You've taken over a project that requires you to work in a small group of co-workers that you're placed in charge of. Co-worker A (we'll call him Jim) is worried that you'll ignore all his ideas in favor of Co-worker B's (we'll call him Adam) ideas. While this may seem like a very childish fear and ultimately could become an issue to the productivity of the group, do not write off Jim's fears. Has Adam had preference in projects over Jim in the past? Empathizing with Jim's fears can help you better manage any conflict that may arise between he and Adam. So, what can you do to manage this better?
Preventative Measures: Give both Jim and Adam - as well as any other members in the group - time to voice their ideas, comments, and concerns. Remain attentive and ask questions, make insightful comments and offer suggestions. By being actively involved in the discussion, you can make everyone aware that their ideas and opinions matter, even if they may not be the ones you end up using.
Damage Control: Jim's voiced his concerns, and now things have begun to heat up between he and Adam. Unfortunately, you find yourself siding with Adam's ideas rather than Jim's. What can you possibly do? For the immediate time, it's probably best to separate both Jim and Adam. Take Jim aside and ask him to calmly explain why he thinks his ideas are better than Adam's. Make sure you actively pay attention to what he is saying and see if he makes any valid points. If he does, see if there is a way you can incorporated some of Jim's ideas into the project. If you find that Jim's ideas simply don't work for your project, tell him. While he won't enjoy the sting of rejection, you need to be firm about what is best for this project. Encourage him to keep brainstorming on both this and future projects, though.
Credit: Nathan Branch