Agenda What is Conflict? The Struggle Spectrum Typical Sources of Conflict Styles of Handling Conflict Conflict Management Tools Wrap Up and Questions
Discussion Question What is conflict?
What is Conflict? • Individuals and representatives of organizations bring their own preferences, histories, communication patterns and experiences with decision making • Culture – “How we do things” • Conflict is not about right and wrong; it’s about differences and is closely linked to change • You need to expect, promote and manage conflict throughout the life of the collaboration
A conflict is more than just a disagreement • Conflicts continue to fester when ignored • We respond to conflicts based on our perceptions of the situation, not necessarily to an objective review of the facts • Conflicts trigger strong emotions • Conflicts are an opportunity for growth
The Struggle Spectrum (John Keltner) • Struggles can be entered into at any stage • Stages can be skipped • De-escalation is possible at every stage
Discussion Questions • What examples do you have of conflict that was managed successfully in a group setting? What was the source of the conflict? What worked well? • What examples do you have of conflict that was not managed successfully in a group setting? What was the source of the conflict? What went wrong?
Styles of Handling Conflict IntegratingHigh concern for self as well as the other party involved in conflict. It is concerned with collaboration between parties (i.e., openness, exchange of information, and examination of differences) to reach a solution acceptable to both parties Obliging Low concern for self and high concern for the other party involved in conflict. An obliging person attempts to play down the differences and emphasizes commonalties to satisfy the concerns of the other party
DominatingHigh concern for self and low concern for the other party involved in conflict. It has been identified with a win-lose orientation or with forcing behavior to win one’s position AvoidingLow concern for self as well as for the other party involved in conflict. It has been associated with withdrawal, passing-the-buck, sidestepping, or “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” tactics
CompromisingModerate concern for self as well as the other party involved in conflict. It is associated with give-and-take or sharing whereby both parties give up something to make a mutually acceptable decision
Conflict Management Tools Clarify the issue Create guidelines for working together Create a conflict resolution process and embed it in the group’s Terms of Reference Re-visit the group’s “original dream”
Conflict Management Tools:Clarify the Issue • Often the conflict in the group is masked and takes time to manage Some people are quiet Some people stop coming to meetings • Someone needs to ask, “What’s going on here?”
Conflict Management Tools: Guidelines for Working Together • Develop guidelines for working together when initiating a group that will be working together over a period of time • These guidelines can be used by the group to ensure that both group and individual behaviour is positive and supportive of moving the group forward
Process to Develop Guidelines for Working Together • Discussion Questions: • Think of a time when you have been a part of a group or team or attended a meeting • What made this experience positive for you? • What did you like about how you worked together?
Process to Develop Guidelines for Working Together • Activity: • Have people in the group respond to the questions individually and write one idea per post-it note • Have the group theme the post-it notes into “like” categories • Name each of the categories
Example: Guidelines for Working Together • Have fun! • Focus on task and results • Listen, support and encourage • Treat each other with respect • Create an inclusive and collaborative process • Keep an open mind
Example: Guidelines for Working Together • Put it on the Table • Honouring all Voices • Energy • Get ‘er Done
Ensuring that the Guidelines are Followed • Have a discussion with the group: How do we, as a group, ensure that the guidelines are followed? Examples from other groups: • Self regulate • One member of the table mediates • Tell each other when the guidelines are not being followed • Have a visual reminder of the guidelines at the meeting (keep them up on the screen, handout at each table, back of nametags, etc.)
Conflict Management Tools: Conflict Resolution Process • Revisit the destination • Decide who will facilitate the process for resolving the conflict • Separate the conflict from concepts of right and wrong • Make sure everyone is heard • Don’t burn bridges
Conflict Management Tools:The Original Dream • Remind or ask people what originally brought them to the group: what did they want to achieve? • Get people talking about common ground, shared values and mutually advantageous interdependencies
Conflict may cause inactivity, diverted activity, confusion, undue stress or violence AND • It may also generate learning and introduce needed changes
Reflection • What learnings and reflections do I have from this session? • What are some potential actions for my Regional Network?
References • Center for Right Relationship. (2005). Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching Manual. • Robinson Jr., Jerry and Roy Clifford. (1976). Conflict Management in Community Groups. Illinois: University of Illinois, Department of Agricultural Economics. • The Struggle Spectrum. Retrieved from: http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/comm440-540/struggle.htm • Winer, Michael and Karen Ray. (1994). Collaboration Handbook: Creating, Sustaining and Enjoying the Journey. Minnesota: Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. • Yarborough, Elaine. (1985). Constructive Conflict. Illinois: Heritage Arts Publishing.