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mag
2010/07/31 06:50PM
Conflict Management Lesson Learnt      Number of views: 3163
I have been working on this post for two days, and each time I read it then, I modify the contents and the title, I’m so unhappy from the final result, and I want to share this situation with you but, I have to be subjective as much as I can. Anyway, here you are my last version of this entry
Recently, I had a personal conflicts with a colleague I’m not going to tell the details, as it’s really long story, but, I’m going to discuss the outcome from what I have been into, but, let me first tell you a brief description of my role in the Ministry of Finance,
PMBOK describes my Organization Type as a Functional because; the Project Manager’s rule is like a facilitator or coordinator and the PM doesn’t have any kind of authority over resources (materials, funds and of course, humans), and I was really impressed that this description fits my role, but, wait, I have other roles as well, sometimes, I’m engaged with other roles such as analyst, trainer, technical supervisor, mentor even sometimes, developer (Oh yeah, this is one of my roles), anyway, I love my job and I always try to improve it as much as I can. So, what happened here that, I had several personal conflicts with him and I repeat PERSONAL, and my older colleagues (peers as well but, in different functional areas) tried to fix this situation with Smoothing, Compromising and, Withdrawing (all are Lose – Lose situations)… oops, I went so far, let me explain first what are those terms :)
Smoothing:
PMBOK states that: Smoothing is emphasizing areas of agreement rather than areas of conflict, so, basically, those colleagues tried to show how well we are and they didn’t even touch the personal conflict which I didn’t feel well, as I really was pissed off, anyway, I had to listen to my elder peers as they are very respectable and experienced as well.
Withdrawal:
Retreating from an actual or potential conflict situation, of course, this won’t help as well, come on it’s personal and I and he are working on the same project, so, it’s impossible to solve it that way.
Compromising:
PMBOK again :) states that Searching for solutions that brings some degree of satisfaction to all parties.
OK, they even tried to put each of us on a separate lane in the project and, communicate professionally, and this was my idea as the best proactive solution that time because; I had many tasks that I should supervise him as well.
So, I have tried to work professionally using emails (formal method of communications), and there were no replies maybe for days, till something happens that he doesn’t like, and voila  a reply lands in my Inbox, which doesn’t really helps the “professionalism” agreement.
Anyway, finally, the functional managers (proctorship) and it wasn’t a good result as he should be involved from far beginning in order to solve the situation, but engaging the supervisor wasn’t a good idea, as it was too late, now, after I had a meeting with my supervisor, I was so unhappy and really I had a bad weekend because of that, so, what I have learnt from this situation that, when you are working in a functional organization you should raise the flag and confront with the situation in order to have the best result which is always win-win for both parties.

 So, I want to give you the definition of Confronting: treating conflicts as a problems to be solved by examining alternatives, requires to give and take attitude and open dialogue.

So, yet, this is another Lesson Learnt.
 

Note:
Definitions are from A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge 4th edition (PMBOK Guide)