Managing Conflict Tools of the Trade
Learning Objectives • Better understand conflict from a leadership point of view. • Acquire new tools for successfully managing conflict situations.
Norman Rockwell The Scoutmaster A picture of . . . what?
A perfect night, a perfect camp site, perfect Scouts • A Scoutmaster in contemplation of perfection, serene and satisfied • A Scoutmaster who appears utterly competent and in control - OR -
. . . are these the only moments of peace and quiet the poor man has all day – when everyone else is unconscious?
Where was Norman Rockwell . . . • When the Boy Scouts were poking the bear with a stick? • When Cub Scout parents were screaming about the outcome of the Pinewood Derby? • When the Varsity team was arguing over officiating of the basketball game? • When the Venture Crew could not agree on anything about their weekend adventure?
Leadership . . . • Is easy when everything is going well(or when everyone else is unconscious) • Usually involves managing conflict by finding common ground among people • Is providing tools for people to settle their own disputes • On rare occasions, involves making unilateral decisions
Exercise • Get with a partner. • One of you make a fist (yes, you have to decide who [first lesson]). • The other has 2 minutes to convince the one to open that fist.
Exercise Results • Get with a partner. • One of you make a fist (yes, you have to decide who [first lesson]). • The other has 2 minutes to convince the one to open that fist. What happened? Was anyone successful?If so, how?
What Were Strategies? • Bribery? (I’ll give you money.) • Concern? (It’s better for you.) • Persuasion? (If we both have open hands, we’re on common ground.) • Interest? (What’re you hiding in there?) • Straightforward? (Please just open your fist.) In a law-abiding, nonthreatening world, we can’t make anyone do anything they don not want to do.
Basic Conflict • How do you convince a 5- or 6-year-old to put away toys and take a bath? Give me suggestions. • What if that doesn’t work? What if the child digs in and refuses. Do we have to resort to a “power over” scenario (time out; take away a toy)? • Think about employer and employee, or about Scout Leader and Scout.
In managing conflict , . . • be aware of yourself • be aware of others • set the scene for cooperative resolutions
Be Aware of Yourself • Why is the issue, as it exists, important to you? • Does it really matter whether the other person ever opens the fist? • Does the child really need a bath now? • Do the Scouts really need to eat dinner now, or just some time (self-resolving conflict)? • Is the conflict a real issue, or a you issue?
Be Aware of Others • When are people most likely to do what you want, if it is something they don’t want to do? • they trust you • experience says you are a reliable leader and ally • they understand you make decisions for the good of the group • Remember “Listening to Learn.” LISTENING is the most important component of conflict resolution. Without it, you miss vital facts, beliefs, and assumptions.
Set the Scene forCooperative Resolutions • Listening attentively is essential to establish a cooperative relationship. • Think about the “Who, Me?” game and shared experiences – you were establishing common ground, trust, familiarity, understanding – connections. • Become involved – establish connections that can be used to resolve conflict.
The Most Important Question • Whenever you work with others, the most important question to ask them is: “What do you want?” • When was the last time someone asked you? • When was the last time someone really listened to your answer? • Now turn the questions around! When was the last time you asked . . . ?
Critical Questionsfor Conflict Resolution • What do you want? • What are you doing to get it? • Is it working? • Do you want to figure out another way?
Why? • Number 1 focuses attention on real needs. • Numbers 2 and 3 make people responsible to discover theirown solution (DON’T SKIP THESE STEPS!). • Number 4 allows them to invite your help. Too often, we ask 1, then skip 2 and 3, and go to a variation of 4 where we offer our solution.
Remember . . . • you can’t control the other person, BUT • you can persuade • you can offer to join forces in mutual search for a solution • you can encourage the other person to help be an active seeker for meaningful answers
Effective Communicationin Conflict Situations • There is more than just words, remember(eg, body language, tone of voice). • Ask “the most important question” with different emphases. • Manage emotions, breathe slowly, step back, focus on situation for what it is, not what someone else wants to make it.
Effective Communicationin Conflict Situations • Work in the present and future, let the past go. • Focus on solutions, rather than recriminations, (Fix the problem, not the blame!). • Any time you feel that you are not making progress, return to the four basic questions:What do you want? What are you doing to get it? Is it working? Do you want to figure out another way?
Negotiating Limits and Rules Are you “law abiding?” • Actually, tell me about how you are not; for example: • speed limits • getting to meetings on time • So, are you really 100% “law abiding”; why or why not?
Negotiating Limits and Rules • Scenario #1: I have a curfew. If I’m a “little late,” it’s OK. If I’m more than a “little late,” it’s not OK. What are the lessons? • Be clear about boundaries and stick to them. • Can both sides be involved in establishing boundaries? • What do you want? What does the other side want? Is there common ground? What’s negotiable?
Negotiating Limits and Rules • Scenario #2: Older boys hike ahead of younger and out of sight, rest, then move out again as soon as younger boys catch up – plus, it’s in bear country. What’s the problem? • safety issue • morale and team building • appropriate leadership over all participants Who wants what? Common ground? What’s negotiable?
Negotiating Limits and Rules • Cooperative Approach – engage everyone on an equal basis to find a solution – ask the “four important questions.” • Proscriptive Approach • This is what I want. • This is what I understand you are doing. • This is why it isn’t working for me. • Here’s what I need you to do.
Negotiating Limits and Rules • Proscriptive approach causes immediate change in behavior, but allows explanation and basis for decision, interaction on a healthy level, and opportunity to evolve into a cooperative arrangement. • Works best when leaders have listened and learned, been willing to communicate, cared and connected.
Negotiating Limits and Rules Be open about your understanding of mutual responsibilities and expectations; for instance:
Ideas to Share More Often • If I’m doing something that bothers you, I’d like you to tell me in a respectful way. • How will it be if we really get along? What will that be like? • If I see you’re having a problem, what do you want me to do?
Back to The First Exercise • The right words will open the fist, but it takes awareness and understanding. • Participants: make fists, then open them and shake hands – the ultimate goal of conflict resolution – find solutions that bring us closer together, rather than push us farther apart.
Learning Objectives So, do you have… • a better understanding of conflict from a leadership point of view? (YOU BET!) • acquired new tools for successfully managing conflict situations? (YOU BET!)
Is It Worth the Effort? YOU BET!
Your totem goes here Thank You!