Solving Conflicts and the PMI Code of Ethics

Posted on March 4, 2010 by

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“Can you believe that guy? Sales is my area—he’s just trying to make me look bad in front of the boss.” Conflicts and disagreements are commonplace in the workplace. It is to everyone’s benefit if they are quickly resolved. The third aspirational Respect standard in the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct is “3.2.3 We approach directly those persons with whom we have a conflict or disagreement.” This standard sounds more like practical advice than an ethics standard, but here it is being considered a matter of respect to directly approach someone rather than resort to other less productive behaviors. It can be easier to complain about someone else’s behavior to your friends at the office and have them agree with you that so-and-so is unreasonable or worse. Unfortunately, it likely will make the problem worse rather than resolve it. It may not be all that difficult to approach a subordinate to discuss something you disagree on. However, sometimes it is very stressful to approach a superior with whom you have a disagreement. In TAPUniversity’s Conflict Resolution course, we discuss approaching people respectfully, being logical, and listening carefully to their perspectives when we have a disagreement. As a leader, if people are unafraid to share (in a respectful manner) a view that conflicts with yours, it can lead to valuable information and opportunities.

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