Handling conflicts in the Project with a conflict manager
An external conflict manager was implemented into the “If I were in your shoes” project to ensure structured and guided conflict management during our Meetings. The conflict manager would provide both conflict management tools, moderate conflict processes, provide on-site conflict management and generally increase the internal safety of the project and its organizations. This approach led to an open handling with conflicts and a dialogue on an equal basis during the online and physical meetings.
On an organizational level the partnership and communication tools used were eventually strengthened by managing conflicts that arose. Other benefits which naturally happened as a result of actively addressing upcoming issues were improved training events according to participant experiences, a clearcut conflict management plan, a stronger sense of safety among participants during training events and a general willingness to go forward with future projects together with the other organizations.
The external conflict manager gave important impulses to unify our ideas and to benefit in the best possible way from our meetings. The presence of a mediator, both online and on-site, contributed to a balanced culture of communication. In addition, the organizations were able to fully focus their energy on their goals and the process to achieve them, instead of wasting it on conflicts. Especially in the early stages of the project, the mediator prevented conflicts from arising in the first place. Overall, conflicts are not bad in themselves, as they can lead to various improvements and benefits for all organizations involved and the project itself, if handled properly.