Anyone who works in project management will tell you that conflicts can occur at any time and between anyone who is a part of the team – including the clients. The way in which you deal with any conflict that does occur is important as it can make or break aspects of your project and even have an impact on how you move on. Training for project managers will have already taught you a lot but here we look at a few ways in which you can deal with conflicts.
Take a moment to think
The first step after any conflict has arisen is to take a moment; it is never a good idea to react to the situation until you have had a quick chance to consider your options.
Depp breathing will help to calm you down and make it easier for you to think clearly. Once you have done this you will be able to consider what your options are and whether you are reading more into the situation and taking it personally.
If the conflict has brought everything to a standstill then you need to find a way to allow things to continue whilst you investigate.
Address the issues in private
It is always better to address the issues that have caused the conflict, no matter how they have come about; email, on a call, in person or during a meeting, in private. If the conflict did occur in a public arena, then state that it will be dealt with in private and request those who were present to move on. Looking at the conflict privately will allow any parties involved a chance to give their side of things, honestly and openly without others interrupting or making this hard for them.
Decide how to deal with the issues
Just as you need to make the decision to deal with any issues in private you will also need to decide which medium to use to do this. In-person is often the best choice as this way it is possible to read body language if this is not possible then a video call is preferable. Choose the right medium for the situation and the people involved.
There are some people who simply prefer to deal with things in a written format so that they can consider what they say carefully. In this instance, it is important to be aware of what you write as it could be referred to later.
Offer everyone a chance to have a say
Once you have found your medium it is important that everyone involved has a chance to have their say in the matter if you want to solve the issues fully. This can also help to clear the air. Give feedback as you go to show you are listening and remember to use “I” statements to discuss things for a less confrontational conversation.
Above all it is important to accept that sometimes the benefits of project training will only help so much and it is not possible to solve a conflict without involving someone else such as HR.