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Managing Conflict

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  1. Managing Conflict Julie Combs, EdD Asst Professor & Consultant, Ed Leadership Sam Houston State University jcombs@shsu.edu

  2. Welcome and Introduction • Welcome • What experiences/qualifications do you have? • Why did you come to this session? Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  3. What you Get • 1 Enduring Conflict Mgmt Skill • 2 Tools to build on the past • 3 Styles/Strategies • Self-Reflection Activities • Partner Activity Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  4. Getting Started: Identify a conflict • Think about the last few weeks. • What was one conflict that you observed between 2 people? (secretary, teacher, parent, school board member, etc) • Describe the situation on paper. Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  5. What is conflict? • Simply energy in the system; People add meaning • Chinese symbol for crisis: danger and opportunity • Stems from perceived competition for limited resources: power, success, Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  6. Metaphors • Conflict is like storm. • Conflict is like a garden. • Conflict is like running a marathon. • Conflict is like the waves at the beach. • Others? Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  7. Interpersonal or Cognitive? • Interpersonal conflicts: About People Waste energy & time Unproductive • Cognitive conflicts: About Ideas Separated from people • What about your conflict? Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  8. Using Cognitive Conflict as a Resource : Why? Facilitated Conflict about IDEAS: • Fosters improvement • Leads to better decisions • Guards against apathy • Increases buy-in • Produces Energy and Action Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  9. Strategies to Facilitate Conflict about IDEAS 1. Reconsider your labels and language (grade inflation vs. defined assessments) 2. Remove yourself from the center 3. Give equal time to Content & Process Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  10. Tool #1 Dissect the Conflict • What was the conflict about? (the facts) • Whom did the conflict involve? • What were some of the feelings/emotions? Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  11. Apply • Review the conflict you identified earlier. • Dissect the conflict: • Facts: Who, What, Why • Feelings or Emotions Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  12. Tool #2 Look Below the Surface Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  13. Common Roots of Conflict • Values • Agendas or Priorities • Work styles & Personalities • Miscommunication • Can you think of others? Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  14. Apply • Review the conflict you identified earlier. • What are some of the possible roots for the conflict? Values, Priorities, Styles, Miscommunication Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  15. So What • How does identifying the unseen/unspoken help? • How does writing and dissecting the conflict help? • How does sharing the conflict help? Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  16. Dilbert Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  17. The #1 Conflict Mgmt Strategy? • What might be some of the more effective strategies? The #1 Conflict Management Strategy is……. Do you agree or disagree? Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  18. Most Irritating Listening Habits • Interrupting the speaker • Eyes looking elsewhere • Multi-tasking & Distracted • Finishing the speaker’s sentences • “Yes, but….” • “That reminds me of the time I…” • Forgetting past conversations • Asking too many questions about details Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  19. Helpful Listening & Paraphrasing • I care • I am trying to understand • “So you’re thinking that…” “You feel sad because…” • Listen for content • Listen for feeling • Avoid “I hear you…” Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  20. Partner Listening…. • Groups of 2 • Person A: Who are great listeners? What do they do to help you talk? How does it make you feel? • Person B: Listens, Paraphrases , Questions • Focus on Listening Skills and Paraphrasing, not the Content • At Signal, switch roles Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  21. Best Reasons NOT to Listen • Ignorance is bliss. • My boss (or spouse) might expect it all the time. • I prefer asking for forgiveness versus permission. • I can be more creative when I have to fill in the blanks. • I forget what I will say if I listen. • The Legislature doesn’t, why should I? Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  22. Conflict Strategies or Styles • List the names or initials of 3-5 people that are important to you (family, co-workers, boss). Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  23. Competition • Getting what you want is more important than the relationship • Not concerned with needs of others • One person wins, one person loses • Feel pride & accomplishment as the winner • Feel weakness & inadequacy as the loser • Attack, overpower, overwhelm, intimidate, outwit Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  24. Accommodation • Relationships are more important than your goals • Want to be accepted and liked • Believe that conflict damages relationships and hurts others Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  25. Avoidance • Give up your goals and relationships • Stay away from conflicts • Believe resolution is hopeless • Sometimes feel helpless • Believe it is easier to withdraw Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  26. Compromise • Moderate concern with your goals and relationships involved • Willing to give up part of your goals and want others to give up part of theirs • Middle ground, both gain something and both give up something Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  27. Collaboration • Value your goals and relationships • View conflicts as problems to be solved • Seek solutions that achieves both parties’ goals • See conflict as way of improving relationship by reducing tension • Want tensions & negative feelings resolved • Want a solution that satisfies both Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  28. Conflict Management Styles Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  29. Applying Styles • Withdraw when issue & relationship is not important • Force when issue is more important than the relationship • Smooth when relationship is more important than the issue • Problem Solve when both are important; takes time! Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  30. Your Best Investments • “Because conflicts occur continually and because so many people are so unskilled in managing conflicts, learning how to resolve conflicts constructively is one of the best investments you can make.” (Johnson, 2000, p. 261) Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  31. An Illusion? The greatest problem with communication is that illusion that it has been accomplished. George Bernard Shaw Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  32. Summary • Dissecting, Beneath the Surface, Listening, Conflict Mgmt Styles • On your paper, list a few things that you plan to apply/remember. Managing Conflict Julie Combs

  33. More information • Contact: Julie Combs, jc@evalresearch.com Stacey Edmonson, se@evalresearch.com Sandy Harris, drsandy@flash.net Managing Conflict Julie Combs