by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Project Manager : Project Manager June July 2013
32 Project Manager "If disruptive con ict has emerged between two co -workers, a manager can try to encourage the parties to work out the issue themselves," she says. "Sometimes the manager will need to mediate between the two parties. In serious cases, where the con ict is extreme -- such as involving bullying -- an appropriately trained intermediary may be required." To help team members work out why con ict is occurring and how to move on to a more productive stage in their relationship, established management frameworks are invaluable. "Such frameworks are useful mostly because they help move the source of con ict to a non-personal, non-threatening space," says Metz. "In addition, clear, timely and relevant management feedback that focuses on the task rather than on the person is a non-threatening way that managers can try to mediate. e key is not to focus on a team member's personal attributes because, once that happens, the team member is likely to become defensive and non-receptive to constr uctive feedback." See clearly It is essential to recognise the nature of any problem from the outset. "If it's a performance issue, then the problem should be addressed by giving corrective feedback about the problematic behaviours, and not as a personality con ict issue," Parker says. "It is common to mix up performance and personality, so managers may attribute a challenge to the personality of the other individual, when in fact the focus should be on the work behaviour and perfor mance of the other individual. Managers have a right to expect certain levels of performance from people they manage; they don't have a right to expect people to have particular personalities." Look on the bright side Nonetheless, an element of tension in the air between the diverse ar ray of stakeholders involved in any particular project isn't necessarily a negative. In fact, if it's managed correctly, what begins as con ict can lead to better communication, enhanced trust and improved overall project performance. "It's likely that people from di erent occupational and educational elds will approach certain tasks or problems di erently," says Metz. A team's diverse approaches to problem solving need not be negative if members are respectful of each others' di erences and avoid doing battle. "Di erent approaches to tasks or problems are bad only when people start viewing others as 'us' versus 'them', and consider the approaches used by members of the 'us' group to be superior to the approaches used by members of the 'them' group," says Metz. "It is inevitable that people from di erent elds will approach things in a di erent way -- and that is a good thing," agrees Parker. "A great deal of innovation occurs when people come together from di erent perspectives to jointly solve a problem or create something new. So diversity and di erence should be welcomed.” • •• WHEN DIFFICULT RELATIONSHIPS SPELL PROJECT DISASTER There are thousands of examples of how difficult stakeholder relationships have spelt disaster for projects. "Organisations bring together necessary differences in interests -- for example those responsible for innovation and those responsible for cost containment," explains Professor Greg Hearn, co-author of Organisational behaviour: life at work in Australia, and Director Commercial Programs, Creative Industries Faculty at the Queensland University of Technology. "Situations cause conflict more often than personalities." Hearn cites his recent experience working on a major project to build a complex IT system as a case in point. "The project manager was seeking to integrate some of the clients into the development team, so they could better understand client needs," he says. "However, this inadvertently introduced a felt conflict of interest in the clients, who wanted to cooperate, but believed their most important role was to keep the development team honest and accountable for costs and contract delivery." "They felt integration undermined their ability to be objective and impartial." Toxic relationship dynamics can affect everyone in a team, and effective relationships must be built before situations become personal conflicts. "Maintain the relationship environment," Hearn advises. "Champion transparency and, where possible, use win/win contracts such as alliance contracting."
Project Manager Apr May 2013
Project Manager Aug Sept 2013