I think conflict is a reality for all project managers, and so often they are faced dealing with the impact or consequence for the decision they make during conflict situations. There are plenty of rules related to dealing with conflict but just because I am a woman, one specifically stands out, and that I need to check myself against is to NOT become emotionally involved. Objectiveness is one of the big advantages of being a professional and priding yourself in doing the right thing. As soon as we lose objectivity we lose the ability to remove ourselves from the conflict and looking into the real issues. And when we are emotionally involved, we are definitely not objective.
I am amazed that conflict so often become personal points of race, gender, the have and don’t haves whilst the real issues are left unchecked and untreated. We debate with so much vigour our rights and justify our actions and we assume people will see the passion we have for the cause, but in reality most people on the outside look into the inner circle of conflict and see stupidity, selfishness and pride. We miss the point and fight each other, whist we could be working together to address the problem. The win-lose or lose-lose scenario.
Take a team related sport for example. If we act selfishly we reduce the team’s potential by pegging it at an individual’s capability level. When we lose sight of the ball and try to take out our opponents, we get penalised and send to the sin bin and the entire team loses. Why is it that we understand this so perfectly in a sports environment, but forget this in nearly every other area of our lives? How long will we ignore the real issue in hand and attack those we think oppose us by reverting to a destructive as opposed to upliftment attitude. Sure we all in conflict and we do not always like the way we are treated, or the way we are being paid, or the way we need to work or…or…or.
Dealing with conflict requires a servant attitude. One where you remove the emotions from the situation, deal with the real issue and try to uplift others in the process.