The Brandeis GPS blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Tag: conflict resolution

How to keep the peace and move projects forward in the workplace

Conflicts of interest are common, both in professional environments and daily life. It is important to know how to handle them, in order to get along with and move forward with the people around you – especially as a project or program manager. The ability to accommodate others is a vital skill that all successful business professionals should possess.

Resolving conflicts has become increasingly complex with an increase in virtual teams and the globalization of project management. Virtual teams must approach conflict resolution differently as cultural differences, interests, and values can all influence negotiation strategy and tactics.

Conflict Resolution Word CloudBrandeis GPS will be offering Negotiating and Conflict Resolution during our Fall 2 session, starting in October. The fully online, 10-week course will provide students with a framework to understand the basis of conflict, select an appropriate conflict resolution strategy, and employ tactics that optimize results for both individuals and organizations. During the course, students will explore different characteristics of negotiation including the two fundamental strategies, frames of reference, value creation, value claiming, and the impact of both tangible and intangible factors on the negotiation process.

The course will highlight the challenges that virtual teams present at each stage of the conflict resolution process. Negotiation is a soft skill that benefits from practice of the concepts in addition to learning the theory, so extensive role play of virtual group negotiations are incorporated into the course.

By the end of the course, students will have the skills to develop a systematic plan to negotiate with colleagues, bosses, clients, other stakeholders, and external groups of all kinds. They will be able to:

  • Analyze the characteristics of a negotiation situation and develop strategies for conflict management
  • Execute the fundamental strategies of distributive bargaining
  • Analyze different positions taken during a negotiation and handle hardball tactics
  • Prepare for communications in negotiations and analyze the opponent’s communication tactics
  • Identify frames in negotiation, managing emotions and perspectives, and identifying cognitive bias
  • Apply power to strengthen negotiation and manage influence during a negotiation process
  • Evaluate ethical and unethical tactics
  • Execute culturally responsive negotiation strategies

At Brandeis GPS, you can take up to two courses before enrolling in one of our 12 online Master’s degree programs. If you’re interested in exploring the MS in Project and Program Management, or would like to learn more about negotiations and conflict resolution as part of your own professional development, contact the  GPS office for more information or to request a syllabus: 781-736-8787, gps@brandeis.edu, or submit your information.

Improve your negotiating skills

Whether or not you’re a professional project manager, negotiating skills are crucial to the success of any project, small or large. When working with others, conflicts will always arise, but being able to control these situations and find “win-win” solutions that work for all parties involved is an incredibly valuable tool. Yet, negotiating is not an easy task and requires a wide range of strategies and skillsets. For example, you might need to create values by encouraging open communication between parties and finding shared interests so that both sides get something out of the situation. Changing your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) to boost your bargaining power in a negotiation is another useful tool.

To help project managers and those interested in conflict resolution acquire new negotiation skills, Brandeis GPS offers an online Negotiating and Conflict Resolution course that provides a framework to understand the basis of conflict, to select an appropriate conflict resolution strategy, and to employ tactics that optimize results for both individuals and organizations.  As part of the MS in Project and Program Management  degree program, this part-time, fully online course will explore several approaches to conflict resolution that differ among collocated and virtual teams. Students will also understand how cultural differences, interests, and values influence negotiation strategy and tactics. Topics will include:

  • Value creation and value claiming
  • BATNA strategies
  • Ethical and unethical negotiating tactics

By the end of the course, students will develop a systematic and positive approach to negotiating with colleagues, bosses, clients, other stakeholders, and external groups of all kinds–in ways that equip you to deal also with all kinds of conditions and circumstances.

Those interested in the course who do not yet wish to pursue a full master’s degree can still participate. At Brandeis GPS, you can take up to two online courses without officially enrolling in a program. This is a great opportunity to get to know our programs and approach to online learning. View our full course catalog here, and preview our spring 2017 courses here.

Questions Contact our enrollment team at gps@brandeis.edu or 781-736-8787.

Brandeis University’s Graduate Professional Studies division (GPS) is dedicated to developing innovative programs for working professionals. GPS offers 11 fully online, part-time master’s degrees and one online graduate certificate. With three 10-week terms each year, Brandeis GPS provides exceptional programs with a convenient and flexible online approach. Courses are small by design and led by industry experts who deliver individualized support and professional insights. For more information on our programs visit the Brandeis GPS website.

Creating an Environment of Leadership

by: Johanna Rothman

Find the original post here.

I bet you have some problems that have been problems for a while. Or, you want to influence other people to change. You need an environment of leadership, because you can’t do it alone.

Here are three tips to creating an environment where everyone can lead:

Tip #1: Share the problem.

When I work with technical and managerial leaders, I find that they have this idea that they are not supposed to share problems. They may have a boss who believes that once he or she delegates the problem, that unique individual must solve it alone. Or, they might coachingfeel as if it’s not fair to share the problem–that somehow people will take time from their work to help with “my” problem. Or, they have never considered that much transparency.

You can’t ask for help on all problems. Sometimes, when you are a manager, you need to keep HR-type problems private. Maybe you have a fiduciary responsibility to the company, and you can’t share that data.

But, here’s an idea: if you have this problem, chances are quite good other people know about the effects of the problem. You are not the only one living with this problem.

Kim, a program manager, could not understand how to help her teams. They could not discover their interdependencies in time to know when to develop which features. She wrestled with this problem for a couple of weeks.

At our coaching appointment, I suggested she raise the issue to the team leads. She could say, “I see this problem, and here is the effect it’s having on me. Can we solve this together?”

She did. The team leads also felt the pain. They decided to reduce their planning scope, planning for no longer than a month at a time. They used stickies on the wall to see their interdependencies and create interim milestones. As a side benefit, they had to reduce their story size to meet their milestones.

Tip #2: Ask for multiple solutions.

Notice that the team leads helped solve the problem in several ways:

  • They took responsibility for part of the problem.
  • They decided to reduce their planning scope. That helped, but alone it wasn’t enough.
  • They decided to work together, to create a sticky-based planning session.
  • They reduced story size because they realized that having large stories prevented them from working together.

If they had implemented just one of these solutions, they might not have solved the problem.

Tip #3: Ask for help assessing solutions.

Some of the leads wanted to implement their solutions right away. Adam, one of the leads said, “Hold on. I want to see if this is going to work with my team. I’m not sure we can reduce our story size. Let’s involve more people.”

When he shared the proposals with his team, sure enough they were concerned about story size. One of the team members said, “We need to work with our product owner to 0x600-636x310understand how to split our stories better. We can’t do this alone.”

It took them several iterations to learn how to split stories small enough that they could commit to their interdependencies. The team might have resented the solution if Adam had not checked with the team first.

Share your leadership. You will create an environment where everyone leads.

More Learning With Johanna

If you liked these leadership tips, learn more at The Influential Agile Leader. Gil Broza and I create a safe learning environment where you can experiment. We teach experientially, so you have a chance to practice and reflect on what you learn. Please join us at The Influential Agile Leader. The early bird price expires Feb 15.

I’ll be at the Booster Conference March 9-13. I have several workshops and talks:

See my calendar page for all my workshops and speaking dates.

Johanna Rothman

 

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