Conflict in projects is inevitable. Unfortunately is often uncomfortable and for some groups it is considered unproductive. Consequently, creating a harmonious working environment, one in which there is no conflict is often considered the ideal.
Let’s take a look at this from another point-of-view. Many people think that a relationship, such as a marriage, is successful when two people get along so well that they never argue. Sounds good, doesn’t it? But psychologists tell us that some amount of conflict and even arguing is productive, not unproductive. They maintain that it is through conflict and the resolution of conflict that individuals are better able to work through problems and reach a mutually acceptable solution. With no conflict and no arguments, small problems can often become large problems, and large problems can lead to failure.
With that said, let me make a very bold statement. After studying countless project success and project failures, and after 40 years of professional project management experience, I can state unequivocally that one of the critical success factors in project management is conflict. Yes, conflict is critical to the project management. It must happen. But after it is out in the open the conflict must be resolved.
How we do that is a challenge.
First, it is important to recognize that we are all different. Some enjoy conflict and others are conflict avoidant. For some, the only way in which conflict can be resolved is by compromising and therefore giving something away in the interest of achieving peace. Others are quite adept at collaborating with others. They are flexible, their ‘opponent’ is flexible and very product resolution is achieved. And for a small percentage of people, any form of negotiation is off the table. When a conflict occurs, they fold their arms and refuse to move. As one of my clients put it “I have worked darn hard to get where I am in the company and I know what I want.” Fortunately people like that, with extreme positions are rare.
How do you deal with conflict? What is your conflict resolution style? What styles might other people use? The answers to these questions can be instrumental in understanding how you move through a conflict situation and in understanding the other person’s conflict resolution style.
For many people this understanding eliminates many of the pitfalls usually associated with conflict.
The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) is used to determine your preferred conflict resolution style. It separates styles into five categories and through a series of thirty questions places you none other categories.
Global Project Strategy offers a introductory coaching session available to individuals or groups. First, you complete the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument and once it is scored you schedule a one-hour telephone coaching session with Barry Shore.
The cost for this session including the $25 fee for the TKI is $150. Follow-on coaching sessions, either on a one-on-one basis or group basis can be arranged after this initial session.