5 Conflict Management Strategies For Project ManagersReading Time: 3 minutes
Conflict Management is one of the most important part of any project manager’s job. When there are people, there are bound to be conflicts. It is a critical skill a manager must master in order to be successful in his career. In our experience we have clearly seen most new project managers do not have an understanding of this subject and do not have any formal knowledge on how to deal with conflicts in teams. They tend to deal with them in their own way leading to greater conflicts and team disarray. If you are in a startup and you are leading small teams this is a good starting point.
One of the top measures of how good a project manager you are is based on how well you can handle conflicts.
Let us understand in this article the characteristics, sources, resolution techniques and some unique tips coming out of our collective management experience at Global Management Mentors. These are time tested techniques that will work well and you may not find them in books.
Characteristics Of A Conflict
- Conflict is a natural phenomenon where there are a group of self-willed people. Software development teams are typically faced with a number of conflict points
- Conflict need not always be negative. Positive side of a healthy conflict will yield exceptional results, take people out of their comfort zones and help people come together. All of this is possible when the conflict is handled well
- Conflicts are fueled by team’s predominant emotions
- Conflicts are contagious if not resolved quickly
Sources Of Conflicts
In a project there will be many source points for a conflict to arise. As a project manager you must understand the possible areas in which major conflicts can arise
Conflict Resolution Techniques
Skills The Project Manager Will Need
In his much acclaimed book – Working With Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman (Suggested reading) talks about the need for developing a high degree of EI quotient to be able to be a good leader. He goes on to say that
One great anatomical legacy of the human need to band together is neocortex, the brain’s topmost layers which gives the capacity to think. The adaptive challenges that matter most to the survival of species are what lead to evolutionary changes in that species.
Operating in a coordinated band whether it be a working corporate team or a roving groups of protohumans demands a high level of social intelligence skilled in reading and handling relationships.
A manager must be adept at building social intelligence. The neocortex as it is today has a sophisticated understanding of the group dynamics and interprets the data in conjunction with the emotional signals. So a manager must be able to combine facts and emotional aspects to make the right decisions.
- Learn the art of collaboration
- Social intelligence is critical to your success. Especially if you lead engineering teams.
- Learn the ability to understand the human context and team dynamics and use it in conjunction with the facts
- Model team qualities like respect, helpfulness & cooperation
- Look for win-win resolutions while keeping in the mind the best interest of the organization
- Do not be biased and be objective
These attributes will help you learn the art of conflict management. Over time, you will get better at it. Make sure you have a mentor who can coach you on these aspects.
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