Strategies for Conflict Resolution | Catrinel Girbovan | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Causes of Conflict


    • 5.

      Acknowledgement of Conflict


    • 6.

      The Meeting Part A


    • 7.

      Meeting Part B


    • 8.

      Resolution & Accountability


    • 9.

      Conflict Resolution Example


    • 10.



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About This Class

Learn effective strategies for conflict resolution and transform your personal and professional life!

Conflict helps us unearth inefficiencies within our process and teams, and handling it responsibly offers insights into process, culture and team dynamics improvements. Using relevant findings from the field of behavioral psychology, this comprehensive class will teach you effective strategies for managing conflicts personally and professionally.

Key lessons include:

  • The Cost of Suppressing Negative Emotions
  • Best Practices during a Conflict Resolution Meeting
  • Importance of Perspective Taking
  • Lines of Communication
  • Proactive Strategies to Minimize Conflict

Whether you’re an individual looking to deepen your understanding of conflict resolution techniques in order to better navigate life’s challenges or a leader proactively seeking ways to empower your team by modeling effective strategies for conflict resolution, this class will provide valuable and practical information to achieve positive results.

See you in class!



Song: Conflict Skills
Music provided by Claudiu Van Girbo


Hannibal KE, Bishop MD. Chronic stress, cortisol dysfunction, and pain: a psychoneuroendocrine rationale for stress management in pain rehabilitation. Phys Ther. 2014;94(12):1816-25. doi:10.2522/ptj.20130597

Newsom J, Mahan T, Rook TL, KS, Krause N. Stable negative social exchanges and health. Health Psychology. 2008;27(1)78-86. doi:10.1037/0278-6133.27.1.78

Overton, A. R., & Lowry, A. C. (2013). Conflict management: difficult conversations with difficult people. Clinics in colon and rectal surgery26(4), 259–264.

Pennebaker, James W. (July 1993). "Putting stress into words: Health, linguistic, and therapeutic implications". Behaviour Research and Therapy. 31 (6): 539–548. doi:10.1016/0005-7967(93)90105-4. PMID 8347112.

Meet Your Teacher

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Catrinel Girbovan

Process Improvement Consultant PhD


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My Story 

I am a Performance and Process Consultant. Having first earned a PhD in Experimental Psychology, I rely on scientific evidence to bring you emerging trends, methods that work and resources that can help you create and live your dream life.

I currently help my clients create more balance in their lives by making positive changes and letting go of limiting beliefs in their personal lives and/or in their careers. I take a proactive approach by guiding people in tweaking their beliefs and habits in order to find joy and fulfillment in their everyday lives. 

 I believe every single person has something to offer and teach to the rest of th... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: Welcome to Strategies for Conflict Resolution. My name is Cartinel Girbovan. As a life and business coach, I currently help my clients create more balance in their lives by making positive changes, letting go of limiting beliefs, and becoming more purposeful in their actions. Having a background in experimental psychology, I rely on scientific evidence to bring my clients emerging trends and actionable methods that have been proven to bring about desired change. Conflict helps us unearth inefficiencies within our process and teams. Handling it responsibly offers insights into culture and team dynamics improvements. Using relevant findings from the field of behavioral psychology, this comprehensive class will teach you effective strategies for managing conflicts personally and professionally. Whether you're an individual looking to deepen your understanding of conflict resolution techniques in order to better navigate life's challenges or a leader, proactively seeking ways to empower your team by modeling effective conflict resolution techniques, this class will provide valuable and practical information to achieve positive results. This class will address topics such as the consequences of leaving conflict unresolved, the cost of suppressing negative emotions, as well as best practices during a conflict resolution meeting, among many others. Philosopher and psychologist William James once said, "Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there's one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is your attitude." Conflict may be unavoidable in our personal and professional lives, but learning to approach it objectively and managing it efficiently is key. This class will give you the tools to do that with confidence. We do have a lot of material to cover. So let's get started with a quick overview of the class project. 2. Class Project : Practice effective conflict resolution strategies. Choose a pass or ongoing conflict from your personal or professional life and work through the strategies discussed in the class by using the script provided. The script is a series of questions that will help you work through the conflict on your own and is located under the Projects and Resources tab. The goal of this class project is to break down the conflict situation in order to highlight your past, old present limitations, and bring about a focus point for future change. Using these strategies discussed in this class, you will feel empowered to actively and responsibly address conflict as it arises. The class is designed in such a way as to provide relevant information regarding conflict, while also following the natural progression of conflict resolution. That said, we will begin by discussing conflict as it pertains to our daily lives. It's most common causes, as well as its impact on organizations. Before diving into actual conflict resolution techniques and finishing off with some ways to minimize conflict in the future. As we dive deeper in this topic, I hope you can keep in mind that conflict isn't something to fear or dismiss. Because at a conflict comes change. When handled efficiently, conflict can lead to better ideas, greater understanding, and improved personal and working relationships. We'll begin our first lesson by addressing the core topic of this class, which is Conflict. It's main causes as well as some staggering statistics of conflict in the workplace. 3. Conflict: In the context of this class, a conflict is defined as a sharp disagreement or opposition of interests or ideas. At the heart of every conflict is a breakdown in communication. Expectations may not have been set, context may not have been transferred, intentions and actions may have been misinterpreted. The positive aspect of this is that there is room for growth and by learning some of the skills outlined in this class, conflict can be dealt with in a constructive way. Let's take a look at some interesting statistics regarding conflict to better appreciate its impact on our lives. Relationship conflict can negatively affect your health in several ways. Portland State University's Institute of Aging studied over 650 adults over a two-year period and found that stable negative social exchanges, in other words repetitive or prolonged conflict, were significantly associated with lower self-rated health, greater functional limitations, and a higher number of health conditions. The takeaway is that ongoing conflict really can take a toll on your health. You might become more susceptible to chronic headaches and illnesses like cold and flu. You may also experience chronic pain in areas like your back or your neck. Researchers also found that in couples where one partner habitually suppressed anger, partners tended to die younger, and couples in relationships where both partners suppressed anger, tended to have the worst longevity. It turns out that not dealing with conflict appropriately can lead to some significant health problems and decrease quality of life. Let's move on now to organizational conflict. A study by the American Management Association found that managers spend at least 24 percent of their day managing conflict. Though there is no guarantee that that time is spent productively using effective strategies or that it results in healthy conflict resolution. Conflict is also associated with significant cost to organizations. In a study of employees from nine countries, the average number of hours spent per week on workplace conflict varied from 0.9-3.3 hours. In the United States, the average was 2.8 hours a week. The calculated expense based on average hourly earnings in 2008 was 359 billion in lost time. High rates of employee turnover and absenteeism are associated with environments where conflict is poorly managed. In a 2015 report, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that 30 percent of employees in the UK experience interpersonal conflict that work in an average year. Interestingly, it has also been found that 60 percent of employees never received basic conflict management classes or training for conflict resolution in the workplace. Out of those who did, 95 percent state that the training help them navigate workplace conflict positively and seek mutually beneficial outcomes. This is in fact supported by a study from Columbia University that showed that companies with a healthy corporate culture report on average a turnover rate of just 13.9 percent compared to 48.4 percent at companies with a poor culture. We've seen that leaving conflict unresolved can cause serious problems to workplace morale, productivity, and company culture. While you can try and avoid conflict, you cannot escape conflict completely. The fact that the matter is that conflict in the workplace and in our daily lives is at times unavoidable. The ability to recognize imminent conflict and be able to bring swift and just resolution will serve you well not just in workplace environment, but in all areas of your life. 4. Causes of Conflict: Before we tackle how one should handle conflict, we need to understand the dynamics of workplace conflict. It has been shown that 34 percent of workplace conflict happens among employees on the front line. Twelve percent of employees say they often see conflict within their senior team. Forty nine percent of workplace conflict happens as a result of personality clashes and egos. Thirty four percent of conflict is a result of workplace stress. Thirty three percent of workplace conflict is a result of heavy workloads. Twenty seven percent of employees have seen personal attacks arise from conflicts. Nine percent of employees have seen projects fail because of workplace conflict. These numbers suggest that the single most common contributor to conflict is differences in personality, or styles of working, supporting a relational view of conflict. The reality is that we're all different. We're not always going to like everyone we meet and it's not easy to work with someone whose personality we find distasteful. It's helpful to remember that who we perceive someone to be, is not necessarily who they actually are. This circles back to the theme of empathy. We'll talk about this a little more in depth in a different section, but this refers to showing empathy towards others. While personality-based conflict are the most common, there are also interdependence or task-based conflicts. These disagreements arise in situations when individuals in an interdependent project network, must coordinate their tasks so that everyone can successfully get their part done. For example, an accountant can't do their job without all the numbers. If an employee is constantly late with their reports, it affects the accountant's ability to finish up and make deadlines. The solution: delegate tasks effectively, communicate with the team the importance of responsibility and accountability, clarify what everyone should be doing in their role so they're all on the same page when deadlines approach. Leadership conflicts: everybody has a different leadership style, and everybody reacts differently to those leadership styles. Some leaders are bold and charismatic, others are more laid back, warm, and inviting. Some are highly technical and strict on the rules and deadlines, and others are so hands-off, you hardly see them. To solve potential conflicts, you need to emphasize mutual respect of differences throughout the company. Leaders should also be aware of their own leadership styles and how they interact with the work styles and personalities of people on their team. They should be able to just adjust and connect with their employees, no matter their leadership preferences. Work style conflicts; just as there are different leadership styles, there are different work styles. Some people prefer to work in groups, while others do their best work alone. Some people need no extra direction to complete a task, while others like external input and direction every step of the way. Some people get more work done under pressure and others like to knock their tasks out early. The same idea of mutual respect and understanding applies here, as well as throughout all workplace conflicts and any interaction involving other people. We may prefer a particular work style, but sometimes in groups, teams must collaborate to come up with an idea greater than one mind could think up alone, meaning that they have to learn to deal with each other's differences. Creativity based conflicts: conflict when it comes to idea brainstorming is actually an excellent opportunity to make the idea even better. Employees need to recognize the ideas of others, voice their own, and then gather the best pieces together for stunning solution. If two individuals were disagreeing on a project idea, they could talk to each other and cooperatively decide on one idea or the other. They could also look for compromise, so both ideas can shine through while producing an even better outcome, spawning from the collaboration. If needed, they could approach another colleague or a higher-up, to mediate the discussion or offer their opinion on the final decision. Discrimination: this is where workplace conflict gets more serious, and where human resources may have to get involved. If there's harassment or discrimination going on due to age, race, ethnicity, gender, or what have you, there's a serious need for the company to explicitly emphasize open-mindedness, acceptance, and understanding. There should absolutely be no place for discrimination in the workplace. Now that we've looked at the most common types of conflict, what are the most common types of behavior during these conflicts? The most common negative behavior reported in conflict is a lack of respect. Again, highlighting that a major aspect of conflict boils down to failing to relate to each other as individuals in a healthy way. Aside from this, there is a widespread of reported behaviors during conflict, including: bullying or refusal to cooperate, shouting, and verbal abuse. Actual or threatened physical abuse is far rarer and typically comes from people outside the organization. In a 2015 report, The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development noted that there are major procession gaps in the behavior we experience from others, and that which we believe others have experienced from us. This supports the theory of attribution bias, which proposes that we are constantly more favorable in interpreting our own behavior than that of other people. We find that conflict is universal and its consequences can not be ignored. While conflict is a normal part of any social and organizational setting, the challenge of conflict lies in how one chooses to deal with it. Unresolved conflict often results in loss of productivity, the stifling of creativity, and accretion of barriers to cooperation and collaboration. Developing effective conflict resolution skills, are an essential component of building a sustainable business model, and maintaining meaningful relationships. This lesson outline important consequences of conflict in organizations. In the next lesson, we will discuss acknowledging that a conflict has occurred, and elaborate on next steps in the resolution process. 5. Acknowledgement of Conflict: In this section, we will dive right into strategies for conflict resolution. Number one, acknowledgment of conflict. First comes awareness of the problem, either you noticed the problem yourself, someone else at the company informs you of the conflict or the other party involved tells you about the issue. In any case it has gone to the point where work is being affected and other workers morale are negatively impacted. Many workers make the mistake of just brushing conflicts under the rug, hoping it will just take care of itself, or at the very least, not affect work too negatively. Avoidance is rarely a good strategy as conflict tends to fester and get worse. At some point, especially as the problem progresses and begins to affect the company in obvious ways, you will have to acknowledge a problem exists that is serious enough to warrant intervention. This may occur because the situation has escalated enough that it demands your attention or a tense conversation with the other party just occurred. It is only natural then that the first thing you should do following acknowledgment of a conflict is to pause and breathe. Why is that? Well, as Ambrose Bierce said," Speak when you're angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret." Therefore, the first step is to calm down and accept the reality of the conflict. It is really hard to be rational when you're upset or angry. If you're having a conflict with a colleague and if you are worked up, you're unlikely to make good decisions about what to say or do. Rather than jumping into the discussion right away, buy yourself some time, explain to your colleague that you need time to think through the issues before coming back to it. If things are really heated you can simply walk away, leave the room, go to the bathroom, or take a walk outside to give yourself a chance to cool down. When you feel ready to make a thoughtful choice about how to proceed, you can return to the discussion. The cost of suppressing negative emotions. Anger and sadness are an important part of life. A new research shows that experiencing and accepting such emotions are vital to our mental health. Attempting to suppress thoughts can backfire and even diminish our sense of contentment. "Acknowledging the complexity of life may be an especially fruitful path to psychological well-being," says psychologist Jonathan.M.Adler. There are a variety of reasons why this is so difficult. We've been trained to believe that strong emotions should be suppressed. We have a certain sometimes unspoken societal and organizational rule against expressing them, or we've never learned the language to accurately describe our emotions. Now it's been shown that when people don't acknowledge and address their emotions, they display lower well-being and more physical symptoms of stress such as headaches. There is a high cost to avoiding our feelings. On the flip side, having the right vocabulary allows us to see the real issue at hand, to take a messy situation, understanding more clearly and build a road map to address the problem. Words matter. If you're experiencing a strong emotion, take a moment to consider what to call it, but don't stop there, once you've identified it try to come up with two or more words that describe how you're feeling. When you feel angry, which is a common emotional response to a conflict, what's often sitting beneath that anger is a more nuanced emotions such as betrayal, feeling unseen, or disappointment. Now remember that one of the primary reasons we have emotions in the first place is to help us evaluate our experiences. Naming emotions in order to accept them. Dealing effectively with emotions is a key leadership skill and naming our emotions what psychologists call, labeling, is an important first step in dealing with them effectively. But it's harder than it sounds, many of us struggle to identify what exactly we are feeling, and oftentimes the most obvious label isn't actually the most accurate. Labeling allows you to see your thoughts and feelings for what they are, transient sources of data that may or may not prove helpful. As humans, we are psychologically able to take this objective view of our private experiences and mounting scientific evidence shows that simple, straightforward mindfulness practice like this one not only improves behavior and well-being, but also promotes beneficial biological changes in our brain. Now before you can decide whether to express your emotion to the other party, you need to better understand it. Ask yourself, what is it that I'm experiencing exactly? What is the emotion beneath the emotion? and when you come up with the answer ask yourself, what are two other emotions that I'm experiencing? Now the accurate labeling of emotions is a critical step to moving forward effectively. It's equally important to do this with positive emotions as well as negative emotions, being able to say that you're excited about something is just as equally important as saying that you are angry or sad about an experience. Here is a list of words from emotional fragility researcher Susan David that you may use to describe your emotions both as part of the conflict that you're dealing with or other positive or negative experiences in your life, make a practice out of it, eventually it'll become a lot easier to just name your emotions as they appear. Instead of backing away from negative emotions, accept them, acknowledge how you are feeling without rushing to change your emotional state. Many people find it helpful to breathe slowly and deeply while learning to tolerate strong feelings or one can also learn to imagine the feeling as floating clouds that come and go as a reminder that they will pass. Now the opposite of control is acceptance. Not acting on every thought or resigning yourself to negativity, but responding to your ideas and your emotions with an open attitude by paying attention to them and letting yourself experienced them. You can also do this by taking ten deep breaths and notice what's happening both physically and emotionally. Now this can bring relief, but it won't necessarily make you feel good, in fact you might even realize just how upset you really are about the conflict that just took place. The important thing is to show yourself and others some compassion, and examine the reality of the situation objectively. What's going on with you internally and externally? Can you take an objective look, a helicopter view of the situation? In a 2012 study, psychologist Shannon Sauer-Zavala, Boston University and her co-workers found that a therapy that including mindfulness training, helped individuals overcome anxiety disorders. It worked and not by minimizing the number of negative feelings, but by training patients to accept those feelings. An interesting point she makes is that it is impossible to avoid negative emotions altogether because the live is to experience setbacks and conflicts, therefore learning how to cope with these emotions is key. But that goes against basic biology. All healthy human beings have an inner stream of thoughts and feelings that include criticism, doubt, and fear. That's just our mind's doing the job that they were designed to do, trying to anticipate and solve problems and avoid potential pitfalls. Now the more you practice identifying your emotions, labeling them, and allowing to stay with those feelings, no matter how uncomfortable it is, the easier it will be to take an objective approach to your experiences including dealing with conflict. Now here's one last method to help you dig deeper in this process. Writing it out using "I" statements. What am I feeling? James Pennebaker has done 40 years of research into the links between writing and emotional processing. His experiments reveal that people who write about emotionally-charged episodes experienced a marked increase in their physical and mental well-being. Now his experiments also revealed that over time, those who wrote about their feelings began to develop insights into what those feelings meant or didn't mean using phrases such as; I have learned, it struck me that, the reason that, I now realize and, I understand. The process of writing allow them to gain a new perspective on their emotions and to understand them and their implications more clearly. It is often assumed that once a conflict has occurred, we should jump-start the resolution process with the other person by staging a meeting. However, there's so much work to be done on our own prior to meeting with the other party. Do not underestimate the importance of this part in the resolution process. Once you understand what you are feeling, then you can better address and learn from those more accurately described emotions and are better prepared to act. If you feel confident that you've done all the work necessary to come to terms with how you feel about the conflict, you are ready to proceed to the next step, which is to stage a meeting with the other party. 6. The Meeting Part A: You have decided to manage the conflict yourself, at least initially. The second step in a process is to have a one-on-one private conversation with the other party. The step is incredibly important to allow each to freely and openly express themselves, after having taken time privately to deal with his or her emotions. It's not only important to get together and talk, it's important to get together and listen. Tap into your empathy and have a dialogue with each other. Don't avoid it. Have a sit down somewhere and make sure both of you have a chance to say everything you need to say. Lines of communication. We'll discuss the how, the when, and the where. Many introverts may shutter at this one and understandably so. Dealing with conflict and person can be tricky and comes with a few caveats. But is nonetheless incredibly important to support other conflict resolution techniques. E-mail, Slack, and phone calls, all offer more opportunities for communication breakdowns than a good, old-fashioned in-person meeting. E-mail as an efficient and offers time for resentment and negative feelings to marinate. Along with the high possibility that your texts may be misinterpreted, especially when either party may feel defensive. Slack may not leave time for considered conversation, and phone calls rob us of important emotional cues in the other person's face and body language. In short, many conflict resolution techniques tend to lose their potency when separated from visual emotional cues. When should this meeting occur? Finding the right time can also be challenging. We don't necessarily want to meet when emotions are still running high, but we don't want to lend negative feelings marinate. We also don't want to force people in a dialogue before they're ready. Particularly, introverted folks who may need more time to inventory and articulate their thoughts. But we also don't want to wait too long that the issue is deprioritized. Test the water is by reaching out to the other party either in person or by phone or e-mail, and ask them if they would like to talk it out or if they have available time in mind and see where that goes. You can go from there to stage a meeting. The meeting should occur in an environment that is neutral and feel safe, ideally away from other employees. In a safe environment, all participants believe they will be respected and treated fairly. During the meeting itself, begin by clarifying what the disagreement is about. Clarifying involves getting to the heart of the conflict. The goal of the step is to get both sides to agree on what the disagreement actually is. To do this, you need to discuss what happened and what gave rise to the conflict. It may be helpful to label the type of conflict that has occurred. Was your personalities clashing? Your styles of work? A task-specific conflict? As we discussed in previous sections, many workplace conflicts are born out of misunderstandings due to different communication styles. You may say one thing, and a coworker may interpret it differently than you had intended. This is inevitable. We rely on the digital world, which means that we're constantly messaging on Slack, working remotely and potentially haven't met many of our team members in person. This can exacerbate the pitfalls of interpersonal and especially Team conflict resolution. Express how you feel. Of course, there's always a risk that you will express an emotion or sentiment that's important to you and the other person doesn't reciprocate or even retaliates. This has to be a chance that you're willing to take, and you'll be much better equipped to accept the consequences if your intention is to develop mutual understanding. If you act in accordance to your values, which include allowing yourself to acknowledge your emotions, then you truly are doing the best you can. During the actual conversation, it is important to engage in active listening. Don't just wait for your turn to talk. Really listen to the other person. Remember, however, that just because you're listening, you are not taking a passive role in this conversation. Be attentive to their words and try to think how they think and feel. Ask open-ended questions to make sure that you understand what they meant to say, and not just what you thought they were saying. You can also practice paraphrasing or restating their responses in your own words, which also shows active listening skills and makes clear whether you both have the same understanding in its simplest form. Empathy is the ability to recognize emotions in others and to understand other people's perspectives on a situation. An empathic listener works to keep the speaker from feeling or becoming defensive. To use empathic listening, listen patiently to what the other person has to say. Even if you do not agree with it, it is important to show acceptance, though not necessarily agreement, by simply nodding or injecting phrases such as, I understand or I see. Encourage the speaker to continue with their message by interjecting summary responses. For example, you do not feel as though you play a strong enough role on the team, or you feel your talents and experiences would be better utilized in another position, or you could say, you feel as though you are undervalued on this project. Now, this should be done in a neutral way so as not to lead the speaker into your way of thinking. Other tips include asking open-ended questions, focusing initially on points of agreement, and continuing to use I statements. Some examples of I statements are, I feel frustrated, I am concerned. One must be aware of one's body language as well as tone and volume of voice during this entire conversation. Do keep that in mind and be more aware of how it is that you project yourself to the other person. Conflict is never one-sided and neither are the emotions that accompany it. If you're going to express that you're angry and feeling betrayed, you have to consider what the other person might be feeling as well. This type of perspective taking and the empathy and compassion that it triggers, is important to solving conflicts. If you decide to express how you're feeling, it's best to follow up by asking the other person about their emotional experience. Once you see why others believe what they believe, you can acknowledge it. This doesn't mean that you have to agree with it as we discussed earlier, but this is not the time for a debate. Instead, be sure to show respect and to keep listening. We'll dive into a few other important points in the next lesson, including when not to say during a conflict resolution meeting. 7. Meeting Part B: In this lesson, we will dive deeper into the conflict resolution meeting, how to maintain a goal-oriented conversation, why apologizing extends an olive branch to the other party and provides common ground for resolution. Finally, what to avoid during a conflict resolution meeting? Goal-oriented conversation. We all know why conflict resolution is good, but what are the specific benefits that you can tie to a particular conflict? When assessing how to handle conflict with a coworker, you may find that they are more open to discussion when you surface your goal. For example, I want to find more collaborative ways for our teams to flag issues early in the process. Or I want to take a look at our process so that we can catch this next time. Or even more empathically, I want to know what I can do better next time. All of these examples establish a two-way street. This is essential when dealing with conflict in the workplace and more likely to make your next encountering more successful. Apologize. Sure, this isn't super fun. But turning the spotlight on you and your own team's behavior is one of the quintessential conflict resolution techniques and it is an efficient one. Evaluating our own behavior, our flaws and limitations, showcase our vulnerability and let's face it, there's always something we can be doing better for our teams or clients. Offering an example of something you'd like to do differently in the future, creates an open atmosphere for others to evaluate their own behavior. I encourage you to express how you could have handled things better using I statements again, 'I could have, I should have, in the future, I will make sure that I.' The more often you do so in terms of day-to-day at work, the stronger this aspect of your team's culture becomes, if everyone feel safe when surfacing their own missteps, questions of how to handle conflict at work becomes secondary as issues can be discussed in a conflict free zone. Appreciating silence. Our instinct can be to fill in the silence when there's a gap in a conversation, especially if that silence is awkward or difficult. In conflict resolution, that silence is very different. Learn to dig into those silences when having a difficult conversation so that the other person involved has a chance to reflect and consider their own responses. Allow time for everyone to carefully consider questions or start statements that can be difficult for them. Encourage thoughtfulness and don't feel the need to fill in awkward silences when dealing with a topic that doesn't necessarily have uneasy answer. What not to do. As we have seen so far, there are strategies that will lead to faster conflict resolution, but they're also behaviors that can hold you back. For instance, avoid telling someone how they felt, what they said or what they did during the conflict. Focus on personality, not behavior. Our memory is valuable, especially when it comes to recalling what people said in an emotionally charged conversation or how they acted in the past. Using language like 'I felt,' instead of 'you said,' removes any aspect of blame from the conversation and does not guess at the other party's intentions which you very well may have misinterpreted in the moment. Avoid judgmental or blaming statements as well as they are not constructive to the process. For instance, instead of saying,"You shut down the conversation so the developers could not talk about their issues with the project." You should say, "When the conversation ended, it felt like the development team didn't have the opportunity to express the issues they encountered; meaning we may miss out on learnings and efficiencies." This is also an example of keeping the conversation goal-oriented and gaining future efficiencies from the present meeting. Lastly, it is important to understand when things are out of your hands. Although supervisors and managers have a major responsibility to ensure that workplace conflicts are resolved, several experts say that the first step to settling differences, should be taken by employees themselves and that is what this class is trying to teach you to do. This will benefit managers in that, less time we'll need to be spent on handling conflict and may also help employees developing their own conflict resolution skills. However, regardless what our efforts are, there might be situations where there is no resolution that can be brought to the table. When that's the case, we need to know when the time has come to ask for help. If a situation is too messy or difficult to resolve on your own, it's time to realize that it may be out of your hands and you should be given up or brought to the next step up with human resources or your manager. Having reached this point in the conflict resolution process, it's really important to contrast your state of mind. Right now, compared to the very beginning, when emotions were at an all-time high and apologizing or remaining silent seemed inconceivable. Allowing the conflict resolution process to follow the progression align in this class facilitates each of the strategies discussed to flow in a more natural rhythm that tends to be in line with the rise and fall of our own emotions. In the next lesson, we will discuss the importance of following up on this meeting in order to maintain accountability following the mutual agreement for resolution. 8. Resolution & Accountability: The final step in the conflict resolution process is to come to compromise or a resolution that both parties agree on. Part of the resolution should include some reflection on ways to prevent or more effectively handle similar conflicts in the future at the end of the conversation. It is then very important to close out the conflict with the private follow-up conversation in whatever manner is most appropriate. As part of a follow-up, restate the resolution that was come to, thank the individual for their involvement and communication in resolving things, and offer to be on hand for any future issues, thoughts, or conversations they might want to have in the future. This helps close up the conversation and make sure everyone is accepting of the place you've gotten to now that the conflict has passed. It is now up to both of you to implement and enforce some accountability measures. A follow-up plan is critical. If a plan with timelines is not designed and implemented, the behavior will typically change for a period of time. But then slip back into a patterns. Whether the plan is another meeting, completion of certain tasks, or a system of monitoring, it should be defined clearly. If a third party who was involved, this task usually falls on them as a facilitator or manager. This person should check in with each party on a weekly basis, to see how they are holding up their ends of the agreement and how the solutions are working. If someone is not living up to the agreement, a private meeting maybe in order to discover what's going on. If they are adhering to the solutions, but the solution simply aren't working, another brainstorming session may be in order and perhaps even involving an additional person at the company who you believe could be of help. There is a chance that you may be at a loss for how to move forward, either because the other party is not staying in their agreed upon solution or because you cannot seem to find a solution that you can both agree on moving forward. At that point, it may be time to involve a third party. This last step in the conflict resolution process is as important as the previous ones in that it provides closure for both parties while leaving an open door for possible adjustments moving forward. While you can try and avoid conflict, you can notice escape conflict entirely. Rather than spending energy trying to avoid conflict at all costs, you may benefit by redirecting your focus on developing your conflict resolution skills and acknowledging conflict as it occurs, which will minimize its impact. The ability to recognize conflict, understand the nature of conflict, and being able to bring swift and just resolution to conflict is your best approach moving forward. This way, you can certainly prevent certain conflicts from ever rising, where at least prevent them from escalating. If a conflict does flare up, you will likely minimize its severity by dealing with it quickly. Scheduling regular one on ones with a feedback framework within and across themes can act as a bit of a pressure valve to ensure that any problematic dynamics can be addressed before they get in the way. Over time, identifying and understanding natural tensions will help to avoid or minimize unnecessary conflict. In this section, we've seen that conflict may not always be avoidable. But it can certainly be minimized through proactive techniques aimed at increasing communication. Remember that within virtually, every conflict is the potential for a tremendous teaching or learning opportunity. Where there's disagreement, there is an inherent potential for growth and development. In the next section, we will go over a hypothetical conflict resolution scenario using the script provided as supplemental material in order to provide a real life example of conflict resolution strategies in action. 9. Conflict Resolution Example: Let's quickly go over an example of workplace conflict using the strategies for conflict resolution script, so what happened? Describe the type of conflict that has occurred. It was a task-related conflict. It was 18 project writing, a grant where we each had tasks to complete by a certain deadline. The other party fell behind in his work and then completed. Forcing the rest of the team, myself included to pick up the work and finish it on his behalf to meet our deadline. What did you do to remove yourself from the situation? I completed the project and we met the deadline. I cooperated with the other party up until that point, after which I stepped away and avoided communicating with them unless necessary. I feel frustrated, disappointed, and lead down. I was able to manage my time efficiently and get my part done, and I feel as though I had to put in extra work for someone else that did not take this project seriously enough. The logistics of the reading don't actually matter since this is an example, so let's quickly go over that. During the actual meeting, don't forget to listen empathically. Practice active listening. Use "I" statements. Practice perspective-taking. Focus on personality, not behavior. Lean into silence. Maintain a goal-oriented conversation, and do not tell the other party how they felt, what they said or what they did. In this next section, what we're going to do is discuss what happened during this meeting. You can use this script as a guide on how to conduct an actual conflict resolution meeting. Did you clarify what the disagreement was about? Yes. We agreed that it had to do with the project we had just worked on and how we handled it differently. Did you express how you felt? Yes. I said that I felt frustrated with having to work under such a tight deadline given that I had managed my time well enough to finish my part on time. I was forced to pick up their work and ended up scrambling for time to finish. How did the other party feel? He said he understood the position I was put in and wouldn't have taken on the project, had he known he would have other deadlines to meet that week. He feels awful that the rest of us had to pick up his work, but also wishes others understood that he was swapped that week, and had more deadlines than any of us to meet. Were you able to maintain a goal-oriented conversation? Yes. I said that ultimately, our goal was to meet that deadline, which we did because everyone made an effort beyond their initial commitment. Did you apologize or express what you could have done better? I said that I should have reached out as soon as I noticed he was falling behind and offered to help or delegate his tasks to others rather than wait until the last minute. What resolution did you agree upon to put an end to the conflict? He apologized for letting his team down and I apologize for not having been more mindful of his workload that week. We also agree that there may be times one of us may need to help the other out, and that's just the nature of teamwork. What will you do to remain accountable and prevent the similar concept from arising? I agree to communicate better when we work on team projects and keep ourselves accountable by meeting weekly, and anticipate any setbacks we may have. What will the other party do to remain accountable for their behavior? He will communicate with this team better and let them know ahead of time of any prior commitments or projects that may disrupt his ability to contribute his parts to any similar projects. We will try to not overcommit to avoid this type of situation. What is your agreed upon follow-up plan to minimize future conflict? We agreed to hold weekly conference calls when working on team projects and bump those to daily when a deadline approaches to ensure we're all on the same page and no falling behind. I hope this example has shown you how you can use the script in preparation for a conflict resolution meeting, and even as a follow-up document to keep track of what occurred during such a meeting. Thank you so much for listening. I hope you enjoyed this class. 10. Conclusion: Congratulations on making it to the end of this class. Now let's review all the conflict resolution strategies that we discussed. We'll begin with the first strategies recommended once the conflict has been acknowledged. The first step is to calm down and acknowledge the reality of conflict. We then saw that attempting to suppress thoughts can backfire and even diminish our sense of contentment. Therefore, dealing effectively with emotions is a key skill and more than that, naming our emotions or what psychologists call labeling is an important first step in dealing with them effectively. Instead of backing away from negative emotions, we learned that we should accept them. Acknowledge how we feel without rushing to change our emotional state. We've seen that one way to do that is through writing it out. The process of writing allows you to gain a new perspective on your emotions and to understand them and their implications more clearly. Once you've thoroughly understood how you're feeling with regards to the conflict, you can precede the staging the meeting with the other party. As part of this section, we discussed how the first thing you should consider are the lines of communication. We've seen that dealing with conflict in person can indeed be tricky. But it's nonetheless incredibly important to support other conflict resolution techniques. In this section, we discussed that we should choose an in-person meeting over other mediums of communication, as well as a private, safe and welcoming environment to hold the meeting. The first step in this conflict resolution meeting should be to clarify which involves getting to the heart of the conflict. The goal of the step is to get both sides to agree on what the disagreement was. During the meeting, we talked about the importance of practicing active listening. Remember, it's not only important to get together and talk, it's important to get together and listen. You also want to be an empathic listener. An empathic listener works to keep the speaker from feeling or becoming defensive. Remember that empathy is the ability to recognize emotions in others and to understand other people's perspectives on a situation. One way to do that is by practicing perspective taking, because conflict is never one-sided and neither are the emotions that accompany it. If you're going to express that you're angry and feeling betrayed, you have to consider what the other person might be feeling as well. I also highlighted the importance of maintaining a goal-oriented conversation. Because we all know why conflict resolution is good. But what are the specific benefits that you can tie to a particular conflict? During the meeting be sure to also bring up any other shortcomings. What could you have done better in the situation? Learning to appreciate silence. I encouraged you to dig into those silences when having a difficult conversation so that others involved have a chance to reflect and consider their own responses. We also talked about what not to do during a conflict resolution meeting, including not telling someone how they felt or what they said or what they did. Instead, your focus should be on personality, not behavior. We also discussed the possibility of there being a communication breakdown. Therefore, understanding when things are out of your hands is really important. If you do reach the step, you can suggest the use of the mediator such as a manager or a third party mediator to help you through the conflict. The final step of the conflict resolution process involves agreeing on a final resolution to the conflict, discussing a follow-up plan for accountability plan, and thanking the other party for having had the conversation with you. Given their most workplace conflicts are a result of a breakdown in communication between people, it is essential to create a space for open conversation through very lines of communication, including weekly one on one meetings in order to prevent conflict or at least prevented escalating. You may not be able to skip conflict entirely, but you now have effective strategies at your disposal to handle it with confidence.