Conflict is universal, and you can expect to encounter it during Lean and Six Sigma project work.

While the video from Humber Health Sciences of Canada focuses on teachers and students in a hospital setting, their recommendations for managing and resolving conflicts are generic and apply to dealing with conflict in project teams.

Conflict should be dealt with as soon as possible. Avoiding it only makes matters worse.

Treat conflict positively. Realize it presents an opportunity to improve group cohesiveness by:

  • Identifying areas of common values
  • Improving group stability through shared beliefs
  • Balancing differences between extreme positions
  • Clarifying roles and structures 

Humber’s presentation lists five conflict management and resolution strategies.

  • Separate the person from the problem
  • Focus on the issues, not intent or personal position
  • Generate a variety of options
  • Base agreement on objective criteria
  • Prepare for failure before it happens

You can view Humber’s video here.

The above five strategies from Humber are reinforced by the following five strategies from Champlain University of Vermont:

  • Don’t ignore conflict
  • Clarify what the issue is
  • Bring involved parties together to talk
  • Identify a solution
  • Continue to monitor and follow up on the conflict

Champlain’s short article can be accessed here.