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  • Introductions: CJ, ombuds office brochures Confidential, neutral, informal dispute resolution resource --stress confidentiality Serve faculty, staff and students 2 ombuds, 1 staff, 1 half-time faculty Participants: name, department
  • Build towards difficult conversations Many of you have had formal training in conflict management Gap between understanding effective conflict management and putting these principles into practice No end to learning—always a new challenge in conflict management!
  • we all have different ways of dealing with conflict learn these as grow up, from families, neighborhoods, schools, churches, etc. It can be helpful to understand our own approaches to conflict as well as those of others with whom we have conflicts Instrument: did everyone get a chance to complete this? -We often deal with conflict differently in different settings
  • brief description of each style Answer sheet: hand out, have participants complete Discussion of answers: questions, surprises? What does this mean for you as a supervisor? What insights does this give you about your staff? What are some challenging combinations of conflict management styles you might encounter? Understanding conflict management styles can help you in preparing for difficult conversations, as you understand your approach and the approach of the person you’re dealing with
  • Will discuss three communication skills briefly; all are key in difficult conversations
  • Respectful but direct communication Most important skill in conflict resolution How many have heard of active listening? -can’t get too much exposure -deceptively difficult skill Review sub-skills Why is this important for you in dealing with conflicts as supervisor?
  • Turn to neighbor: what is hardest part of active listening for you? Large group debrief
  • I statements: how many have heard of I statements? Very useful way of speaking directly to someone about a difficult issue without making them defensive. Examples? -use examples of conflict situations
  • Mostly will be thinking about conversations in which you, as supervisor, have to talk with an employee about performance issues or job-related conflicts, but topic is much broader and applies to any difficult conversation you might face in your life Turn to different neighbor and talk about what makes conversations difficult at work --Brainstorm as group Difficult conversations: when talking about things that really matter
  • Difficult conversations: actually 3 conversations intertwined What Happened: disagreement about what happened, who did or said what, who meant what, who’s right, who’s to blame. Feelings: all difficult conversations involve feelings, which for many of us can be frightening Identity: what the situation means to us and about us, as well as to and about the other person
  • 3 common errors in the What Happened conversation The Truth Assumption: assume you are right, the other person is wrong You think they are the problem, they think you are the problem, rather than seeing differences in interpretations, judgments, perceptions, values 2 sides or more to every situation, people see the world differently The Intention Invention: first of all, we assume we know intentions of others often our assumptions are wrong--we assume the worst we also assume bad intentions mean bad character/bad person, which leads the other person to feel defensive try to disentangle intent from impact --just because your supervisor’s comment made you feel stupid in front of your co- workers, doesn’t mean that’s what your supervisor was trying to do The Blame Frame: see other person as at fault this attitude results in defensiveness and denial, little learning Move from blame to contributions. blame=judging, looking backward, strong feelings contribution=each person’s role in the situation encourages learning and change, understanding, looking forward
  • Feelings at the heart of difficult conversations Key: express your own feelings acknowledge the other person’s feelings What are the feelings that might come up in a difficult conversation? brainstorm defensiveness, anger, fear…
  • Identity: what the situation means to us, its impact on our self-esteem and self-image A conversation that calls into question our identity can make us feel off-balanced, anxious; we can lose confidence and lose our concentration. At the extreme, we can be paralyzed, panic, feel the urge to flee, have trouble breathing.
  • “ And” Stance: we are not all-or-nothing Take a break if necessary.
  • How does the other person typically respond to this approach? brainstorm defensive, angry
  • In difficult conversations, want to move from stance of delivering a message toward a learning conversation, where you both have information to share and questions to ask. In a learning conversation, instead of wanting to persuade and get your way, want to invite the other person into the conversation involving mutual learning begin to appreciate complexities of perceptions and intentions, joint contributions to the problem, central role of feelings, what issues mean to each person’s self-esteem and identity
  • Begin with the heart of the matter; resist talking around the main issues, especially if they are painful. Acknowledge that your views and feelings may be multi-faceted and contradictory, and so may the views and feelings of the other person—use of “and.” Get examples: I really care about you as a person and I feel badly about the recent death of your mother and I need to give you some difficult feedback about your recent work performance. Ask how the other person sees the situation differently. Keep in mind that there is another side to every story, as hard as it can be to believe it. “ Always” and “never” are rarely true, make the other person defensive, and leave little room for the other person to change.
  • Set the stage: invite the other person to join with you to discuss the situation and work on resolving the problem. Begin with the Third Story: next slide Listen: use Active Listening to learn. Communicate clearly: your perspective, your contributions to the situation, your goals. Brainstorm: what are the rules for brainstorming? --come up with as many ideas as possible, the more creative the better --don’t evaluate ideas Evaluate: what works for each person? What doesn’t use What If thinking Develop a solution that meets everyone’s needs. Talk about follow up—when, how.


  • 1. Conflict Management
  • 2. Objectives
    • Understand and apply conflict management styles.
    • Build communication skills for dealing with conflict directly and effectively.
    • Build skills in handling difficult conversations.
  • 3. Conflict Management Styles
  • 4. Conflict Management Styles Cooperativeness Assertiveness Avoiding Competing Compromising Collaborating Accommodating
  • 5. Communication Skills
    • Active Listening
    • Assertive Communication
    • I Statements
  • 6. Active Listening
    • Encourage
    • Question
    • Restate
    • Reflect
    • Summarize
    • Validate
  • 7. Making Active Listening Work
    • Be authentic.
    • Be energetic and focused.
    • Be aware of your internal voice.
    • Avoid assumptions.
    • Empathize.
    • Watch nonverbal behaviors.
    • Do not interrupt, offer advice, or make suggestions.
  • 8. Assertive Communication
    • Deal with situation directly.
    • Start with what matters most.
    • Use I statements.
  • 9. I Statements
    • I feel (state your emotion)
    • When you (state the specific action that you are concerned about)
    • Because (state the impact on your life)
    • And I want (state the change in behavior you want).
  • 10. Difficult Conversations: Move from Delivering a Message to a Learning Conversation
  • 11. What makes conversations difficult?
  • 12. Difficult Conversations: Three Conversations in One
    • What Happened?
    • Feelings
    • Identity
  • 13. What Happened? The Truth Assumption The Intention Invention The Blame Frame accept multiple perspectives disentangle intent from impact move from blame to contribution
  • 14. Feelings
    • Difficult conversations are at their core about feelings.
    • You are not really dealing with the issue if you leave out feelings.
  • 15. Identity
    • Ask what is at stake for you:
    • Am I competent?
    • Am I a good person?
    • Ask what is at stake for the other person.
  • 16. What can help when your identity is challenged?
    • Ground your identity.
      • Accept that:
        • You will make mistakes.
        • You are complex.
        • You have contributed to the problem.
    • Let go of trying to control the other person’s reaction.
    • Prepare for the other person’s response.
  • 17. When you deliver a message, you often want to:
    • Prove a point.
    • Give the other person a piece of your mind.
    • Get the other person to do or be what you want.
  • 18. In a learning conversation, you :
    • Try to understand what has happened from the other person’s point of view.
    • Explain your point of view.
    • Share and understand feelings
    • Work together to manage the problem in the future.
  • 19. Communicating Clearly
    • Do:
    • Start with what matters most.
    • Speak directly.
    • Acknowledge different perspectives; use “and.”
    • Don’t:
    • Be too simplistic.
    • Present your conclusions as truth.
    • Use “always” and “never.”
  • 20. Problem Solving
    • Set the stage: purpose of meeting, ground rules.
    • Begin with the Third Story.
    • Listen to the other person’s perspective.
    • Communicate clearly.
    • Define the problem.
    • Brainstorm options.
    • Evaluate options.
    • Develop a solution.
  • 21. The Third Story:
    • neutral description of the situation acknowledging differences between your perspectives, with no judgment involved .
  • 22.
    • +91-97-87- 55- 55- 44
    • [email_address]