Conflicts within the team is inevitable. How the project manager manages this conflict will make the difference between creating a better team or creating a bigger chasm. Staying calm and balanced will prove to be a challenge, especially if there are strong personalities involved. As annoying and time consuming managing conflict is, it is an important part of being Project Manager.
• Understand that conflicts can be constructive but can not become something personal. Let your team know from the get-go this attitude, but that anger or frustration is not the desired outcome.
• Keep it short. The longer it stews, the uglier it gets and mole hills become mountains to deal with.
• Identify things the conflicting parties agree with so there can be some common ground. It will give something to build on.
• Keep the team focused on the ‘what’, not the ‘who’, it will keep personal biases quiet.
• Go for the ‘win-win’. Base your decision on a consensus, so no one feels completely undermined. Help your team members understand the meaning of accommodation. Consensus can take time.
• That being said, make the difficult call if you need to. You’re the project manager; if one party is bent on absurdity, the responsibility of the success of the project rests on you.
Good luck on the success of your project and your team!