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Recovering from Project Conflict

In time, project conflict for the PM or IT staff member is inevitable – and so is conflict recovery (since conflict management will only get you so far). Drawing on insights from Anthony Mersino’s Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers, Bruce Harpham offers significant advice to help the most important person in any conflict. That person is you.

Managing Stress

As one might expect, the single most important thing to manage is stress. It may not sound like a revolutionary idea, but oftentimes stress management is a simple matter of exercise, as Mersino writes:

Previously discussed techniques include prayer and meditation. My coach is a big believer in using breathing techniques. The point is that there are a lot of different ways to reduce stress and I encourage you to experiment until you find one that works for you. On the other hand, if you are one of those people who thrive on stress and intentionally create it in your life, what I write here won’t matter much to you anyway.

There is something odd about the person who enjoys working long, hard hours for little extra achievement or pay. If you feel that stress is an essential part of your work equation, ask yourself why.

The Impairment of Conflict Emotion

Additionally, pay attention to your energy levels throughout the day. Chances are if you are a flesh-and-blood human being, you’ll gradually lose the ability to handle those minor conflicts and interpersonal hurdles (yes, even with coffee!). Mersino recommends backing away, taking a break, or even going home. Anger and frustration are like physical impairments – you wouldn’t drive while intoxicated. It’s essentially the same phenomenon.

Other Techniques

But sometimes abstinence just isn’t enough. There are other techniques that will increase your ability to decompress. Putting conflict emotions into writing is an excellent way to analyze your situation so you can consciously step down off the ladder of anger. And who could argue with taking a brief (or extended) vacation? The sooner you’re back to the stable version of yourself, the sooner you can return to being a valuable asset to the project, and a source for conflict management, not escalation.

To read the full post, visit: http://projectmanagementhacks.com/conflict-management-recovery/#sthash.Hz8DLg1b.Y0R8hlad.dpbs

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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