Conscious Conflict Management

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Transcript Conscious Conflict Management

Dealing With Conflict GAEL Secretaries Conference September 13, 2007 Don Rooks

Georgia School Boards Association

How do We Deal With Conflict?

Watch Your Language!

More about this later.

Is Conflict Inevitable?


Conflict is Inevitable We will face conflict


But, it can be managed or resolved in ways that result in positive outcomes.

Secretaries Know That The Greatest Cause of Conflict Is…


Secretaries Know That Conflict Can Produce Bad Results

• When there are threats and accusations resulting in blame and anger • When issues proliferate from one to many • When specifics are replaced by general issues – from a specific behavior to the entire relationship

Conflict Can Produce Bad Results

• When concern for self turns into retaliation, resulting in a desire to hurt another or to get even • When the number of parties increases, resulting in factions or cliques

What Can We Learn About Conflict?

Lessons from the Geese

Fact 1: As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the birds that follow. By flying in a v-formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.

Lesson 1: People who share a common direction and a sense of community can get where they are going much quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

This, Then, is a Lesson on the Importance of Harmony in Our Relationships

Fact 2: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation, to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.

Lesson 2: If we have as much sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.

This is a Lesson on the Importance of Cooperation in Our Relationships

Fact 3: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.

Lesson 3: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each others’ skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents and resources.

This is a Lesson on the Importance of Supporting One Another

Fact 4: The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

Lesson 4: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is much greater. The power of encouragement is the quality of honking we seek.

This Lesson Teaches Us That Caring Is Important

Fact 5: When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation, and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with the fallen goose until it dies or is able to fly again, and only then do they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.

Lesson 5: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

And finally, We Learn from the Geese That Courage is Important

To Summarize:

It Is Important In Our Relationships to Build





Mutual Support


Caring for One Another

, And to Have the


of Our Convictions

Overview • Perception • Conflict • Dealing With Conflict • Dealing With A Chronic Complainer

Overview • Five strategies for dealing with conflict.

• Three types of needs that produce conflict. • Three processes that are used universally to resolve conflict.

Conflict is Inevitable The issue is not whether we will experience conflict - we will!

The issue is how we will respond to it.

We See Conflict Expressed Daily in Newspaper Headlines

Recent Headlines

• Auditors Question Spending by DA • School Brawl Ends in Stabbing • The Debate Over Illegal Immigration • Judge Demands Details on Jail Taser Use • Safety in the Skies Divides Air Traffic Controllers, FAA

Secretaries Have Learned That: We act in accordance with the truth not as it is, but as we believe it to be.

Lou Tice “Investment in Excellence”

Secretaries Know This Important Fact:

Satisfied needs

do not motivate.

It’s only the

unsatisfied need

that motivates.

Secretaries Know That the Way People See Things – Their Perception or Their Mental Image – Is Very Important

Secretaries Want to Know: How Does Perception Impact Conflict?

The Role of Perception in Conflict Many times there is no problem.

Big conflicts often are based on no problem at all; because people get upset based on

their own perception (mental image) of reality.

Secretaries Know That: Perceptions determine emotions (feelings) Emotions determine behaviors Behaviors determine outcomes

Secretaries Want to Know: What Things Influence Our Perception?

• Our Experience • Our Goals • Our Values

Secretaries Know That There Are Three Possible Ways to Perceive Reality • How I see things - based on my own experience, goals and values • How you see things - based on your experience, goals and values • How things really are - the best chance of success in problem solving

Secretaries Now Know the Following: Our perception of reality influences our responses even if we know we do not have all of the information about what actually occurred.

Secretaries Want to Know – What Stimulates Conflict?

The Belief (which may not be true) that

“If you get what you want, I can’t get what I want.”


Actually, a collision of behaviors: One or both parties interfere with the goals of the other.

Three Kinds of Needs: The Sources of All Conflict • Resources Needs not enough • Psychological Needs – to be somebody; to win; self-esteem • Needs Based on Values Beliefs people hold most dear

Secretaries Want to Know: What Can Cause Conflict to Escalate?

• Accusations and threats.

• Moving from a single issue to multiple issues.

• Generalizing from the specific problem to the entire relationship.

Actions that May Escalate Conflict • Turning feelings into hate.

• Wasting energy on getting even.

Actions that May Escalate Conflict • Turning feelings into hate.

• Wasting energy on getting even.

• Enlisting others to help fight the battle.

The Conflict Escalator Peace Conflict Anger Frustration




Rooks Educational Services

Secretaries Know That The Greatest Conflict Resolution Skill Is – Listening!!

To Be a Good Listener, We Should:

Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Steven Covey

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Secretaries Know That There Are Two Powerful Messages We Send When We Listen to Others 1. You are



2. You are



Secretaries Also Know That There Are Two Reasons We Listen 1. To



2. To



Secretaries Know That All Listening Is Not Equal: There Are Five Levels of Listening Empathic Attentive Selective Pretending Ignoring

How Can Secretaries Become Better Listeners?

• Practice Rapid Repeat • Put other thoughts out of your mind • Don’t talk too much • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes • Face the person, lean slightly forward, and make eye contact

Sender Secretaries Know That Communication Means Shared Understanding Receiver

But Secretaries Also Know That There Are Barriers to Understanding Sender Receiver

There Are Only Three Ways to Resolve Conflict • Negotiation – Discussion without a third party • Mediation - Includes a neutral third party who cannot make a binding decision • Arbitration - Includes a third party who can make a decision binding on both parties

Secretaries Follow the Rules for Managing Conflict 1. They identify the problem.

2. They focus on the problem.

3. They attack the


, not the person.

4. They


with an open mind.

Avoid These Fouls to Manage Conflict Well (Watch Your Language!) • Blaming, threats, name calling.

• Bossing.

• Making excuses.

• Not listening.

• Getting even.

How Does The Golden Rule Fit In?

What Is It? Does following it build good chemistry in relationships?

Five Tips To Build Chemistry Instead Of Conflict Watch Your Language!

Five Tips To Build Chemistry Instead Of Conflict Live by the Platinum Rule

The Platinum Rule Do unto others the way they want to be done unto.

Tony Allesandra “The Platinum Rule” Insight, No. 165, p.20

Five Tips To Build Chemistry Instead Of Conflict • Watch Your Language • Live by the Platinum Rule • Recognize that conflict is inevitable, and develop your own strategies for dealing with it • Become a good listener (not a pretender) • Stay calm and think things through

Before Conflict Is Resolved: Four Preconditions for Reaching Conflict Resolution Must Exist 1. A concern for mutual gain – Knowledge that helping you meet your needs can help me meet my needs 2. Flexible on solutions; firm on interests – Willing to negotiate to find solutions that satisfy both parties’ needs

Four Preconditions for Reaching Conflict Resolution 3. Creativity – Develop a Plan B – Be willing to brainstorm solutions 4. Separation of people from the problem – Be


– Be




on the


Secretaries Know What They Can Do To Manage Conflict • Have



• Stay


. Control your temper.

• Practice Good

listening skills


Secretaries Know What They Can Do To Manage Conflict • Ask good



• Think things


. • Ask the key question: What can I do to resolve the problem?

Five Strategies Secretaries Can Use To Manage Conflict 1. Yield • Unilaterally give in to the other person.

2. Withdraw • Abandon the conflict.

3. Inaction • Procrastinate (believe the problem will solve itself or deny there is a problem)

Five Strategies for Managing Conflict 4. Contend • “Only one of us will win, and it’s going to be me!” 5. Problem Solve • Get to a win-win solution in which both parties believe they have won.

Helga Rhode, Psy. D.

“Dealing with Conflict & Communication”

Helpful Tips Secretaries May Use When The Contend Strategy Is Used • Discuss the present and future; don’t place blame for past wrongdoing • Allow the other person to state their point of view without interrupting • Express your feelings rather than dramatize them

How Can Secretaries Deal With The Chronic Complainer?

Understand Their Motive • They want someone else to solve their problem.

• Complaints are defense mechanisms against self-blame.

How Do Secretaries Describe the Chronic Complainer?

• They feel powerless to deal with problems they know about - but you can, so it’s your problem.

• They make accusations. • They have a strong sense of what ought to be.

• To themselves, they are morally perfect.

Coping Skills Secretaries Can Use With Chronic Complainers • Listen attentively, but don’t fall into the trap of apologizing. • Ask questions: Have them check out facts for themselves.

• Ask them what they intend to do; help them stay in a problem solving mode.

Coping Skills Secretaries Can Use With Chronic Complainers • If they complain about a third party, ask them if they’ve discussed the problem with that party. Suggest they meet. Ask if you can tell the third party what they said.

• Never accuse a complainer of complaining.

Coping Skills Secretaries Can Use With Chronic Complainers • Ask questions that don’t challenge their ideas; this helps them rethink those ideas.

• Ask questions that require them to review their plans and review their consequences - then praise their knowledge.

Dealing With Conflict GAEL Secretaries Conference September 13, 2007 Don Rooks

Georgia School Boards Association