Office meeting with excitement

At the end of the day, we need to acknowledge humans are just that, human. Success in project management starts with human connection. To be a truly effective project manager, you must be able to establish a strong human connection with the people working on your projects. One way in which strong connections can be established is through conflict. On the surface, the idea of conflict creating strong connections may seem counterintuitive, but if you dig a little deeper, you discover that conflict can be a very powerful relationship and connection-building tool. There is no need to fear conflict because, at its core, it’s really just another form of communication management.

Many people do not like conflict because they do not like the uncomfortable conversations that conflict resolution requires; however, everyone likes the feeling of conflict resolution. Most conflicts are rooted in different interpretations of facts, not the facts themselves. Because of this, conflict resolution within a project team requires different team members to see each other’s viewpoints and actively work toward understanding each other. When handled gracefully, conflict resolution can be one of the best relationship-building tools for a project team.

The servant leadership approach emphasizes the development of workers under the leader for the betterment of the team as a whole. As a servant leader (or project manager), it is important for you to gain the trust and understanding of those working with and near you. You need to identify who you are and communicate why you do what you do before you can expect others to trust you and do the same. This is a similar analogy to when you are on an airplane and the oxygen masks drop. You must first put on your own mask before you can help others. But once you put that mask on, you are ready and able to help those around you.

There is a famous African proverb that states: “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This is a perfect adage to describe servant leadership and project management. Long-term, sustained project success only happens with input, effort, and buy-in from everyone, top to bottom. As much as you may want to try to pull the project along at your own pace sometimes, it is important to remember that projects are a team effort and that there wouldn’t be a project team if one person could do it all themselves. Teamwork makes the dream work!