Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict

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Presented by Katrina, Human Resources Manager of the Westerville Public Library

Presented by Katrina, Human Resources Manager of the Westerville Public Library

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  • Why are we here? Why are YOU here? ** Audience ParticipationRead slide if no one says it.This element of being able to deal with confrontation is also a leadership issue.“The fear of confrontation is what stands in the way of good leaders becoming exceptional ones. The ability to look another person in they eye, decisively explain what the issues are, and move forward is a major stumbling block for so many.Confrontation Builds ConfidenceSomething incredible happens when we take the next step and address issues in the workplace. Issues get resolved. I'm not being flippant here...I'm very serious. The team of employees around you is watching to see if you will handle the problems or not. When you don't...when I don't...our credibility is compromised. After all, who wants to follow a leader who isn't willing to deal with the difficult issues?”- Jay Kuhns on his blog, No Excuses HR, Monday, February 17th, 2014.
  • What are we hoping to get out of a session with conflict resolution in the title? ** Audience ParticipationRead Slide – part aWhat would resolving conflict successfully look like to you? ** Write down answersRead Slide – part b
  • Here is what we’ll cover today:Read SlideWhat we are NOT covering today: * how to deal with difficult co-workers (that is a different issue) * how to handle stress * negotiation strategies * interpersonal communication strategies or communication stylesAll of these can help in conflict situations, or will enhance your overall workplace dynamic – but at the core we want to really just focus on conflict.
  • So let’s define what we are talking about so we are all on the same page:Read SlideAsk question – Slide part b ** Audience Participation
  • If we look at some official definitions, which is what we would typically do, right? We get this.Read SlideSome of these are very strong words. Some of you might just have gotten a little uncomfortable when we read these.That is why we are HERE!
  • Read SlideEmotions are involved in conflict. Let’s not kid ourselves – something is at stake or it would just be conversation.
  • Before we get to our tips, we want to look at expanding our awareness. This will help us recognize true conflict and be better prepared to use the tools we are going to talk about.Read Slide ** Audience Participation
  • Read Slide ** Audience ParticipationSome examples of potential factors that might escalate the issue:Library customers are involvedHow much noise is there in the library at the timeDeadlines are looming so we don’t have timeAre there seasonal peaks that could make it worse? i.e. summer reading
  • I really like this chart by University of Texas and Texas A&M. It really shows that there can be a lot of different triggers for conflict in our organization. Read Slide – explain the chartIt would be helpful for us to know which type we are dealing with when we see it, right?Would it make a difference to you where the conflict comes from – whether it was functional or dysfunctional?Sure. So we are usually going to be talking about dysfunctional conflict when we use our tools, although it can be for both.
  • Read SlideI am not necessarily talking about a Grievance Policy or even an EAP, although those are good things to have.What about our organizational norms around being able to address concerns?That is something we have here under awareness because it may require some research on your part to know what is available and the policy or expectations of your library.
  • Now we are going to take just a few minutes to examine our motives. This is key if our tools are going to work. We must understand what our goals are in each situation or we will not be able to accomplish them.Read Slide – part aOur attitudes towards conflict are often negative – and we try to stay away from things that we do not like.Read Slide – part b
  • Read Slide – part aOr in other words…Read Slide – part bWhat is the motivation behind this sentence? ** (avoidance, not wanting to get yelled at, self-preservation)
  • Read Slide – part aOr in other words…Read Slide – part bWhat is the motivation behind this sentence? ** (peace maker, not rock the boat, status quo)
  • Read Slide – part aOr in other words…Read Slide – part bWhat is the motivation behind this sentence? ** (deflection, lack of responsibility)
  • Read SlideWhat we perceive to be the situation and its potential outcomes often allow us to take the easy way out.
  • Read SlidePlay Video
  • Read SlidePlay Video
  • Read SlideWe are not going to be able to deal with each of these or resolve all of our personal barriers.But, as we walk through our tips let’s see them with the idea that we ourselves may need to overcome some of these first.
  • Here are some questions you might ask yourself to examine your motives:Read SlideWhat if the other person is your boss?What if you are the other person’s boss?
  • Here are some questions you might ask yourself to examine your motives:Read SlideWhat if the other person is your boss?What if you are the other person’s boss?
  • Here are some questions you might ask yourself to examine your motives:Read SlideWhat if the other person is your boss?What if you are the other person’s boss?
  • Now before we get to our tips…one more topic. Group cohesion, or the impact of conflict on our libraries.One impact is the volcano effect like in our first slide’s quote. Read SlideDo we care enough about our organizations to tell the truth? Or are we too “nice”?
  • Here are some of the actual emotional side affects of dysfunctional conflict in the workplace.Read Slide
  • Here are some other outcomes of avoiding or not managing conflict.Read SlideAnd with decreased job satisfaction we have exits. “When faced with a long, ongoing conflict situation, good people pack their bags.” – Jeffrey MuirHave you encountered any of these?
  • And sometimes it’s like the radioactive rat…it doesn’t just simmer or explode…it grows exponentially, dragging others into the situation.
  • In the end, this is what our libraries would look like if we don’t manage our conflict well.Read SlideMaybe it’s not our libraries as a whole. Maybe it’s just one department. Either way, this is no good.
  • So, yes! Here we are. The top 10 tips for managing conflict.Read SlideThere are a lot of models on managing conflict. This is just one way of looking at it.In my research, most of them have very similar components to this model.One model that I will mention here is the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument. If you really want to do some self-inspection or want to dig deeper I recommend this tool. It measures your assertiveness and cooperation and covers 5 basic conflict handling modes.As I mentioned, each model will have its own components. This is just one.
  • These are general tips and can help in all conflict situations. As we are going through them, think specifically of dysfunctional, though, because that will be the hardest.#1Read SlideDo not engage in a discussion while feelings are escalated; when you are angry your ability to use rational, problem-solving skills is impaired.Sometimes what looks like a disagreement is just an agreement cloaked in competing vocabularies.THE HOW: Addressing true dysfunctional conflict takes courage. If you need a minute to gather your thoughts – take it.
  • #2Read SlideSeparate the issues from the person - plan how to discuss the problem in a non-blaming manner.Spend some time determining what the issues or problems are from your perspective. Try to consider the situation from the other employee’s perspective and what their wants or needs might be. Remember that we do have perceptions (or filters) and while we don’t need to ignore them, we do need to make sure they are not blocking us from true dialogue.THE HOW: Ask open-ended questions. Don’t run assumptions.
  • On this note, I do want to take a minute to look at why we need to ask these open ended questions.This may seem obvious to you, but let’s review the Johari Window. It’s a neat concept of understanding what we know, and what we don’t know.
  • Read SlideThe more you reveal, the more prepared you will be for true dialogue in a conflict situation.These questions can also reveal true disagreement vs. perceived disagreement. Your conflict might just end right here!
  • #3 Read SlideOwn your own perceptions, that is, acknowledge that the way you see the situation is not necessarily the way the other person or others might see the situation. Make conflict resolution the priority rather than winning or "being right."The focus on being right or winning is a common theme in many communication lessons. It can derail all of our efforts if we let it.THE HOW: Assess your own motives. Ask yourself, “What do I really want for me? What do I really want for others? What do I really want for the relationship?" The clearer you are about your goals, the less you'll be controlled by your fears.Here I will take another minute to recommend another model for you on communication. If you are really interested in improving this, I recommend the book Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny and the group at Vital Smarts. If these tips are too generic for you and you want to dig further this is a great model and they have a blog that you can sign up for that will help you with follow up examples of how to use the tools in real life situations.
  • #4Read SlideTHE HOW: This may be obvious, but keep it close to the vest.
  • #5Read SlideBe authentic with your emotions and feelings.Humor, judiciously used, can effectively defuse conflict.Sarcasm, is probably never appropriate when dealing with such issues.THE HOW: State your feelings. Use “I” statements and avoid finger pointing and blame.
  • #6Read SlideWhen people dig in and defend their positions, a deeper understanding of a problem is possible.Remember our chart of all the ways conflict can begin?THE HOW: Don’t be surprised, derailed, unprepared…This session is a good start!
  • #7Read SlideAt times it might involve an apology.Work towards collaborative solutions through mutual problem solving.THE HOW: Take a ‘reality check’. Do you really have an open mind? If not, see #1!
  • #8Read SlideThese behaviors can involve risk and can be scary.  You might reach out to another person only to be rejected. Youmight not like hearing what the other person has to say about you.THE HOW: If you need help, find an appropriate third party to either help mediate or bounce your ideas off. It could be HR, or your EAP, but should not involve gossip.
  • #9Read SlideNegotiating openly with others around what we want and need is not modeled or encouraged in our society.It takes courage to honestly and clearly articulate your needs, and it takes courage to sit down and listen to your adversaries.THE HOW: Remember the common cause. Prepare yourself – practice dialogue in functional conflict to prepare yourself for when dysfunctional conflict occurs. You are must less likely to avoid a conversation if you feel prepared.Maybe take the TKI, or read Crucial Conversations. There is a ton of material on this topic and no quick fixes. It takes work.
  • #10Read SlideThe highest level of respect is to stay with someone through the conflict until it is resolved.THE HOW: Don’t leave. End with clear expectations. Don't be satisfied with just good talk. Move to action by ensuring everyone is crystal clear about how to get the issue resolved once and for all. Susan Leahy has an interesting acronym for the Stay Model…Stop Thinking it’s About You.And remember our definition of success – if we can celebrate the process and your part in the activity even if the outcome isn’t ideal then we have made progress.
  • #10Read SlideThe highest level of respect is to stay with someone through the conflict until it is resolved.THE HOW: Don’t leave. End with clear expectations. Don't be satisfied with just good talk. Move to action by ensuring everyone is crystal clear about how to get the issue resolved once and for all. Susan Leahy has an interesting acronym for the Stay Model…Stop Thinking it’s About You.And remember our definition of success – if we can celebrate the process and your part in the activity even if the outcome isn’t ideal then we have made progress.
  • #10Read SlideThe highest level of respect is to stay with someone through the conflict until it is resolved.THE HOW: Don’t leave. End with clear expectations. Don't be satisfied with just good talk. Move to action by ensuring everyone is crystal clear about how to get the issue resolved once and for all. Susan Leahy has an interesting acronym for the Stay Model…Stop Thinking it’s About You.And remember our definition of success – if we can celebrate the process and your part in the activity even if the outcome isn’t ideal then we have made progress.
  • Here are my resources and a few others that you might be interested in if you want more on this topic.

Transcript

  • 1. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR RESOLVING CONFLICT Katrina Plourde, SPHR, MLHR Human Resources Manager Westerville Public Library kplourde@westervillelibrary.org http://www.slideshare.net/westervillelibrary/practical-strategies-for-resolving-conflict
  • 2. “Conflict is a lot like water -- it spills over; it flows downhill; and, if left unchecked, it erodes whatever it touches. And sometimes it's like red wine -- it stains.” - Jason Fried http://www.inc.com/magazine/20100701/managing-conflict.html
  • 3. WHY ARE WE HERE? Conflict in the workplace exists. This is a fact of life. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Conflict can lead to personal and professional growth if handled well.
  • 4. WHY ARE WE HERE? This session will outline a practical process for employees to use as a tool to resolve conflict successfully. This may mean we have to re- define “successfully”.
  • 5. OBJECTIVES Today we will look at: 1. How conflict expands our awareness of situations. 2. Examining our own goals in conflict situations. 3. How group cohesion is affected when conflict is resolved effectively and not avoided. 4. The top 10 tips to use when conflict arises.
  • 6. DEFINITION First, let’s make sure we all are on the same page with what we call, “conflict.” What comes to mind when you think of this word?
  • 7. DEFINITION Mirriam-Webster and Dictionary.com’s definitions include some pretty potent words: “struggle for power” “strong disagreement” “battle, fight, quarrel” Essentially, it is a difference that prevents agreement. There is a struggle that results from incompatible interests or ideas.
  • 8. DEFINITION It is more than just disagreement. Conflict is a situation in which one or both parties perceive something more is present…something that prevents trust and comfort. Conflicts trigger strong emotions.
  • 9. EXPAND OUR AWARENESS What are some key sources of conflict in our workplace?
  • 10. EXPAND OUR AWARENESS Are there certain factors in the environment that make problems worse, especially at times of conflict?
  • 11. EXPAND OUR AWARENESS
  • 12. EXPAND OUR AWARENESS Do we have channels for expressing normal problems and concerns in a predictable, reliable manner?
  • 13. EXAMINE OUR MOTIVES Why do we avoid conflict? Engaging in dialogue and negotiation around conflict is something we tend to approach with fear and hesitation, afraid that the conversation will go worse than the conflict has gone thus far. All too often, we talk ourselves out of potential dialogue. https://www.ohrd.wisc.edu/home/HideATab/FullyPreparedtoManage/ConflictResolution/AboutConflict/WhyAvoidConflict/tabid /231/Default.aspx
  • 14. EXAMINE OUR MOTIVES Ever heard yourself say this? "Why should I talk to her? She'll bite my head off and not listen to anything I have to say!" What if he/she yells at me? https://www.ohrd.wisc.edu/home/HideATab/FullyPreparedtoManage/ConflictResolution/AboutConflict/WhyAvoidConflict/tabid /231/Default.aspx
  • 15. EXAMINE OUR MOTIVES Ever heard yourself say this? "I should talk to him about this problem, but maybe it will go away on its own. There's no sense stirring up something that makes us both uncomfortable.“ “What if talking about it makes it worse, rather than better?“ https://www.ohrd.wisc.edu/home/HideATab/FullyPreparedtoManage/ConflictResolution/AboutConflict/WhyAvoidConflict/tabid /231/Default.aspx
  • 16. EXAMINE OUR MOTIVES Ever heard yourself say this? "If I go to him, I'm making myself vulnerable. No, that's his responsibility - he should come to me and ask me to talk!“ “Why stir up trouble. It’s not my problem.” https://www.ohrd.wisc.edu/home/HideATab/FullyPreparedtoManage/ConflictResolution/AboutConflict/WhyAvoidConflict/tabid/ 231/Default.aspx
  • 17. EXAMINE OUR MOTIVES Our history and our filter impact our perceptions of the situation and make us reluctant to begin dialogue. It’s MUCH easier to avoid the situation.
  • 18. EXAMINE OUR MOTIVES Let’s look at some of the barriers to addressing conflict by Harry Webne- Behrman from the University of Wisconsin- Madison.
  • 19. For additional information, download this video on “Confronting Conflicts”: http://www.ohrd.wisc.edu/o nlinetraining/resolution/aud vid/confronting.asx
  • 20. EXAMINE OUR MOTIVES So we have Personal, Interpersonal, and Structural barriers we need to hurdle to even get off the ground with dealing with conflict.
  • 21. EXAMINE OUR MOTIVES Let’s listen to Cricket Buchler talk about a ‘fundamental attribution error’ that might help us see our motives clearly. She also talks about personal, social and structural influences that impact our dialogue with others.
  • 22. EXAMINE OUR MOTIVES VIDEO INSERT: Crucial Confrontations | Cricket Buchler Video on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riq3VhjJhw8 View first 3:17 of the video.
  • 23. EXAMINE OUR MOTIVES Have you have made assumptions about the other person’s intentions or actions that need to be checked out? What are your expectations of the other person or of the situation and in what ways were your expectations were not met? Would the other person be aware of or share your expectation?
  • 24. GROUP COHESION Does avoidance solve the conflict? Tensions simmer and eventually the problem comes back – often with a vengeance.
  • 25. GROUP COHESION When disagreements worsen and become unmanaged conflict there are often negative results for an employee. People may feel threatened – this feeling of threat can be physical but is often emotional, such as a threat to goals, status, job security, values or preferred outcome.
  • 26. GROUP COHESION Ineffectively managed conflict can impact the workplace in many ways including: loss of sleep anxiety lowered morale decreased job satisfaction http://www.viu.ca/conflict/deal.asp
  • 27. GROUP COHESION It can, on occasion, also take on a life of its own, drawing in other people or departments. If the conflict grows - people, departments and the organization - all pay the price of deteriorating work performance. In very extreme circumstances it can lead to workplace violence. http://www.viu.ca/conflict/deal.asp
  • 28. GROUP COHESION Good ideas remain unspoken, people create silos, and leaders don't get the information they need because everyone is afraid to bring up potentially contentious issues. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-earle-mcleod/why-avoiding-conflict-kee_b_891460.html
  • 29. TOOLS - TOP TEN TIPS So now let’s look at the top ten tips for successfully dealing with conflict.
  • 30. TOOLS - TOP TEN TIPS #1 Take a breather. Avoid saying something in the heat of the moment you may later regret. If needed, take a moment to compose yourself before continuing the discussion. Reproduced with permission from Infinisource, Inc., www.infinisource.com, 800-300-3838
  • 31. TOOLS - TOP TEN TIPS #2 Listen. Let everyone speak and tell their point of view. Actively listen to each person and be respectful of any differences. Reproduced with permission from Infinisource, Inc., www.infinisource.com, 800-300-3838
  • 32. TOOLS - TOP TEN TIPS Why we need feedback. The Johari Window http://www.viu.ca/conflict/criticism.asp
  • 33. TOOLS - TOP TEN TIPS The Johari Window Increasing the “window pane” made up of what you know and what others know about you reduces any “blind spots” we might have - situations where others have information gained through their direct experience of our words and actions but we are largely unaware of their impact. http://www.viu.ca/conflict/criticism.asp
  • 34. TOOLS - TOP TEN TIPS #3 Choose your battles. Not every difference needs to start World War 3 in the office. Realize there will be differences in opinion and personalities and be selective in what you fight for. Reproduced with permission from Infinisource, Inc., www.infinisource.com, 800-300-3838
  • 35. TOOLS - TOP TEN TIPS #4 Avoid gossip. Not everyone needs to know your thoughts and opinions on a certain conflict. Keep things between you and the other co-worker (and management if it has escalated). Likewise, do not seek out the details on a conflict that does not involve you. Reproduced with permission from Infinisource, Inc., www.infinisource.com, 800-300-3838
  • 36. TOOLS - TOP TEN TIPS #5 Use business-like language. Make sure to use professional and objective language. Focus on the problem, not the person. Reproduced with permission from Infinisource, Inc., www.infinisource.com, 800-300-3838
  • 37. TOOLS - TOP TEN TIPS #6 Expect conflict. With so many differing personalities trying to work together, conflict will arise. Take it in stride and work to resolve the issue. Reproduced with permission from Infinisource, Inc., www.infinisource.com, 800-300-3838
  • 38. TOOLS - TOP TEN TIPS #7 Have an open mind. Be open to compromise. Reproduced with permission from Infinisource, Inc., www.infinisource.com, 800-300-3838
  • 39. TOOLS - TOP TEN TIPS #8 Find a mediator. If the problem has risen to such a level that you are unable to come to a resolution, find an impartial third party to help sort it out. Reproduced with permission from Infinisource, Inc., www.infinisource.com, 800-300-3838
  • 40. TOOLS - TOP TEN TIPS #9 Be proactive. Resolve conflict in the early stages, if possible. It will save time and resources in the long run. Reproduced with permission from Infinisource, Inc., www.infinisource.com, 800-300-3838
  • 41. TOOLS - TOP TEN TIPS #10 Ensure the problem is resolved. Not everyone may be happy with the outcome, but as you accept the decision, you can move forward and put it all behind you. Reproduced with permission from Infinisource, Inc., www.infinisource.com, 800-300-3838
  • 42. TOOLS - REVIEW Here is another fun video to put together some of our tips and show what it might look like. In the video they talk about three steps: – Easy and relaxed (take a breather). – Facts and consequences (use business like language). – Limit the scope (pick your battles).
  • 43. TOOLS - REVIEW VIDEO INSERT: Dialogue Example| Shared Visions Video on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kde9flV3OlE View full video 3:20 minutes.
  • 44. RESOURCES • Singleton, R. , Toombs, L, Taneja, S., Larkin, C. and Pryor, M. Workplace conflict: a strategic leadership imperative [Figure 1]. International Journal of Business and Public Administration, Volume 8, Number 1, Winter 2011. • Patterson, Kerry; et al. Crucial Conversations, VitalSmarts. • Tim Ursiny, The Coward’s Guide to Conflict: Empowering Solutions for Those Who Would Rather Run Than Fight. • Managing Conflict Dynamics: A Practical Guide available from the Center for Conflict Dynamics. • Webne-Behrman, Harry. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Office of Human Resources, “Confronting Conflicts”. • Vancouver Island University, Managing Workplace Conflict. http://www.viu.ca/conflict/index.asp • Muir, Jeffrey. Conflict Resolution Survival Guide for Business Leaders, 2012. • Buchler, Cricket. (Author (2012, December 17). Crucial Confrontations – Cricket Buchler. YouTube. [Video podcast]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riq3VhjJhw8 • Shared Visions, S. (Producer) (2012, November 12). Dialogue example - steps to mastering a crucial conversation. YouTube. [Video podcast]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kde9flV3OlE