While working on a project, it is obvious to have conflicts amongst the team members. The bigger the team, the more are conflicts as the team members are from different backgrounds, attitudes, goals, and outlook. Disagreements are bound to happen. To resolve these conflicts quickly, professionally, and amicable is a key skill a project manager must possess.

Every manager has a different approach and method of dealing with these conflicts within the team. The team manager has to be rational, balanced, and ethical while resolving a conflict. This can only be achieved by effective communication, good negotiation skills, and effective problem-solving abilities keeping the final goal of the project in mind.

Project managers can use some of the below mentioned proven strategies to resolve the conflict immediately and effectively.

Forcing/Competing: This strategy is normally practiced by managers who have a dominating attitude. They look for winning the situation or an argument at any cost without being empathetic. One uses the power of position and authority to impose and force their decision. The outcome usually is a win-lose situation where one party gives an idea to the other.

This approach of conflict resolution works in the scenario where both parties are strong-willed, a quick decision is to be taken, one is in a do or die situation, and when the stakes involved are high. This approach may resolve the issue quickly but may arise again and may end up leaving team members unhappy. This should be used as a last resort for resolving a conflict.

Avoiding/Withdrawing: At times when a conflict arises, people start arguing and get into a forcing or a competing mode. Letting the situation “cool off” is the best way to handle such situations. This can work as a temporary solution for the conflicts which arise from the non-cooperative behavior of the team members.

This approach of avoiding the conflict does not help in resolving the issue immediately but one can buy some time to come up with more facts and figures to come up with an assertive and effective solution.

Accommodating/Smoothing: Also know as obliging style, it is very similar to avoiding/withdrawing method of conflict resolution. One can agree or give-in into the situation by being less assertive or by avoiding the conflict. This can be used for temparory solution for a larger benefit and later trade-off by obliging the other party.

One can take the risk of following this method only if the liability and stakes are limited and can be accommodate at a later stage of the project. At times, based on the situation and scenario, this can be used for creating good will and confidence amongst the team members.

Compromising: As the literal meaning suggests, it is a give and take method of resolving the conflict. One can be assertive in putting the point across but leaves in between keeping the larger picture in mind and for achieving the final goal. You can say that this can work as a middle ground for resolving the conflict at hand.

When the time in hand to complete the project is not sufficient and one is in a deadlock situation, choosing this method of resolution can prove wiser. Do not forget to consider the stakes while opting for this method.

Collaborating/Problem Solving: When the stakes are high and one is not in a situation to compromise, collaborate. Brainstorming, healthy discussions, collaborating multiple ideas and viewpoints leads to better consensus and commitment.

This method works as a win-win situation for both the parties in conflict. This also helps in reaching the targets and achieving the goals by providing a sense of equal and important contribution in the project.

Conclusion: With the help of free project management software, one can track the progress of the project and the team, It is equally important to deal with conflicts quickly and professionally depending on the stage of the project. Above mentioned methods can help the manager to deal with the situation effectively.

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Last Update: March 9, 2021