Conflict is a good thing.  It means a difference of opinion. You need that in projects. When conflict occurs, be strategic!  Identify the cause, Analyze, then Select the Strategy to manage the conflict. See 2 min video:


Often people think you need to immediately stop the conflict, jump in and separate the people.  That is old school.  As described in the video, the top 5 conflict management strategies include:
  1. Problem Solve
  2. Compromise
  3. Smoothing
  4. Withdraw
  5. Forcing

New best practices are to enhance passion, confidence and trust in a dynamic team environment. Projects are full of change, risk and diverse resource interactions.  An environment needs to exist and be promoted where people will not take things personally, the opinions raised are just that, thoughts about how things can be done based on your own perspective.

People will always have different opinions and perspectives since each person has differences of:
- experience
- knowledge
- education
- culture
- vested interest
- personality
- priorities
- capacity
- level of confidence
- etc.

So you as a team leader, have to seperate out the emotions and have active, passionate discussions about what is best for the project.  Problem solving demands innovative thinking and it will never come if all of us are on the same page and in the same tunnel.  Break through ideas that are a Win-Win come from building off each other in active discussions, debates and disagreements.  Be patient and don't walk away from conflict, understand that you will get through it and the project will be better for it.

The English language far too often associates negative connotation with powerful words, go against that norm, associate the word Conflict with positive aspects, such as "Passion, Enthusiasm, Desire to do the Best, Not willing to accept something if you don't fully understand, Desire to voice your opinion, Innovation, Questioning, etc".

Dont forget............ after the conflict ends and the decisions are made how to move forward, the Team Lead must ensure all people accept the path the team is going forward with, especially if your opinion is not followed.  You cannot hold regret or bring it up in future or use the "I told you so" - pounce on that and eliminate any of that or you will never have a trusting, collaborative environment. You must ensure all will move together when decisions are made at that point in time. Even if in the future you see it was the wrong decision, this way you can adapt even quicker to the right path and have less debate since you have been through much of it already.

Ahhh, working with Humans, never a dull moment!!!