GPM First
Chapter 5g of 59 Checklists For Project And Programme Managers (978-0-5660-8775-2) by Rudy Kor and Gert Wijnen

Manage Conflicts


Checklist 5.7

Even in the best of teams conflicts will arise now and again. They can be useful, but they can also be destructive.

Conflicts can be about goals, results and resources or about people’s behaviour and the team’s identity. Conflict can be helpful or damaging.

Figure 5.4 Conflicts can be handled in various ways


Conflicts do not always have to be resolved, but every conflict must be handled.

How to handle conflicts constructively:

  • Push through when:

    • – quick, decisive action is vital;

    • – unpopular courses of action need to be implemented for important issues.


  • Tackle the problem when:

    • – an integrated solution needs to be found and the concerns of both parties are too important to be compromised;

    • – you need to gain commitment by incorporating the concerns of others into a consensual decision.


  • Compromise when:

    • – two opponents with equal power are strongly committed to mutually exclusive goals;

    • – you need a temporary settlement of complex issues.


  • Avoid when:

    • – an issue is trivial or more important issues are pressing;

    • – you have little influence (you can see no chance of satisfying your concerns).


  • Concur when:

    • – you realise that you are wrong;

    • – you want to build up social credit for later issues.




  • Try to determine the root cause of the conflict.

  • When you think you know the issues, summarize your understanding of them and ask if your summary accurately describes the other person’s concerns.

  • Work out the difference collaboratively wherever possible.

  • No single approach is going to be universally effective.

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