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New Manager Project Management

5 Conflict Management Strategies For Project Managers

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Conflict Resolution.

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

sources of conflict

Conflict Resolution Techniquesconflict resolution

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.

If you have specific questions and/or you are  seeking guidance on a management problem or you want to find resources on a certain topic you can write to us at mymentor@globalmanagementmentors.com

5-conflict-management-strategies-for-project-managers

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The authors are senior managers at startups and product development companies. They come with extensive experience in leadership and management of global engineering teams to deliver high quality software products. Each of them are extremely passionate about these topics . They mentor and train project managers on leadership and management.

4 Comments

  1. Scott

    Great post. My former manager was terrible at handling conflict. It’s unfortunate he doesn’t have this information. It would greatly increase his effectiveness. The infographic is a great. It conveys a lot of information in a simple and effective manner. Thanks.

    • admin

      Thanks for the comments and I am glad the format has helped convey the right message

  2. James

    Thanks for such an interesting article. I’m still studying, but especially as I’m hoping to go into an Engineering-based field of work initially, and hopefully work my way up as efficiently as possible, this is definitely something I need to start working on now. I’ll definitely be trying to take note of the need to build social intelligence to both build strong working relationships and collaborate more effectively! Great advice.

    • admin

      Thank you Jeff for the comment and I am glad you found it useful . Please do not hesitate to contact us for any questions or mentorship you need.

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