Conflict in a project team is inevitable, in fact, for synergistic solutions to be achieved, a variety of approaches and ideas are needed. Conflicts within a team, although normally viewed with a great deal of trepidation, can be good or bad. Good conflict according to many people, however, sounds like an oxymoron. How can conflict be possibly good? When it assists the team to identify possible ideas, conflict can be good. For example, while working on our project we argued over the best way to minimize the cost for the project. The differences in opinion fostered productive discussions.

Conversely, a war of words, over why a certain project information was not shared among team members also arose. The open dislike for each other among team members was an example of a bad conflict. This created a distrustful environment.

How does the team plan to manage these conflicts? The team intends to approach each conflict as an opportunity for learning. In addition, we will encourage exploration of new ideas, which may be met with some opposition initially, but could finally lead to a new and superior approach. This approach will encourage team members to take more chances, experiment more and present innovative ideas.

One of the key strategies the team will adopt to handle people with negative attitudes is improving communication skills. Bad attitudes result if we cannot communicate our feelings, thoughts and frustrations. This makes some of the team members to feel misunderstood and not fully represented. To ensure these bad attitudes do not negatively influence the project, the team will try to detect and solve any misunderstandings early and up front. Open communication will also help to defuse and decipher interpersonal situations.

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