Problem solving and conflict management are at the centre of any project management engagement. While the ability to effectively resolve problems and manage conflicts is a key requirement for any aspiring project manager, few have the experience, or the very least the awareness of what some of the methodological techniques developed to discuss such problem domains are.

In today’s post I like to discuss one such approach arising from and associated with the Blake Mouton Managerial Grid.

In summary, this model identifies five different styles of leadership (see diagram below), where the differentiating factors between them is where they are positioned on a two-dimensional scale with “Concern for People” on its x-axis and “Concern for Production” on its y-axis.

Managerial Grid - 1

The model is relatively self-explanatory but, in a nutshell, the five leadership styles referred  to in the model are characterised as follows:

  1. The “Impoverished” style is characterised by low concern for people and low concern for production;
  2. The “Country Club” style is characterised by High concern for people and low concern for production;
  3. The “Produce or Perish” style is characterised by low concern for people and high concern for production;
  4. The “Team” style is  characterised by high concern for people and high concern for production;
  5. The “Middle of the road” style is characterised by medium concern for people and medium concern for production.

The above model was subsequently adapted for describing five different conflict resolution styles, where the differentiating factors between them is where they are positioned on a two-dimensional scale with “Value of own goal” on its x-axis and “Value of relationship” on its y-axis.as outlined in the diagram below:

Managerial Grid - 2

The five Conflict Resolution styles referred  to in the model are characterised as follows:

  1. Competing – I win, You lose
  2. Accommodating – I lose, You win
  3. Avoiding – I lose, You lose
  4. Compromising – I win some, You win some
  5. Collaborating – I win, You win

Knowing this model will not directly help you deal with conflict resolution issues in your project. It might sound as a cliché but the truth of the matter is that there are no specific right and wrong answers to the situations we need to deal with on a daily basis. It is all about finding the best approach with which our personality and inclination can adapt to and execute in varying circumstances.

Think about it!

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