A Little Conflict is a Good Thing


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Conflict in the workplace can help root out issues that are often ignored.

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A Little Conflict is a Good Thing

  1. 1. Conflict Resolution: A little conflict is a good thing! ACEC-ASCE-TSPE Annual Meeting September 14, 2012Retained Executive Search Recruitment Outsourcing “We Speak Your Language” Leadership Consulting
  2. 2. Who is Dan Ryan?• Recovering engineer/scientist• Father and husband• Teacher and facilitator• Engaged sports fan “We Speak Your Language”
  3. 3. Conflict is . . . any situation in which yourconcerns or desiresdiffer from those of another person RM-3“We Speak Your Language”
  4. 4. Objectives• Become more aware of your own conflict style• Recognize the conflict styles of others• Assess conflict situations• Practice using different conflict modes• Learn how to manage constructive conflict RM-4 “We Speak Your Language”
  5. 5. Understanding the Conflict Modes Assertiveness Two basic aspects of all Conflict-handling modes… CooperativenessYourConflict = Skill + SituationMode RM-5 “We Speak Your Language”
  6. 6. From Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument by K. W.Thomas and R. H. Kilmann, 1974, 2000. Mountain View, CA:Xicom, Incorporated, subsidiary of CPP, Inc. Copyright 1974,2000 by CPP, Inc. Used with permission. RM-6 “We Speak Your Language”
  7. 7. From Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument by K. W.Thomas and R. H. Kilmann, 1974, 2000. Mountain View, CA:Xicom, Incorporated, subsidiary of CPP, Inc. Copyright 1974,2000 by CPP, Inc. Used with permission. RM-7 “We Speak Your Language”
  8. 8. The Five ConflictHandling Modes RM-8“We Speak Your Language”
  9. 9. Competing“My way or the highway” • Taking quick action • Making unpopular decisions • Standing up for vital issues • Protecting yourself RM-9 “We Speak Your Language”
  10. 10. Competing Skills• Arguing or debating• Using rank, position, or influence• Asserting your opinions and feelings• Standing your ground• Stating your position clearly RM-10 “We Speak Your Language”
  11. 11. Overuse of Competing• Lack of feedback• Reduced learning• Low empowerment• Surrounded by “yes people” RM-11 “We Speak Your Language”
  12. 12. Underuse of Competing• Restricted influence• Indecision• Delayed action• Withholding of contributions RM-12 “We Speak Your Language”
  13. 13. Excessive Competing Page 13“We Speak Your Language”
  14. 14. Accommodating“It would be my pleasure” • Showing reasonableness • Developing performance • Creating goodwill • Keeping “peace” • Retreating • Maintaining perspective RM-14 “We Speak Your Language”
  15. 15. Accommodating Skills• Forgoing your desires• Selflessness• Obedience• Ability to yield RM-15 “We Speak Your Language”
  16. 16. Overuse of Accommodating• Overlooked ideas• Restricted influence• Loss of contribution• Anarchy RM-16 “We Speak Your Language”
  17. 17. Underuse of Accommodating• Lack of rapport• Low morale• By-the-book reputation• Inability to yield RM-17 “We Speak Your Language”
  18. 18. Avoiding“I’ll think about it tomorrow” • Leaving unimportant issues alone • Reducing tensions • Buying time • Knowing your limitations • Allowing others ownership • Recognizing issues as symptoms RM-18 “We Speak Your Language”
  19. 19. Avoiding Skills• Withdrawing• Sidestepping• Sense of timing• Ability to leave things unresolved RM-19 “We Speak Your Language”
  20. 20. Overuse of Avoiding• Lack of input from you• Decisions made by default• Festering issues• Climate of caution RM-20 “We Speak Your Language”
  21. 21. Underuse of Avoiding• Hostility/hurt feelings• Work overload—too many causes• Lack of prioritization/delegation RM-21 “We Speak Your Language”
  22. 22. Avoiding Page 22“We Speak Your Language”
  23. 23. Collaborating“Two heads are better than one” • Integrating solutions • Learning • Merging perspectives • Gaining commitment • Improving relationships RM-23 “We Speak Your Language”
  24. 24. Collaborating Skills• Ability to listen, understand, and empathize• Nonthreatening confrontation• Input analysis• Identifying underlying concerns RM-24 “We Speak Your Language”
  25. 25. Overuse of Collaborating• Too much time on trivial matters• Diffused responsibility• People who take advantage• Work overload RM-25 “We Speak Your Language”
  26. 26. Underuse of Collaborating• Mutual gains deprivation• Lack of commitment• Low empowerment• Loss of innovation RM-26 “We Speak Your Language”
  27. 27. Compromising“Let’s make a deal” • Resolving issues of moderate importance • Reaching resolution with equal power and strong commitment • Creating temporary solutions • Dealing with time constraints • Backing up competing/ collaborating RM-27 “We Speak Your Language”
  28. 28. Compromising Skills• Negotiating• Finding a “middle ground”• Making concessions• Assessing value RM-28 “We Speak Your Language”
  29. 29. Overuse of Compromising• Loss of big-picture perspective• Lack of trust• Cynical climate RM-29 “We Speak Your Language”
  30. 30. Underuse of Compromising• Unnecessary confrontations• Frequent power struggles• Inability to negotiate effectively RM-30 “We Speak Your Language”
  31. 31. Compromising in life Page 31“We Speak Your Language”
  32. 32. In Summary• There are five modes of handling conflict – Competing – Collaborating – Compromising – Avoiding – Accommodating Page 32 “We Speak Your Language”
  33. 33. Causes of Team Conflict• Values of team members• Attitudes of team members• Goals/Expectations - the processes and expected outcomes• Roles and responsibilities of team members• Limited resources• Personalities Source: Cappozzoli & Alessandra• Interdependency• Increased interaction (frequency) Page 33 “We Speak Your Language”
  34. 34. Remedies for team conflict• Self-awareness• Open communication• Mediation• Reorganization• Realignment-Reassignment• Disbanding Page 34 “We Speak Your Language”
  35. 35. Case StudyYour project team consists of the followingindividuals:• John (avoider) Team Leader-PM• Jane (compromiser) Asst. PM• Jim (competing) 5 year PE• Joan (competing) 25 year PG• Bubba (competing) 15 year ScientistYou (John) are working on a project with a tight deadline andyou consistently have challenges with Jim, Joan and Bubba disagreeing on the best course of action. What might you do? Page 35 “We Speak Your Language”
  36. 36. Questions? Page 36“We Speak Your Language”
  37. 37. Thank You! Dan Ryan Principal 615 202 0883 cell 615 656 3535 office Dan@Ryansc.net http://ryansc.net“We Speak Your Language”