Managing Workplace Conflict

Managing Workplace Conflict: Dealing with Difficult Situations, People, and Times

Conflict is inevitable. It won’t vanish into thin air, and we can’t ignore it. It seems as if we never quite finish one dilemma or conflict before another one pops up, and like it or not, we’re stuck with dealing with the conflict.

Conflict can result from uncertainty, change, budget crises, downsizing, reorganizing or restructuring, changes in leadership or direction, being newly promoted, difficult personalities, uncaring colleagues, seemingly unbearable workload, back-biting, cliques and “who knows what.” How we handle the conflict can affect morale, increase the level of conflict, and ultimately, impact productivity.

While there is no way to avoid the conflict we face at work and in our lives, we do have options for resolving the conflict, for improving relationships, both on and off the job, and for improving the quality of our work life.

The managing workplace conflict workshop is designed for employees, supervisors, managers and executives and will help you to:

  • Recognize the choices people often make in conflict.
  • Resolve conflict with and between other employees.
  • Explain the reasons for avoiding conflict.
  • Take the “first step” to resolve a conflict with a peer, boss, customer or associate.
  • Apply a step-by-step approach to resolving conflict
  • Distinguish between the different styles of conflict management.
  • Communicate assertively.
  • Use empathy and communicate with diplomacy and discretion.
  • Learn from conflict and build better workplace relationships.
  • Implement effective communication tools to disarm verbal attacks.
  • Apply techniques to help you deal with the stress and strain that comes from dealing with conflict, change, and difficult situations and people.
  • Overcome internal and external obstacles to effective listening.
  • Apply a conflict management model and devise a plan for successful conflict resolution.

I. Taking Responsibility for Managing Conflict and Improving Interpersonal Relationships: You Can’t Win if You Don’t Play

  • Identify common workplace issues that lead to conflict.
  • Identify the reasons why people avoid conflict.
  • Learn how perception, differing goals and needs, values and workstyle impact workplace relationships.
  • Learn techniques to resolve conflict that result from change or organizational crises.
  • Apply some basic conflict management strategies.
  • Recognize the choices you have in resolving conflict.

II. Uncovering, Defining and Communicating the Real Problem, Issue or Concern That is the Source of the Conflict

  • Develop ways to let emotions out in a constructive way and how keeping emotions in can escalate the conflict.
  • Identify methods to determine the real cause of the conflict and develop strategies for successful outcomes.
  • Learn how to take the first step in resolving conflict with a co-worker, be they a peer, the boss or an employee who reports to you.
  • Apply techniques that help to build “collaborative” efforts in resolving conflict and improving interpersonal relationships.
  • Learn the folly of the “blame game” and how it destroys relationships, lowers morale, and fans the flames for counterproductive conflict.
  • Discuss ways to get out of the “victim” mode and instead learn how to be proactive and professional in bringing up and resolving conflict.

III. Communicating to Resolve Conflict

  • Learn how to use empathy to keep discussions open and non-defensive.
  • Understand the conflict temperature gauge – from lukewarm, to simmering, to boiling!
  • Learn how to “give up your need to be right” and instead “do the right thing” to resolve conflict.
  • Learn the six levels of listening and identify obstacles to effective and “productive” listening.
  • Develop and practice some basic communication skills to keep conflict resolution discussions on track and on the mark.
  • Learn what “pushes your buttons” and other’s buttons when communicating differences in point of view or perception.
  • Learn how to use “open-ended” questions to encourage others to elaborate an issue.
  • Practice techniques to stimulate thinking and to come up with practical and creative solutions to conflict situations.

IV. Mediating Conflict and Watching Out for the “Hot Zones”

  • Develop techniques to mediate conflict between co-workers.
  • Build an awareness of your “comfort zones” in which you are more at ease when addressing conflict.
  • Learn how taking the high ground works and being cynical does not in improving relationships and resolving conflict.
  • Build an awareness of you “Hot Zones where conflict can be difficult or uncomfortable for you to address.
  • Learn the difference between constructive and destructive conflict.
  • We all can have “butterflies” when dealing with conflict. Learn techniques for keeping your “butterflies in formation” when dealing with a “hot zone” conflict issue.
  • Practice some basic stress management techniques to cope and live with conflict that will not go away.