From Conflict to Collaborative Conversations
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The purpose of this class is to help people develop techniques for managing conflict through productive conversations. All too often people face difficult challenges they need to resolve, but don’t understand how to engage in appropriate conversation to do so. Instead many actions or non-actions amplify the conflict.
This program will discuss and offer practice on how to engage in conversations to resolve conflict. The course relies on developing a critical thinking approach to conflict by first comprehensively formulating and then gaining agreement on the issues that underlie the conflict. Then, the program explores methods for collectively resolving the conflict to both party’s mutual satisfaction. Even in those cases where resolving conflict in a way that satisfies both parties desires, it nonetheless offers a process that can limit residual conflict.
- Exploration of why conversations are so difficult and why people have a challenging time addressing/resolving the conflict.
- New framework for how to structure and engage in conversations to resolve conflict (i.e., identifying the steps of conversational elements)
- Impediments that can undermine conversations and how they can be avoided
- Simulations and practice conversations (simulations will be assessed/evaluated according to a rubric provided in class)
- Reflect on method and conversation/identify individual strengths and areas for improvement
Conflict Management Course
Learn how to manage conflict and practice ways to achieve win-win resolutions
We use a mixture of theory and practical exercises designed to help you create more effective outcomes.
By changing what you do, what you say and how you say it, you will create changes in the other person.
Even if you don't always get what you want, you will be driving what happens between the two of you, not them.
- Working with Difficult People
- Using Honesty and Agreement
- Turning Arguments into Discussions
- Defusing Blame
- Dealing with Strong Feelings
- Delivering Bad News
- Feeding the Solution Not the Problem
- Choosing Appropriate Conflict
- Creating Win-Win
- Achieving Resolution
We tailor all our courses to reflect the needs of the delegates on the day.
We will include many of the exercises listed below, and any additional material that the trainers feel is relevant.
You will get to say why you came and what you want from the day.
This will enable your trainers to tailor the course specifically to your needs.
We start with an open discussion about difficult behaviour.
Any form of conflict creates difficult feelings in all those involved.
We will discuss the variety of difficult conversations/situations they have found themselves in, such as:
- giving clients bad news
- telling clients you don't think they've made the right choices
- telling someone they're not getting the promotion/raise
What is Conflict For?
There are many reasons to engage in conflict, but the bottom line is that the purpose of conflict is to arrive at a resolution.
In this section, we explore different types of conflict and possible resolutions.
There are many types of resolution and it doesn't always have to be win-win.
Conflict can actually be exciting and rewarding.
It can be a chance to get to the heart of a problem, rather than only focusing on the surface or obvious issues.
Most conflicts have core causes and once those are addressed, resolution becomes an option to choose rather than run away from.
Dealing with Conflict
Here we look at what happens to you in conflict situations, including how you deal with any 'fallout'.
We'll recreate a ‘conflict’ situation to demonstrate the feelings it creates and how this affects what we do and what we say.
We also look at why, as is very common, many people avoid dealing with it at all.
Delegates will look at a recent situation where they either avoided conflict and what happened or handled it badly, and what happened.
We outline the styles of behaviour that delegates find difficult to deal with.
You define your own difficult person/people and what happens when you engage (or avoid) conflict with them.
What Might Happen?
We touched on the 'fallout' earlier, but here we look at your biggest fears around having difficult conversations or dealing with a difficult person.
Why is the conversation difficult?
Is it because you really have to deliver bad news, or is it because you're frightened of the other person's reaction.
How has this stopped you from effective conflict management?
When Are You Difficult
Delegates are asked to identify a situation where they may have been someone else's difficult person.
- What did it feel like?
- How did they approach you?
- How did you respond?
- Was it resolved, and if so, how?
Here we look at a range of things including:
- Avoiding conflict as much as possible
- 'Evidence collecting' to prove your opinion
- Talking to the wrong people
- Being right while the other person is wrong
- Letting them have it between the eyes
Here we start to look at a range of options, these include:
- Figuring out what's really going on
- Deal with things as they arise
- Avoid blaming
- Build bridges
- Set clear boundaries
- You don’t have to go it alone
- Stop colluding
- Or... if the conversation defies resolution - is walking away an option?
Their Point of View
"I Understand Where You're Coming From"
This exercise demonstrates the effect of seeing the conflict from the other person's point of view.
Emotion vs. Objectivity
A pairs exercise that allows people to calm down an over-emotional person without getting drawn in.
This technique allows the other person to be heard and get their point of view across.
While allowing you to set clear boundaries and deliver a difficult or uncomfortable message.
Here we look at two different approaches.
How can we avoid the knee-jerk reactions a person can display when they feel blamed or attacked?
Conflict can be even worse when there are additional hidden agendas.
This is a simple technique of how to 'call the behaviour' without making the other person wrong.
This sounds trickier than it is!
A technique to help people distinguish between what someone does as opposed to who they are.
This can be extremely helpful when you have to deliver news the recipient doesn’t want to hear.
Here we look at how you say what needs to be said, yet avoid conflict.
How you can ask someone to do something for you or refuse to do something for them and still maintain a positive relationship.
How you can deal with the person you find most difficult on a regular basis and have things move smoothly along.
Here we will introduce some of the phrases we have collected over the years that help defuse tricky situations.
Difficult Styles and Reactions
Here we return to the lists we created earlier in the day.
You will get to discuss and practice how you could deal with some of your conflict situations using the awareness and material from the day.
We will look at:
- Defusing conflict before it escalates
- Getting clear about what outcome you want
- How to feed the solution, not the problem
- Knowing when to leave things well alone
- Making offers
- Three Wins to them and they owe you one
- Changing or letting go of your want
- Adjudicating between other people's arguments
How Do I Let Go?
Having had one difficult encounter, it can be really hard to let go of all the feelings, frustrations and residue of that, before you are able to face the next difficult or tricky situation with a clean slate as it were.
We know that it's very easy to metaphorically 'kick the cat'.
We have a brief 'in your head' exercise that demonstrates how powerful feelings can be, even when they aren’t verbally expressed.
We also look at how our feelings influence our assumptions, where we make things up and then act as though what we made up is true.
Here is an opportunity for the whole group to brainstorm about different conflict management techniques and tools they know work to deal with their own angry, upset or frustrated feelings.
Personal Take Out
Each person will identify:
- What they are taking away from the Conflict Management course
- What specifically they know they will use
- Where they will practise
We will give out Impact Factory documents to support the course.
You'll get copies relevant hand-outs to remind you of the Coursework.
Two weeks after the course one of your trainers will call to see how you are getting on.
You will have email and telephone access to both of your trainers.
You'll also have access to a course web page containing:
- Handouts used during the course
- New supportive material
- Impact Factory PDF documents
- Recommended reading
- Links to our favourite videos