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Avoiding Conflict In Communication


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Presentation delivered in ABS in the Congress for Coordinators and Directors of Studies in August 2006

Published in: Economy & Finance, Education

Avoiding Conflict In Communication

  2. 2. Conflict: The Tip of the Iceberg <ul><li>An emergent </li></ul><ul><li>Grounded on faulty communication processes . </li></ul><ul><li>Can be prevented, more than avoided. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Conflict in Communication ? ?
  4. 4. Objective: <ul><li>Introduce a communication model. </li></ul><ul><li>Use this model to analyze the way communication takes place in our schools. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide a framework to improve or develop a communication system that prevents conflict. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Potential Sources of Conflict (1) <ul><li>Assuming that because we are aware of some information, then everybody is. </li></ul><ul><li>Assuming that communication “just happens” and there is no need to work on it. </li></ul><ul><li>Confusing “being systematic” with “being bureaucratic” </li></ul><ul><li>Believing that subordinates do not need to see “the whole picture.” </li></ul>
  6. 6. Potential Sources of Conflict (2) <ul><li>Systematically avoiding confrontation. </li></ul><ul><li>Not working on skills development (listening skills, negotiation skills, meeting management skills, decision making skills) </li></ul><ul><li>Lacking a communication system. </li></ul><ul><li>Having a domineering management style. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Task 1. Match the expressions in your booklet page … with the potential sources of conflict. <ul><li>Assuming too much </li></ul><ul><li>Confusing “systematic” with “bureaucratic” </li></ul><ul><li>Not sharing the whole picture </li></ul><ul><li>Systematically avoiding confrontation </li></ul><ul><li>Ignoring “the grapevine” </li></ul><ul><li>Lacking a communication system </li></ul>
  9. 9. Information: Documents <ul><li>Documents used with students. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Registration form </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Report card </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attendance record </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Certificate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Surveys </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Documents used with teachers. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contract </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Course syllabus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student record sheet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appraisal interview form </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Annual performance review </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Information: Format How will information be “packed”? <ul><li>Who will write it? </li></ul><ul><li>Who will read it? When? </li></ul><ul><li>Will it be paper-based or electronic? </li></ul><ul><li>Will it generate a data basis? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it necessary, practical, clear, reliable? </li></ul><ul><li>Will it help our transactions of information? </li></ul><ul><li>Will it have a legal value? </li></ul>
  11. 11. Prevent Conflict in Information Format <ul><li>Work on information format. Ex. </li></ul><ul><li>List the documents you use in your school. </li></ul><ul><li>Revise them in terms of their </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clarity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comprehensibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consistency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Practicality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Value </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Information: Spreading How will we let others know? <ul><li>Who should know? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the most effective way to reach them? </li></ul><ul><li>What channel will we use? </li></ul><ul><li>How will this way of spreading adapt to our needs and structure today? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Spreading:Transactions of Information Rumor tells about concerns, fears, prejudice, desires Organograms should reflect real transactions. Informal transactions Formal, stable transactions
  14. 14. Task 2. Explore your communication network EXPLORE YOUR COMMUNICATION NETWORK   Who are your interlocutors? How do you communicate with them? How often?       EXPLORE YOUR COMMUNICATION NETWORK   Who are your interlocutors? How do you communicate with them? How often?       interlocutors e-mail phone call memo bulletin board 1on1 meeting group meeting informal chat total students               ////   teachers   ///     /       ///    director                 coordinator ///          //       parents     //             receptionist                 Ana                 .Gabriela.                 Hassan                 total                
  15. 15. Prevent Conflict in Information Spreading <ul><li>Develop a system for information spreading based on the needs, structure and resources of your school. </li></ul><ul><li>Stick to this system and develop a set of procedures for routine communication. </li></ul><ul><li>Train staff in these procedures. </li></ul><ul><li>Be flexible when that system needs to be modified. </li></ul><ul><li>Be on the lookout for better ways of spreading. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Information Summary Speaking Writing Designing N-TICS Standard format Procedures A system Clarity Comprehensi-bility Consistency Message format Spreading Skills Develop Aim at Focus on
  17. 17. Relationships Background Expectations Beliefs Desires Goals Schemata Background Expectations Beliefs Desires Goals Schemata Interpersonal Interaction IMAGE ROLE
  18. 18. ABC Cognitive Model Understand Communication as Behavior. A B C stimulus mental process overt behavior
  19. 19. The “B” Behind Behavior <ul><li>It may contain roadblocks to assertive behavior : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I must avoid making questions or statements that will make me look stupid or ignorant”. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ If I assert myself in any relationship others will get mad at me”. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ If I say I don’t agree my supervisor will think I am not being supportive” </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Assertive strategies <ul><li>Make known your desires and feelings in an open, direct, non-aggressive manner. Ex. “Yes, I understand (other’s response), but I still believe (your goal or thought). </li></ul><ul><li>Express your feelings about a situation without threatening others. </li></ul><ul><li>Make a non-assertive person open up. Pursue the topic in a gentle, probing manner. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Develop effective interpersonal communication skills The Seven Challenges Copyright 1997-2006 by Dennis Rivers. Reproduced with author's permission from the original at Listen first and acknowledge what you hear, even if you don’t agree with it, before expressing your opinion or point of view Explain your conversational intent and invite consent. Translate your complaints into specific requests.
  22. 22. Train staff <ul><li>Train staff in developing effective skills in interpersonal communication. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use the web as a source of material to learn about interpersonal communication. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organize reading circles, workshops and presentations where staff members have a chance to read, discuss and role-play </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Prevent Conflict in Interpersonal Communication <ul><li>Develop effective skills in interpersonal communication. </li></ul><ul><li>Understand communication as behavior. </li></ul><ul><li>Train staff in developing effective skills in communication. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Relationships: Summary listening skills negotiation skills meeting management staff profile professional development program healthy work environment fairness assertive behavior interpersonal interaction Skills Develop Aim at Focus on
  25. 25. Participation: Can we do it together? <ul><li>Knowing the mission and vision </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing values </li></ul><ul><li>Making choices of management style </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Participation mechanisms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decision making </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Holding everybody accountable. </li></ul><ul><li>Being ethical. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Participation and Management Style
  27. 27. Participation: Respecting the Grapevine <ul><li>Employees should feel safe to venture their feelings and opinions to peers (and supervisors). </li></ul><ul><li>Venturing feelings and opinions is only the beginning. </li></ul><ul><li>Real participation implies being accountable. </li></ul><ul><li>Real and effective participation can only take place if we develop participation mechanisms. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Participation Mechanisms (1): <ul><li>Resort to the most collaborative academic tools: feedback sessions, teamwork for planning and teaching, peer visiting. </li></ul><ul><li>Have people write their own task descriptions. </li></ul><ul><li>Have staff take part in hiring procedures. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Participation Mechanisms (2): <ul><li>Have experienced staff train new staff. </li></ul><ul><li>Involve staff in planning and goal settlement. </li></ul><ul><li>Innovate. Create your own techniques to ensure and promote participation . </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a feeling of belonging. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Communication as Participation <ul><li>Participation should be part of the culture of our organizations. </li></ul><ul><li>Why? … Because … </li></ul><ul><li>An organization’s culture manifests itself to outsiders in terms of its image and reputation. </li></ul><ul><li>Roy J. Lewicki </li></ul><ul><li>Organizational Dynamics. Autumn, 1981 </li></ul>
  31. 31. Celebrate the Culture of your organization <ul><li>Develop your identity signs: logo, flag, colors, style, and make them known. </li></ul><ul><li>Create opportunities to be together working and/or enjoying. </li></ul><ul><li>Build a positive identity. Build on strengths. Help others discover what is good about them. </li></ul><ul><li>Create a memory, a story worth telling: explore, collect and register the organization’s stories. </li></ul>
  32. 32. Participation Summary empowerment participation mechanisms decision-making skills management style a code of ethics norms of interaction participation culture of the organization Skills Develop Aim at Focus on
  33. 33. Communication model … so as to become active and cooperative participants of our professional environments. Participation … that should facilitate the development of enriching relationships … Relationships Adequate management of information … Information: Format and Spreading
  34. 34. Acknowledgements <ul><li>Thank you Silvia Laborde for highly professional feedback and encouragement. </li></ul><ul><li>Thank you Marcelo Escobal, for intellectual and business partnership and support, support, support … </li></ul>