My personal experience with conflicts in projects
In my recent experience I dealt with a lot of misunderstandings and conflicts between colleagues and team members. Conflicts are rarely openly discussed and clarified in projects.
There seems to be a constant need for the management of clarification, expectations, for hopes and visions as a common process in projects.
I usullay identify the problem figures and break the archaic avoidance strategies within the teams to dissolve the crisis. I offer coaching sessions or mediation to ensure the defined project aims.
In my opinion it doesn’t make any sense to allow negative vibrations to impact the rest of the team instead of finding a solution for the problem.
If conflicts occur on a wider scale the first step can only be de-escalation to avoid disquietness in the team.
The first essential step is advandced research for the cause study. Brain storming in a small group can be very helpful.
I ask team colleagues and myself the following questions:
- Was the staffing for the team/team roles appropriately done?
- Is the project planning and time schedule realistic and the communication about the main topics clear?
- Do team members and teams understand project objectives and is there a commitment for the goals of the project?
- Are the project objectives clear and realistic?
- Are the divisons of the responsibilities in the project properly split?
- Are all relevant stakeholders involved in the project?
- Is this the appropriate organisational structure for the project?
- Is this the appropriate communication structure for the project?
- Is the technical equipment appropriate for the project?
- Do the teams need more professional training or sponsorship?
Once a conflict is escalating, I create a negotiating level between the conflict partners.
This can take place at a designated area – to assist with a conversation in order to help with a respectful treatment between the opponents. After the mediaton the two opponents should have a sufficient space for their problem solutions but not to involve the rest of the team.
If the whole team is involved I will ask for a team review.
Once the result of the team review shows the issues clearly (the cause of the problem might be known before and the review is only for validation to ask for further support from the Steering Commitee) the measures to be taken can be
- assistance by professional coaching or
- mediation or teambuilding acitivities
as good solutions.
Are single persons emerging as a key problem within the team the person should be consequently dislodge from the team.
This measure is an important signal for the rest of the team to curb out tiny political games and to invite everbody being a constructive team member and treating everybody appreciative and communicate openly.
What is you personal experience by the way – we appreciate your sharing of it!