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Managing Conflict (Constructively)

Managing Conflict (Constructively)

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Managing Conflict (Constructively)

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  1. Managing Conflict(Constructively) Dan Clark Director Montana State University Local Government Center May 2011

  2. www.dispair.com

  3. Human Continuum Strongly Agree Strongly Disagree • Dogs are the best animal companions • Women are better drivers then men • U.S. gun laws are too strict • Drug pushers should be executed • Conflict is a natural condition of being alive

  4. Consider, based on your experiences, how conflict can function in negative ways? . . . . positive ways? How did conflict ultimately result in something good?

  5. Discuss the following • Describe a conflict that turned out negatively • Describe a conflict that turned out positively

  6. Conflict itself is normal. It is what we do during conflicts that makes it beneficial or harmful.

  7. www.dispair.com

  8. Conflict is inevitable, But combat is optional ~ Max Lucado

  9. www.dispair.com

  10. My favorite simple conflict definition: Perceived goal interference among interdependent parties. Adapted from materials developed by Dr. Steve Daniels, USU Extension

  11. Why I like this definition so much… • Understand the goal interference…. • Understand the accuracy of perceptions…. • Understand the nature of the interdependence, and …. • You have gone a long way in understanding the situation.

  12. What happens when conflicts are not managed well? • In a work group • To the individual

  13. Sources of Conflict Values Substance Style

  14. If Conflict keeps coming back…You are in the wrong circle! Information: data, misinformation, not enough information, withholding information Emotion: feelings, ego, self-esteem, interferes with reason and listening Values: deeply rooted beliefs, religion, politics, ethics

  15. Process (Relationships): who has authority, are we peers, how are decisions made Style: communication style, group versus individual, directive vs. collaborative, in person vs. electronically, structure vs. fluidity Substance: scarce resources, money, time, space, equipment

  16. www.dispair.com

  17. Conflict Strategies High Competition Collaboration Compromise Concern for Self Avoidance Accommodation Low Low Concern for Other High

  18. Conflict Strategies • Avoider • Accommodator • Compromiser • Competitor • Collaborator

  19. What’s Your Style? • What are the problems with relying on one style? • What is the right strategic approach to this problem? • Intention versus by accident!

  20. Managing Conflict Define the Problem * Ask the other person what the problem is * Restate * Say what you think the problem is * Establish ground rules CRU Institute 2005

  21. Conflict as Opportunity • Good governance requires tension • Conflict leads to better decisions • Shift to a Learning Stance • Stop arguing about who is right • Stop blaming and judging • Separate the person from the problem • Explore each others stories • Move from certainty to curiosity

  22. Effective Listening Exercise • Pair up with someone • Shorter of the two speaks first • Talk for 2 minutes about any topic you chose • Listener must listen – no questions, no response • On my signal, switch

  23. Our Default Conflict Management Styles • Teapot - Passive aggressive. You take it until you explode. Pretty common • Schemer - Back channel communication • Creampuff - Over accommodative • SNAEP -Sensitive New Age Extension Professional

  24. Develop a Personal “Roadmap” for Improvement • We can all improve our conflict management behaviors. • What each person needs is unique to them, and changes over time and setting.

  25. Fundamental Techniques • Establish Ground Rules --negotiate procedures • Propose a “learning” perspective. --don’t jump to solution • Make trust overt. --earn it, don’t assume it • Share information --model interest disclosing

  26. Thank you! Questions? Comments? Dan Clark, daniel.clark@montana.edu MSU Local Government Center 406-994-6694 www.msulocalgov.org