Unless there’s a conflict crisis, the vast majority of conflicts fly under the radar; and the more senior managers are, the less they know!
This translates into lost productivity, in the form of wasted time, overlooked opportunities, loss of investment in skilled employees, degraded decision quality, absenteeism, lowered motivation, theft, sabotage, vandalism, restructuring, health costs and more.
It’s the normal, ‘everyday’ work disputes that cost so much. They’re the ones that we don’t even see happening. They’re the ones that we can’t even budget for!
How can these attitudes to conflict change? Most of us have never been taught to deal with conflict effectively. Mismanaged, avoided, or hidden conflict can be destructive without even being noticed. It is not cost effective for managers or supervisors to micromanage daily disputes, yet they are ultimately responsible for optimal productivity, which is hampered by conflict within their teams.
The key to a culture of conflict savvy behaviour in the first instance is that conflict be dealt with directly, at the lowest level, by the people involved. Besides being the cheapest method, it is vastly more effective.
With proper training and within the right environment, workers will collaborate to invent solutions that satisfy their interests and needs – a far better outcome than solutions imposed by a senior/ third party.
When people have the skills to confront problems and the prospects of improved work situations, they will gradually stop sweeping things under the rug: it is simply a matter of learning how to have a productive conversation after suffering anger, hurt, or humiliation.
As MTI’s Southern African representative and accredited trainer, I have proudly selected Dan Dana’s Successful Conflict Conversations Course because it addresses everyday situations that block optimum interdependence between workers in a proven one day workshop that has been taught for decades to thousands of people around the world, and is widely considered to be the best there is.
Dan Dana, Phd. Psychology
Every conflict is started by two people.
As Founding President of the Mediation Training Institute International, Dan Dana seeks to expand global awareness and use of non-adversarial methods for managing human differences in the workplace and beyond.
He has been an invited lecturer at institutions on six continents, and is the author of Managing Differences, the sourcebook of MTI’s seminars published worldwide in six languages, and Conflict Resolution: Mediation Tools for Everyday Work Life, a featured publication of McGraw-Hill’s Briefcase Books series.
Dan served for several years as a professor of organizational behaviour at the University of Hartford (Connecticut) Graduate School of Business, and has held faculty appointments at Syracuse University’s Summer Institute on Conflict Resolution (Maxwell School) and at several other institutions.
Successful Conflict Conversations is an impactful one-day learning module. It is the most cost-effective way to empower your employees to handle the challenges of today’s intensely interdependent workplace. They will learn how to use a simple yet powerful communication tool to manage the differences that impair teamwork, quality, decision-making, and cooperation.
But more than just a training seminar, this practical program contains resources for changing organizational culture, surgically altering the norms that so often cause obstructive behaviour and replacing them with constructive, positive behaviours. It really is an essential component of every successful organisation’s HRD and OD strategic effort.
Successful Conflict Conversations is a flexible and impactful one-day workshop is the most effective way to empower employees to handle the challenges of today’s intensely interdependent workplace without costly intervention. They will learn how to use a simple, yet powerful communication technique to manage differences that impair teamwork, quality, decision-making and cooperation, particularly within teams.
- Assess workplace conflicts to determine whether a conflict conversation is appropriate based on the:
- level of seriousness of the conflict.
- degree of interdependence between disputants.
- balance of power and risk of power abuse.
- characteristics of the counterpart.
- Identify and eliminate reflexive behaviours that obstruct joint problem-solving.
- Identify a retaliatory cycle of engagement.
- Learn how to interrupt the retaliatory cycle to make joint problem-solving dialogue possible.
- Initiate dialogue.
- Talk in terms that promote cooperation and minimise defensiveness.
- Persuade a reluctant co-worker to participate in dialogue.
- Get agreement on time, place, environment etc. to prevent failure of dialogue.
- Draw focus to the issue to be solved.
- Produce a shift in attitude from me-against-you to us-against-the-problem.
- Recognize and identify conciliatory gestures that naturally occur during arguments.
- Recognize and identify the psychological forces that produce consensus.
- Form agreements that meet the criteria needed to prevent recurrence of conflict.
- The financial cost of conflict will decline.
- The frequency of conflicts will decline.
- Conflicts will be resolved without involvement of a supervisor or manager.
- Employee satisfaction with the workplace will increase.
STEP 1: Find a time to talk
Why 95% of communication problems stay unresolved — and how to reverse this ratio.
STEP 2: Plan the context
Where and when to talk [a conversation about a conversation].
STEP 3: Talk it out
Getting from me-against-you to us-against-the-problem.
STEP 4: Make a deal
The criteria for making agreements that work.
- Take control of conflicts, rather than be controlled by them.
- Negotiate solutions rather than fight.
- Handle difficult people and avoid being seen as a difficult person.
- Remove a key obstacle to the success of self-directed work team efforts.
- Change organisational culture to make healthy communication the norm.
Comments from people that have taken this course.
This info is useful both professionally and personally.
Daniel Rodgers, Production Supervisor, Sony
Very concise, very simple to follow…
Mohamed Mustafa Marican, Executive Director, Jamiyah Singapore
I was able to take something form it that is practical and easily usable.
Elaine Williams, Eligibility Supervisor, Department of Social Services
It can be used practically on my job.
Mary Ellen Mufich, Project Manager, CNA Insurance
The fact that everyone participated and took each exercise seriously was important. Giving their own interpretations of how they would try and recognize and handle conflicts.
John V. Flores, Sergeant, US Army Pacific Global Command and Control System
Most valuable: The ability to apply the lessons learned to all aspects of my life – work and home.
Randall G. Fisher, Senior Team Lead, Fidelity
It is good to learn a logical and systematic way to resolve conflicts.
Y. Kurosu, HR Senior Specialist, Human Resources, Motorola
The primary sourcebook: Managing Differences: How to Build Better Relationships at Work and Home (third edition) by Daniel Dana.
Workbook: A multi-volume step-by-step individualized guide for using new skills on the job
Secondary sourcebook (optional): Conflict Resolution: Mediation Tools for Everyday Worklife (McGraw-Hill, 2001) by Daniel Dana
Wallet card job aid: Handy guide that summarizes Managerial Mediation for immediate use
MTI Conflict Assessment Instruments: Unrestricted personal access to these on-line tools for organizational assessment:
- The Dana Measure of Financial Cost of Conflict
The Dana Survey of Conflict Management Strategies