Unplanned Work and Resolving Conflicts


On This Tweet on re-prioritization requests:

When you get asked for a new feature that is closely related to your work, but not on the planned priority list, that is an opportunity to realign with the requester.1

Conflicts like these are not roadblocks to a good working relationship. They are opportunities to improve the relationship and understand the stakeholder better through work.

You know the saying “Do the work?” This is the work.

If this sounds like more meetings and less time with your team, don’t fret – it may be a good tradeoff.

Trust me, I know the feeling. I am impatient when it comes to useless meetings that sap your energy. But if you step into this with a concrete goal and avoid side conversations that discuss the entire roadmap, you won’t push off these meetings.

It benefits your team to be efficient at resolving these situations. But remember to learn more about how this stakeholder thinks, and what kind of pressures resulted in this unplanned ask. It will help you in the long run.

Be Mindful of Second-Order Effects

The way you resolve conflicts sets a template for people who report to you– this is a near certainty. Thus, if you avoid or leave conflict resolution to chance, that pattern will repeat elsewhere, even in your absence.

As a leader, people will pay attention to how you approach conflict. Be mindful of that.

Photo by @productschool

  1. The original article is worth a read. ↩︎