Conflict is unavoidable when it comes to projects, regardless of the type of project or the bonding of the team. Since conflict can arise in any circumstance, project conflict resolution is one of the key skills that every project manager must master.
To resolve a conflict, a project manager must understand and learn how to manage tasks and resolve conflicts simultaneously. Now that said, What is a Project Conflict?
As you may be aware, project management is concerned with managing multiple activities performed by project team members, one of which is project conflict resolution.
A conflict is most likely to arise when people are interacting with each other. In most cases, the reason for a conflict can be due to simple consequences like disagreeing with one’s idea, arguments, a lack of communication, and other such aspects.
In this article, you will be introduced to a few Conflict Management approaches that will help you manage your project conflicts more effectively.
Like discussed earlier, conflicts can arise due to differences in interests, ideas, and opinions. When one does not agree to compromise with another’s thoughts, conflicts tend to escalate and might as well get out of control. Rather than fighting and arguing about one another’s interests, it is considered wiser to adjust to a certain level, consider others' opinions, and find a relevant solution.
A well-practiced skill in conflict management is assured to keep disagreements away from distorting the project flow. The main objective of managing conflict in project management is to prevent disagreements from escalating and, most importantly, to consider everyone’s opinions to reach a collaborative conclusion at the end.
Conflict resolution can be advantageous for professionals in multiple career paths, not just project managers. Project managers will be able to conduct discussions successfully and analyze them to improve team understanding by using conflict resolution techniques to help them decide how each suggestion should be considered by the team.
Practicing conflict resolution involves adapting different methods and techniques like active listening, emotion regulation, effective communication, and more. Following are some of the best benefits of practicing conflict resolution:
After discussing the significance of conflict management and conflict resolution techniques, you may now clearly understand their advantages. In fact, based on the conversation above, you may already be aware of the advantages of conflict management.
Now that you understand the significance of conflict management, it is time to discuss the best approaches to managing conflict effectively in project management.
The following are the five approaches to conflict management that one can practice to effectively manage conflicts.
– Conflict Management Approach 1: Accommodating
Managers that wish to appear reasonable in their decision-making take an accommodative strategy, which is low on assertiveness but strong on cooperation. When a manager adopts this approach, it shows that they are open to compromise, desire to build goodwill among all parties, and are peacemakers.
But managers run the risk of coming across as weak, unsure, and unable to accept change if they make too many accommodations. A manager's position can be strengthened by accepting flexibility when problems have been precisely and succinctly articulated.
– Conflict Management Approach 2: Compromise
A compromise approach to dispute resolution finds a solution that is agreeable to all parties while being moderately forceful and cooperative. Both groups can claim success because a middle ground has been reached.
Too much compromise can give the impression that you have no strong moral principles, while not enough compromise can result in more power struggles and conflicts. The major objective of the compromise-type conflict management approach is to discover common ground and keep the connection going.
– Conflict Management Approach 3: Avoidance
Conflict is likely to be completely avoided by managers who don't want to deal with it. Using this strategy, both the manager's and the other person's concerns are disregarded, leaving the problem unresolved. This strategy can be helpful on occasion when a problem needs to be solved later or if a dangerous circumstance arises. If this strategy is overused, issues might worsen, possibly erupting or preventing open conversation.
The avoidance technique is used for three reasons, according to the University of California, Berkeley: "(A) acknowledging that we might have contributed to the situation, (B) having the willingness to change, and (C) admitting oneself to ridicule or rejection."
– Conflict Management Approach 4: Competition
The opposing approach is used by those who are committed to their beliefs and objectives. This strategy, which relies on acting from a position of strength, authority, or power, can be helpful in an emergency when a quick choice needs to be made or to settle an unpopular problem.
Misuse of this approach, however, can stifle worker empowerment, undermine learning, and prevent feedback by displaying aggressiveness but providing no cooperativeness. This approach is best used only when all other methods have been tired up.
– Conflict Management Approach 5: Collaboration
Managers may decide to cooperate by exhibiting a high level of assertiveness and collaboration with the aim of showcasing unity. This approach is the most successful but also the most challenging approach to handle differences. Hence, this method is preferred when there are disagreements between two parties but everyone agrees to cooperate in the completion of the task.
To find a solution by tackling the root of the issue, it takes trust and dedication from all parties. It is necessary for all parties to be ready to feel each other's pain and make an effort to comprehend everyone’s conditions. This collaborative method, which is time-consuming, may result in one partner being taken advantage of while trivial concerns receive major attention and personal duties are neglected.
Differences in interests, attitudes, and values can lead to conflicts. When people refuse to make concessions to the ideas of others, disputes can worsen and even spiral out of control. So, it is certain that a well-honed competence in conflict management will prevent conflicts from impairing the project's flow.
Due to these uncontrollable occurrences of conflicts in a project team or a group, it is very important for the managers to practice conflict management and conflict resolution. Every manager can use this to ensure that valuable communication is provided to project team members.
To conclude the overall objective, it should be noted that the main goal of conflict management in project management is to stop disputes from getting inferior and, more importantly, to take everyone's viewpoints into account in order to reach a collaborative conclusion at the end.
Aspirants willing to get Professionally Certified in Project Management can enrol in Sprintzeal’s PMP Certification Training Course. For any other queries regarding the courseware, training, and certification, candidates can reach out to Sprintzeal’s course executive or request a callback for complete assistance.
Visit Sprintzeal's all course page to learn about all of the other professional certification courses and trainings available, as well as to determine which certification training is best suited to your skill set in order to land your desired job role.
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