Mediation For Project Managers: Way To Resolve Your Conflicts
Conflicts arise regularly within any team or institution, and there are several options you can use to resolve them. Mediation is proven to be one of the most efficient methods to come to an agreement between parties with subsequent advantages for both of them.
Let us remind of what mediation is about and discover the ways it can be implemented in the conflict resolution process among project managers.
Numerous conflict resolution techniques imply engaging the third party. The ground of mediation is providing participants with a mediator - an impartial third person to assist conflicting parties in reaching consent. So what makes it different?
The essential component of the mediation process is a mediator who is initially neutral and does not have the competence to make or generate decisions or express his or her own preferences. He or she is not an arbitrator or a judge; therefore, there will be no evaluative judgments about any party or position.
Mediation is a flexible mechanism that allows the parties to control the process and outcomes of the dispute. Parties are the “owners” of the dispute and develop the strategy to its settlement independently. Mediator moves between parties, guiding them, and acts as a transmitter or a catalyst who contributes to finding the conflict’s best resolution, identifying and taking into account each party’s true interests.
What Causes Conflicts In Project Management
Project development is a complex process that involves a vast amount of resources, and this complexity requires excellent management skills; otherwise, it often turns into the space for conflicts. These confrontations may have different reasons and nature, but any of them can result in a disaster for the project.
Lack of communication or inappropriate behavior is a common reason for interpersonal conflicts and misunderstandings in all aspects of human interaction. In the case of project development, it also comes to pass frequently.
Some individuals may cause this problem due to their complicated nature, but a more commonly encountered ground for that is the gap in the organization. Unclear responsibilities can affect employees’ performance and tuning.
Some managers happen to put too much pressure upon their coworkers. It is unbearable to work in a constant state of emergency, and this stress often results in arguments and brawls between teammates, which also affects the outcomes.
Roles & Duties
Each employee should understand their role in the project, what they are responsible for, and what is outside their competence. If the manager defines the tasks or the areas of responsibility vaguely, it can demotivate the workers and lead to conflicts.
Sometimes a company does not want to hire an in-state marketing person to expand its business. However, it should always be in the limelight if you’re going to present your product, find new customers, and build authority.
Rather than burden your employees with extra work while working on your project, you can always order a guest post to be posted on a business blog to provide stable company growth.
When talking about project work, your result will highly depend on the perception of the work by all the team members. When this perception is different, it will influence the workflow, individual workers’ outcomes, leading to the unsatisfactory result for a manager.
It is not always fatal for the project, though. In many cases, a variety of visions and different shades of options are welcomed while developing a project. But it can also cause conflicts and hinder progress.
In project work, it is crucial to have an effective collaboration when there are constant harmony and encouragement between coworkers. It is a perfect environment, which is extremely hard to reach, though.
Most team members communicate outside the project work, and there may be interpersonal conflicts that can affect their in-company performance. Additionally, employees often lack trust in their managers and with each other.
Benefits Of Mediation For Project Managers
Some of the project conflicts can be resolved by project managers and the team itself. However, there is a more effective, efficient, and expeditious way of dealing with such issues. Mediation has become a prevalent choice for project managers, as it has numerous benefits over other conflict management strategies.
- Confidentiality. All the information the mediator receives from both parties during the negotiations is confidential and not subject to disclosure. It is one of the critical points for participants, and in some cases, for the company’s reputation in general.
- Voluntariness. Participation in the mediation process is absolutely voluntary and unconstrained, so it can be decided to withdraw from the procedure at any stage. The mediator has the same right.
- No risk for personal and business relationships. Going to court always exacerbates the conflict and destroys relations between parties. Unlike mediation, after a court decision, there are still “winning” and “losing” parties, and any partnership disappears.
- Cost-effectiveness. You do not need to spend money on legal costs, travel, lawyers. The prices are limited to the mediator’s remuneration, determined and fixed in the mediation agreement.
- Your control over the dispute. The mediator acts exclusively as a guide and creates the most productive environment for the parties to make their own effective decisions. This approach will reinforce your results, as nothing can be more influential than your own choices.
- Non-standard and flexible solutions. The parties are not limited either by the subject of the dispute or by the initially stated positions. It is possible to achieve creative, non-standard solutions that are suitable for their interests.
- Focus on your interests. The mediator directs the negotiations in such a way that the parties understand the interests of each other and realize what exactly needs to be done in order for the conflict to be fairly resolved. That is when the conflicting parties’ true interests are considered, resulting in minimization of the risk of its recurrence.
Within any team working on a serious and complex project, conflicts are inevitable. They may come from the project itself, poor organization, or certain individuals - it is a natural process. It can build or destroy the project and the team, depending on how you can cope with these challenges.
For project managers, mediation is definitely the way to go. It is a modern, non-standard way to resolve disputes, and it is a perfect option for project managers to implement in their group working on a project. When managed wisely, a conflict can become a foundation for consolidation and growth.