maintain a positive attitude and choose postures that radiate positive energy.
10 Tips for Handling Conflict
By Susanne Madsen
Conflict is a situation where people have contrasting feelings, needs, perceptions and interests. It often occurs when people feel they are losing something they value. This could be anything from material to immaterial possessions, such as ideals, standards, aspirations, reputation, status or self esteem.
As a project manager you are more than likely to come across situations of difficulty and conflict. The more complex and high profile your project is, the higher the likelihood may be. Disagreements can arise between a group of stakeholders and yourself, or it may be that several stakeholders disagree between them and that your role becomes that of a mediator. In some cases your stakeholders would have already worked together elsewhere, and any personal disputes between them could flare up as political clashes on your project.
Disagreements are likely to arise as a consequence of unexpected changes on your project, or during the initiation phase, when the foundations have to be agreed upon. Read the Complete Article
Project Management: Manage Your Team
By Jose Medina, Northwest University
Within the life of a project, a project manager should manage member performance. The purpose of this is to track performance, provide feedback, and offer any assistance that the member might need.
A project manager has various ways of tracking member performance. For example, scheduled performance reviews are an opportunity for the manager to learn how the member is feeling and discuss any concerns the member might have. Performance reports are another example of how a project manager can track employee performance. For example, is the team member completing tasks on time or constantly tardy? A third example of managing team members is by observation. Working with the member or watching at a distance can offer the project manager an idea of how the member is utilizing his or her time.
Unfortunately, conflicts will arise when teams are formed and it is up to the project manager to work through the issues in a productive way. Read the Complete Article