Conflict management resolution techniques
Conflict management is a technique project managers use to improve team productivity and foster positive working relationships. However, this doesn’t mean preventing or avoiding all conflict. When managed properly, conflict can lead to increased team creativity and better decision making.
Various causes of conflict can exist among project team members:
- technical beliefs
- administrative policies and procedures
- project costs, and
- personality-based differences
When conflict that could threaten or delay a project arises in a team, it’s the project manager’s responsibility to ensure that it’s promptly resolved.
When conflict first arises, the best approach is to encourage the individuals involved to work out the issue on their own, without the direct involvement of the project manager. If they can’t work things out, then you need to meet with all parties in private to facilitate a satisfactory resolution. If an agreement still isn’t reached and the conflict continues, the next step is to take disciplinary actions, as per the process outlined in your company’s Human Resources manual.
There are two characteristics of conflict. The first is that conflict is natural and forces a search for alternative approaches and solutions. The second is that conflict is a team issue. Conflict between two or more people in a team becomes an issue for the entire group because it may affect the work of the team as a whole.
In turn, the conflict resolution process has three characteristics:
- openness, which is key when you want to resolve conflict
- a focus on the present, not the past, and
- a focus on issues and not personalities
There are several ways to deal with conflict, and different approaches suit different situations. However, not all are appropriate for reaching long-lasting solutions. Among the approaches to conflict resolution are these six, ranging from least to most effective at achieving long-term solutions:
- withdrawing or avoiding
- smoothing or accommodating
- collaborating, and
- confronting or problem solving
You can often identify which conflict resolution approach is being used by the type of statements people make.