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Resolving Conflicts with a Coworker – Part II

Read Part I for background information on the story.

Samantha and Eric are meeting. Samantha decided that she would not focus too much on the initial team meeting as she didn’t want Eric to get defensive. She felt that by focusing on the past meeting may not add much value and rather she would focus on how they would work together moving forward.

At the start of the meeting, Samantha mentioned to Eric that she wanted to be sure that they were in agreement on how they would move forward co-managing the project. She felt that they needed to work together and agree on the best approach for managing the project in order to ensure project success.

Samantha proposed that maybe it would be best to co-manage by each of them being responsible for specific components of the project rather than each of them being responsible for the entire project. In this way, they wouldn’t have to worry about stepping on each other’s toes. Eric felt that while this would be workable, he truly felt there was no need for two of them to be managing this initiative in the first place as he has managed large initiatives on his own in the past and felt more comfortable taking the leadership role on his own for this project. He also admitted that he felt that by having to work with someone, it seemed to him that the organization did not trust his skills.

Samantha stated this was not the case at all. The organization was very collaborative and for larger initiatives, the preference was the project managers co-managed the initiative. This had been shown to increase the success of the initiative and has worked successfully within the organization for a number of years.  Additionally, she mentioned to Eric that the organization was really quite political. She told Eric that she asked that he be assigned to this project to work with her as they had successfully worked together in the past. She also felt that she would be able to provide quite a bit of support to Eric in learning about the organization and how things got done.

After an hour of talking things over, they agreed that they would work together – co leading the project – by taking on responsibilities for specific components of the project. In this way, they would be able to utilize their strengths on the project and work together effectively toward project success. However, they decided to jointly develop a plan for how they will manage their respective areas in order to ensure consistency and reduce stress among team members who would be working with both of them. They agreed that they needed to show a united front on the team.

Stay tuned for Part III – Checking In on Progress

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