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Fight or Flight?

When disagreements break out, things can heat up and the once-disagreement can turn into an unprofessional fight. So how to deal with the situation so it doesn’t involving the breaking of any bones or end in bitterness?  Lynda Bourne has the answers in this PMI blog.

It’s a Survival Instinct

We know of fight or flight as “one of the most basic of survival strategies.” So when we feel threatened, a lot of energy is built up inside to prime us for fighting. This emotion is “far more powerful than rational thought.” Keep in mind that when a fight breaks out, chances are it is for personal or emotional reasons. We get it. Sometimes our emotions take over. However, eliminating the personal and emotional aspects of the fight will make the fight professional and based on rational discussions of information. Bourne advises:

The easiest of the conflicts to manage is where a stereotype is involved. You simply have to distinguish the specific person from the overall stereotype. For example, if a team member has an issue with the project management office (PMO), you can say: “Yes, everyone from the PMO is an interfering bureaucrat focused on wasting time by gathering excessive detail. But Mary from the PMO is different; she’s really a ‘project manager’ and can make your job easy.” In this scenario, you simply highlight Mary’s positives and distance her from the PMO stereotype.

Resolving the Issue

There are a number of ways to deal with the situation. One is to let each of the parties express their anger in a controlled environment. Hear both sides out. However, this may get out of hand and become difficult to control once a person has let out their anger. Another way is to have a one-on-one discussion with each party and then deliver messages back and forth. This eliminates the fighting, and once understanding is mutual between both, then they can be brought in together for a face-to-face discussion.

To read the full article, click here: http://blogs.pmi.org/blog/voices_on_project_management/2014/05/fight-or-flight.html

About Sabrina Hanapiah

Sabrina Hanapiah has a degree in IT from Penn State University. She did web design and article writing for CAI's Accelerating IT Success.

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