Conflict Resolution Training: How To Manage Team Conflict In Under 6 Minutes!

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>>Hello I’m Jennifer Whitt, Director of ProjectManager.com

[Music Intro]

>>Welcome to our whiteboard session today on how to manage team conflict. One of the

most difficult things that we as project managers can encounter. It’s really where project

managers go from the hard skills to the soft skills because, in truth, a lot of it is subjective.

I want to give a few pointers that we’ve found along the way and just know that this

topic could be a series. I could literally probably write a thesis on this one topic.

But a few things to point out. The word manage means actually to control, so there’s a

decision point in a project – is this something that I want to stop, or is this something

that I want to fuel? Because there are time we want to stop it when it’s not helpful

and when we want to fuel it when it does become helpful.

So, when do we want to stop? If we’re disrespecting people- whether it’s our team members, or

vendor partners, or stakeholders, or if we’re hindering progress then we need to stop it.

It is helpful when we’re trying to get to a core issue or we’re getting to a better

result. Sometimes to actually fuel that you get a better result. So here are a few pointers

that I’ve found helpful just to get people started.

Number One: As a Project Manager you have to educate yourself because there is so much

written on teams and team conflicts so there are multiple resources you can access. The

best place to start is to Google.

Number Two: Educate your team. Just educating people to let them know that this will occur

and when is very helpful. Let the team know ‘Hey, this is normal. We’re going to encounter

it along the way it’s normal and here are some things or situations when, for instance,

there’s the Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development.

So knowing that when a project first forms and kicks off, the team members- no matter

if the people have worked together on a team or not- this is a new project and new variables

are introduced. There’s the forming of the team. There’s the storming when people start

meeting their boundaries so they start storming and maybe conflict arises over certain things.

And then, once the team exits the storming phase, they enter the norming where everything

kind of levels off and then they begin performing as a team again. That’s natural. It’s

been researched for many years and you can find a lot, again, by the Tuckman’s Stages

of Group Development. And then, knowing that different stages of the project can interject

more stress. There are things that occur during the initiating, planning, executing, monitoring,

controlling, and closing of a project. This is the PMI project life cycle.

Just knowing that in the throws of execution where you’ve executed the project and changes

are introduced, things don’t work as planned, maybe the project starts derailing, then stress

is going to occur and usually team conflict. And knowing that there are certain situations

that arise that normally stems conflict. For instance, when you’re recovering a troubled

project or trying to create a new solution where something that’s been tried and true

or has always worked before maybe isn’t working so you have to get together and hash

out things in order to get a new solution. The best thing you can do is create your plan.

By now, knowing yourself that it’s going to occur, educating yourself on new resources

and new ways to approach this, and by educating your team you come up with a plan. They say

in order to control something you’ve got to measure it. What are we measuring? If we’re

measuring something to know if we’re going to stop it or fuel it we have to know certain

things like where are we? Are we in a certain phase of group development? Are we in a certain

stage of the project or are we encountering certain scenarios? Knowing where are we in

these and knowing what typically happens. Knowing typically on this type of project

during this phase this type of conflict arises or I’ve got these teams- I’ve got the

sales and marketing and IT and we always encounter stress or conflict around these areas.

By knowing what typically happens we determine a path. According to history or reasoning

are we going to stop it or are we going to fuel it? Again, we are controlling it, we

stop it or fuel it, and then we communicate to the team. When we’re in the throws of

this and we encounter the conflict or the stress, by saying ‘Okay. Woah. Okay. Here

we are. We’re experiencing team conflict here. We know by what we’ve talked about

that we’re here or here or here. Here’s what’s happening and here’s what we’re

going to do. So it’s part of your plan and you communicate with your team along the way.

Again, we could go into more detail but, for now, these are some simple things just to

get you started.

If you need a tool that can help you know where you are in the project and where your

team conflict may occur, then sign up for our software now at ProjectManager.com.