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Tools and Techniques for Managing and Resolving Conflict


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This is the first of a series of webinars that Amanda Murphy of the William D. Ruckelshaus Center presented to Extension faculty and staff on Managing and Resolving Conflict.

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Tools and Techniques for Managing and Resolving Conflict

  1. 1. Welcome to Tools and Techniques forManaging and Resolving Conflict Amanda Murphy Project and Research Specialist, The William D. Ruckelshaus Center Extension Faculty, Washington State University Phone: (206) 219-2409
  2. 2. Mission• Neutral resource for collaborative problem solving• Expertise that improves the availability and quality of voluntary collaborative approaches.• Help public, private, tribal, non-profit and other community leaders work together, build consensus and resolve public policy conflicts.• Advance teaching and research missions of the two universities by bringing real-world policy issues to the academic setting.
  3. 3. Services• Neutral Forum• Situation Assessment• Facilitation, Mediation, Conflict Resolution• Project Management, Strategic Planning• Applied Research• Information Portal• Training• Policy Discussions
  4. 4. Webinar SeriesSession 1: Understanding and Responding to Conflict - July 18,2012Session 2: Effective Communication: Thebasis of conflict resolution - July 25, 2012Session 3: A Framework for ProblemSolving - August 1, 2012
  5. 5. Where are you located? What department/area do you work in?What’s one thing you hope to learn from this session?
  6. 6. Session 1 Objectives • Define Conflict • Introduce Types of Conflict • Introduce Conflict Styles • Introduce Skills for Responding to Conflict and De-Escalating Emotions
  7. 7. What words come to mind when you think of the word “Conflict”?
  8. 8. What is Conflict?Definition: A conflict occurs when two or more partiesperceive that they have mutually incompatible values,priorities or goals.
  9. 9. Conflict Characteristics• Normal, inherently neither good nor bad• Can be stressful and unpleasant• Is a process, rather than a moment in time• Rarely just about the content• Does not have to result in winners and losers• An opportunity for positive change In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. – Albert Einstein
  10. 10. Steps to Resolving Conflict1. Understand the Conflict2. Create a Positive Atmosphere3. Develop a Mutual Understanding4. Problem Solve
  11. 11. Causes of ConflictAdapted from:Christopher Moore, The Mediation Process, Third Edition (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass), 2003.
  12. 12. Approaches to Conflict
  13. 13. AvoidWhen this style is appropriate:•Issue is trivial•Cooling off period is needed•Timing is wrongWhen this style is not appropriate:•Issue is important and conflict will not disappear, butinstead continue to get worse
  14. 14. AccommodateWhen this style is appropriate:•Maintaining the relationship more important•Issue is very important to the other person and not toyouWhen this style is not appropriate:•Issue is important to you•Lead to evading the issue when others are ready toaddress it
  15. 15. CompeteWhen this style is appropriate:•A decision needs to be made quickly•Agreed upon that power comes with position ofauthority•Unpopular decision needs to be madeWhen this style is not appropriate:•Losers are powerless to express themselves•Feelings are sensitive•Decision is not urgent
  16. 16. CompromiseWhen this style is appropriate:•A decision needs to be made sooner rather than later•Both parties are better off than attempting a win/loseWhen this style is not appropriate:•Situation is urgent•Unbalanced power•Many important needs must be met
  17. 17. CollaborateWhen this style is appropriate:•An important decision must be made•Situation is not urgent•Previous resolution attempts have failedWhen this style is not appropriate:•The matter is trivial to all involved•Time, commitment and ability are not present
  18. 18. Which of the styles best describes the way you dealt with conflict? What were the results of your chosen style? Is there another style you would prefer to have used? Why?
  19. 19. Conflict Approaches Competing Collaborating •Low relationship •High relationship •High Issue •High Issue •Win/lose power •Expand range of struggle possible options ASSERTIVENESS •Goal is win/win Compromising •Relationship undamaged •Goal is to find “middle ground” Avoiding Accommodating •Low relationship •High relationship •Low Issue •Low Issue •Withdraw from the •Give in to other party situation •Maintain harmony •Maintain neutralityAdapted from Kenneth Thomas &Ralph Kilmann, 1974. COOPERATIVENESS
  20. 20. Responding to ConflictVideo.
  21. 21. Think of a recent conflict. What emotion(s) did you feel? In what part of your body do you experience these emotions?What effect do emotions have on the outcome of a conflict?
  22. 22. Our Brain’s Response to Stress Fight, Flight or Freeze ?Nature has designed us to react to danger signals faster than conscious thought.
  23. 23. What Does an Emotional Person Want?• To Vent• To Be Heard• To Be Understood• To Feel Cared About
  24. 24. De-Escalating Skills
  25. 25. CA RE 2• Control Yourself• Attend• Acknowledge• Reflect• Explore
  26. 26. Control Yourself Before you can de-escalate someone else, you must first de-escalate yourself.•Observe the Situation•Observe Your Own Reaction•Slow and Depend Your Breathing•Relax Your Muscles TIP:•Get Space or Assistance Simply Admitting to Yourself That You Are Becoming Emotional Is the Biggest Step to De- Escalating Yourself.
  27. 27. Attend• Listen and Wait to Respond• Let Them Vent• Don’t Try to Tone Them Down• Suspend Judgment• Listen for Content and Feeling
  28. 28. Acknowledge• Open, Inviting Posture• Verbal Acknowledgments• Eye Contact (this is culture specific)• Relax, Slow Breathing, Decrease Voice Volume• Empathize and Validate• Apologize As Appropriate• Assure of Your Intent
  29. 29. Reflect• Reflect (What You Heard) Back Content and Feeling • “Let me check with you if I’m following. You feel (state feeling) because (state content)…
  30. 30. Explore• Explore and Clarify What You Didn’t Hear • “I’m not clear on that: can you say more about that?” • “So the main concern you have is…?• Keep Focused on the Issue
  31. 31. Summary and Close Steps to Resolving Conflict:2.Understand the Conflict • Analyze the conflict situation – what is the cause? • Identify the appropriate conflict resolution style.3.Create A Positive Atmosphere • CA2RE – neutralize your emotions and the other person’s emotions
  32. 32. Next Sessions Steps to Resolving Conflict:3. Develop a Mutual Understanding • Using communication skills to gain information and understanding.4. Problem Solve • Using the problem solving framework.