Conflict is an inevitable dynamic in the work environment. Unfortunately, it usually carries a negative connotation. Conflict, in and of itself, is neither “good” nor “bad”. What makes a conflict situation productive or destructive is the way in which issues and information are analyzed, approached, and communicated. Successful teams and managers have the ability to not only address but utilize differences in a way that increases the overall strength of the team. This course teaches the skills and perspectives that are necessary to effectively manage conflict.
Most people view conflict as being highly personal in nature. In this course, students will explore the true definition of conflict, and how this definition can help them better analyze and understand a challenging situation or person. They will also examine the role of personal power and how it influences the level and outcome of a conflict. Next, students complete the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument. Through this instrument, they will gain insight into their preferred mode of conflict management. They will also gain exposure to, and a better understanding of, the preferred approaches of others in a conflict situation. Working in small groups, they will then explore the best approaches to different types of conflicts, and discuss how their preferred approach can be adapted to best manage the situation.
Next, students will be introduced to the Stop, Yield Go Model for conflict resolution. This is a three-step process that they can use to keep their approach and communication focused and on track so that the conflict is resolved in a productive manner. Students will identify a conflict situation that they are currently experiencing or anticipate experiencing in the near future. They will then work through the conflict using the three steps. In each step, students will be engaging in activities and discussions regarding the following topics: assertive language techniques, the power of inquiry and advocacy, and how to effectively manage difficult responses. Students will view a video that demonstrates assertive language techniques. Working with a partner, students will obtain additional feedback and insight into the management of their conflict situation. This will provide students with a detailed and complete action plan that they can implement immediately.