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be able to understand issues, propose solutions or methods of resolution, and lead the
conflicting parties to a place where the project can continue without ongoing resentment or
other feelings of mistrust.
For conflict to be healthy and flourish and produce desired responses the PM must provide
leadership and an environment where communication is open and non-threatening. This will
allow constructive criticism to thrive without becoming a personal attack. In such situations
it is necessary for the PM to first communicate the intent of the environment and the ground
rules for team culture. The PM then needs to lead by practicing what has been preached by:
displaying the ability to accept criticism; not taking the conflict personally; and, being able to
actively listen to those in the team expressing their opinions. The PM needs to be persuasive
to ensure that the culture is developed and thrives. This requires patience and tact so that
issues are approached diplomatically.
Communication competencies are essential when managing conflict that could be damaging
to the project. It is necessary for the PM to be decisive, to be clear in communicating the
message, and to ensure that information flow is secure, received, and understood by all the
parties involved within the conflict.
Negotiation is used mainly within the intervention lens of the conflict hourglass model, and
requires significant communication competencies, though the need to be able to complete the
negotiations is a set of competencies to themselves.
Negotiation can include negotiating: agreements; designs or construction; coordination across
boundaries within the organization; and, collaborating with clients (Kellogg et al. 2002). A
PM’s role is like a fulcrum about which all the activities and personnel involved in the project
hinges. Needless to say with complex projects and contracts to back them up, there are going
to be issues with diverse opinions and interpretations by the different parties engaged. Each
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This document was uploaded on 01/22/2014.
- Winter '14