Conflict Management

MATERIAL: Interpersonal Skills by Levin (2010), chapter 8, p. 232

Conflicts happen every day. Whether at school, on the phone with a customer service representative, at a family gathering, or with your neighbor, we all engage in conflict in a variety of settings. But, what defines a conflict? To some, it means a very severe disagreement and even violence, while others view conflict as any difference in opinion no matter how minor. Levin’s book goes into considerable detail on types of conflicts and occurrences per phases of a project lifecycle as well ways to address and resolve conflict. As a project manager, you have the responsibility to resolve a conflict when team members are at an impasse. How prepared are you to do just that? To be successful, you need to be aware of your ‘preferred’ approach for different situations (self awareness – a part of emotional intelligence).

DETAILS: This assignment is designed to provide you the opportunity to apply knowledge gained from the references/resources and your personal experiences to a scenario addressing conflict management issues. By practicing here, the hope is that you feel better prepared to address and resolve conflict in the project environment. For this assignment, you will read through a scenario from your Interpersonal Skills book by Levin (2010) that examines what happens when a project manager chooses to avoid conflict and the repercussions of this approach.

QUESTIONS – From Interpersonal Skills by Levin (2010), Chapter 8, p. 233 (Answer all):

1. What should the project manager have done in this situation to avoid these problems in the first place?
2. Now that team conflicts are the norm, what type of conflict resolution approach would be the most appropriate for the manager to use?
3. Why do you think this manager avoided active conflict resolution?
4. If you are working for a manager who tends to avoid conflict, but you realize that conflicts are arising that are detrimental to your team’s work, what can you as a project team member do? What strategies would you use?

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