Effective Conflict Management Strategies for Stressed out Project Managers
The world of construction is filled with uncertainty, fostering stress and often leading to conflict. Project managers deal with the brunt of this conflict as they are directly responsible for the success of projects. Common problems range anywhere from poor communication to power struggles amongst team members. It is important that project managers learn how to effectively deal with these types of stressors so that they can achieve positive resolutions. If project managers implement different strategies to turn disagreements into helpful learning experiences, it can serve as a great opportunity to grow. Below I will discuss in detail the numerous conflict resolution styles and techniques that can assist project managers in dealing with problems in the workplace. Problems that occur over the course of a project will likely vary, so it is important to have different strategies for various kinds of issues that might arise.
This technique can be helpful when the project is very busy, and you need a temporary solution to smooth out a problem. When you accommodate, you look for common areas of agreement, which can show your sense of goodwill and willingness to meet the wants of another person. This strategy also gives you adequate time to find a better solution for whatever problem you may be facing. It is important to use caution when implementing this strategy as it can weaken your position as an authority figure.
Here, you look at both sides of the conflict and try to come to a solution that at least partially satisfies everyone. When both sides of the argument have valid points, this is a very useful technique to use. Compromising helps everyone to get a little of what they want, which keeps everyone calm and relaxed. This technique is often best used as a temporary solution to lessen the problem situation while you search for a better and more permanent solution.
In this technique, you meet with all parties to discuss the various viewpoints of everyone involved. Collaborating is a highly useful strategy for dealing with conflict as it brings consensus and everyone feels that their voice is heard. Negotiation aims to meet the needs of everyone and often leads to the best and fairest solution. This technique is also positive in that it creates a cordial relationship amongst everyone working on the project. The one disadvantage of this approach is that it takes a good deal of time, so it won’t always be useful in situations where you need to make a decision quickly.
Sometimes the best thing to do is to let an issue be solved by itself or by someone else who is more apt to deal with the problem. This technique can be useful in situations where the controversy is trivial or insignificant. Avoidance is another strategy that should be used sparingly but can prove to be effective in certain situations.
This strategy is when one side’s viewpoint is agreed upon and enforced. This technique is best used when the stakes are high, and you need a quick and immediate solution. Although this approach isn’t best to use during most circumstances, it is effective for emergency situations where you know one party is right.
There is no one “correct” technique for every situation. As a project manager, you need to be able to adapt to different problems and conflicts and apply the strategy that is best for each situation. In many situations, you will end up using a combination of these different negotiating styles to create the best approach. Whichever styles you go with, make sure that it resolves the problem while also respecting people and everyone’s best interest.
Some extra tips to help you deal with conflict on the job:
- — Explore all possible solutions
- — Treat everyone with respect
- — Focus on the positive in difficult situations
- — Actively listen to everyone’s point of view
- — Try to avoid taking sides
- — Above all, be flexible!