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Creative Conflict Management

Creative Conflict Management. 1. Objectives. To recognize the inevitability of conflict To develop a proactive approach to conflict management To focus on achieving win-win outcomes To learn and practice negotiation skills. 2. How Is Conflict Defined?.

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Creative Conflict Management

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  1. Creative Conflict Management 1

  2. Objectives • To recognize the inevitability of conflict • To develop a proactive approach to conflict management • To focus on achieving win-win outcomes • To learn and practice negotiation skills 2

  3. How Is Conflict Defined? A state of disharmony between incompatible or antithetical persons, ideas, or interests. American Heritage Dictionary Opposition between two simultaneous but incompatible feelings; a state of opposition between persons or ideas or interests; a disagreement or argument about something important. WordNet 3

  4. Conflict: Myths and Reality 1. Conflict is usually dysfunctional in Agree _____ Disagree _____ a work environment. 2. Workplace conflict is inevitable. Agree _____ Disagree _____ 3. Conflict often reflects communication Agree _____ Disagree _____ breakdown. 4. Most conflicts can be resolved. Agree _____ Disagree _____ 5. If avoided, most conflicts will Agree _____ Disagree _____ eventually go away. 6. Conflict can help build relationships. Agree _____ Disagree _____ 7. Conflict can be a motivator for Agree _____ Disagree _____ positive change. 4

  5. Conflict: The Facts • Conflict is inevitable • Most conflict can be managed • Your style of interacting with others will be a determining factor in whether or not you will successfully manage conflict 5

  6. Conflict: More Facts Conflict, managed in a healthy way can result in: • personal and professional growth • improved relationships • better communication • increased morale and productivity Conflict, managed in an unhealthy way can result in: • distrust • violence/aggression/ anger • withdrawal • decreased morale and productivity 6

  7. What’s Your Conflict Management Style? Aggressive Assertive Passive 7

  8. Negotiation Specific approaches, skills and techniques that focus on transforming conflict into productive interactions with a win/win outcome. Win/Win 8

  9. Assertion • Assertion is a key skill for the management of conflict • Needs are clearly stated in a direct, respectful manner • Speaker takes “ownership” of the need or want • Speaker does not intimidate or deny the rights of others • Speaker maintains self-respect while demonstrating respect for others 9

  10. Assertion Message Describe Behavior: When.... Express Effect: I feel...I think... I believe... Specify: I would prefer... I would like it if next time you would... 10

  11. Communicating Your Reaction to Another Person’s Behavior - An Example A co-worker has the habit of leaving things on your desk – from half-empty coffee cups to notepads. You have asked this person once before to please be sure to remove any items that belong to him. But he keeps doing the same thing. What do you do now? You go to the co-worker and say . . . “When you leave your personal belongs on my desk . . .” (My reaction is) “I get annoyed . . .” “Because I either have to throw your things away or take the time to find you to give them back.” What I want to happen is: “I would really appreciate your making sure you take everything with you.” 11

  12. Communicating Your Reaction to Another Person’s Behavior Word has gotten back to you that someone you work with has been gossiping about you to others. This is not the first time this has happened. However, you have never felt comfortable raising the issue directly with this person in the past. This time you decide to say something. When you __________________________________________________ (My reaction is) ______________________________________________ Because ___________________________________________________ What I want to happen is ______________________________________ 12

  13. Managing Conflict through Negotiation Negotiation is back and forth communication designed to reach agreement between people who have some goals that are shared and others that are opposed. Effective negotiation requires excellent verbal communication and listening skills. It is most effective when the parties can reach a win-win outcome. 13

  14. Why Bother to Negotiate with a Win/Win Outcome in Mind? • Productivity, morale and quality of work will improve • You’ll get help when you need it • Conflict can be managed, if not resolved • You’ll experience less stress • You’ll maintain important relationships 14

  15. Before You Begin, Ask . . . • Is this issue negotiable? • Am I (or are the parties involved) willing to work toward collaboration? • Is there a value to negotiation in this particular situation? 15

  16. The 7 Steps of Negotiation • Describe the conflict or problem. • Listen to the other person’s point of view. • Ask questions; gather information. • Focus on the goals you share. • Look at possible outcomes. • Select a solution that will best achieve the shared goals and that is fair and workable. • Establish criteria for checking results. 16

  17. Case Scenario: Rita’s Perspective Rita and Chris, share responsibility for preparing an important report. Rita is very concerned about completing a draft of the report early enough to allow sufficient time for careful review and editing. She feels that most people wait until the last minute to get the work in and then sacrifice quality since they don’t have enough opportunity to improve the writing or to correct all errors. She thinks that she is a better writer than Chris and feels that he doesn’t have a good sense of how a report should read. 17

  18. Case Scenario: Chris’ Perspective Chris is meticulous about gathering all of the data needed for the report. In fact, he considers himself far more thorough in his approach than Rita. He also thinks that Rita tends to focus more on style than on content. As far as he is concerned, having a well-written report is important, but a responsible person certainly can’t consider style more important than making sure that all important information has been included. 18

  19. Case Scenario: The Conflict Chris and Rita can’t agree on a time line for the report. Rita insists that he turn in all of his information at least one week before the report is due so that she can be assured of enough time for review and rewriting. Chris argues that this will not give him enough time to recheck the data and determine if anything is missing. Rita becomes angry and accuses Chris of being “lost in little details” and not being able to “see the forest for the trees.” Chris is equally angry and accuses Rita of being willing to sacrifice accuracy for appearance. He claims that her approach to the work is superficial and will result in a lower quality product than he could complete on his own. Rita and Chris’s mutual hostility grows until neither one is able to produce quality work. 19

  20. Steps 1-3 of Conflict Management • Describe the conflict or problem. • How would you describe this problem to an outsider? • 2. Listen to the other person’s point of view. • What is Rita’s point of view? • What is Chris’ point of view? • 3. Ask questions; gather information. • If you were Rita, what questions might you ask Chris? • If you were Chris, what would you ask Rita? 20

  21. Steps 4 and 5 4. Focus on common goals Do Rita and Chris have any goals in common? If so, what are they? 5. Look at possible outcomes What are some possible ways to handle this conflict? 21

  22. Steps 6 and 7 6. Select a solution that will best achieve the goals of both parties and that is fair and workable. What are some possible solutions you can offer to Rita and Chris? 7. Establish criteria for checking results. If Rita and Chris test a possible solutions, how will they know whether or not it works? 22

  23. Special Situations: Handling Your Own Anger • Recognize/acknowledge your anger • Be clear about what are appropriate and inappropriate expressions of anger • Stay focused on problem solving • Take time out if needed 23

  24. Handling Other People’s Anger • Try hard not to take it personally • Acknowledge the other person’s anger • Listen carefully • Try to maintain privacy • Ask the other party to sit down • Keep your voice calm • Don’t be judgmental 24

  25. Know When to Intervene Start of Slow Down Intervention Take Off Cool Off Problem Solve • Identify the other person’s anger • Acknowledge the anger • Allow its expression, as appropriate • Intervene when appropriate 25

  26. Case Scenario: Handling Anger You just got off the phone with an angry client who was unhappy with work performed by your organization. He insisted that you correct it immediately. When you indicated that you would have to review his requests with your supervisor, he yelled: “I don’t have time for this.” Then, he hung up. What are you feeling? What should you do next? How can you deal with your anger about the situation? If a similar situation happens again, how might you handle it in order to calm the caller down and prevent him from hanging up on you? 26

  27. Know When to Ask for Help • You can’t handle the situation alone • You can’t be objective • A participant in the conflict poses a threat to himself/herself or others • The situation has the potential for considerable damage to your organization 27

  28. Summary: Tips for Managing Conflict • Be proactive; anticipate • Communicate assertively • Keep dialogue going • Never assume conflict will just “go away” • Stick to a model for conflict management • Focus on a win-win outcome • Practice • Know when to get help 28

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