Sometimes, my observations are so obvious and simple that I can’t believe I did not have it figured out and set in stone already. Like this one – dual ownership is a path with a single, determined destination: disaster.

At work, whenever there are two people leading a project, it is often counter production than otherwise. Leadership requires vision and a certain standard of operation. These basics are not only difficult to bridge but also lead to clash of titans and possible back channeling to make ends meet.

I have been in a similar situation before and have thought of ways to productively counter it.

Assigning roles:

If there are multiple projects and clients, the easiest way out of chaos would be to split projects and assign roles; one leads and the other is a deputy. The leader gets to implement his vision, and the deputy accepts lead.

On a personal front, it is much easier, courtesy pre-defined gender roles imposed by our society and culture. There can be grey areas, especially the ones surrounding financial territory, which can be handled with communication. And tactful nagging. Or just nagging.

Reallocate resources:

Too much energy and too small a channel? Then it’s time to involve higher-ups or get creative and design channels. Dual ownership might come across as a challenge but it can be a blessing in disguise if you use the time that has been freed productively to create. Step back and think what you can create to improve processes, efficiency and delivery time, and you have a project!

With your better half, focus on getting things off the list and enjoy the freed time with each other. Ask a person in a perpetually long distance relationship (like me!) how valuable time together can be, in case you have it in abundance and are not feeling particularly grateful.

Know what not to do

You and Manager 2 might be working on your relationship at a personal-managerial level, and need to keep in mind certain off-limit actions en route. To begin with, keep a unified front when meeting third-party stakeholders and clients. Second, focus on your strengths and deliverables instead of belittling the other. Trust me, I know the charm of walking ahead but negative energies don’t benefit anyone – not even yourself. Lastly, avoid dual reporting. Make sure that all the team members of the project should report to one project manager only.

Similarly, if you are supposed to approve candy nights, make sure it is known to your children so that they don’t make puppy faces and sneak away candies from their soft-hearted daddy.

Conflict management is an art that is crucial for development and team work. The sooner we wrap our heads around it, the easier it’d be to manage issues before they become irreconcilable problems.

Last word, no matter how massive the urge, stay positive, be nice to people and don’t hurt someone while trying to get ahead.

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