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Managing Conflict in Training

Posted by Linda Carole Pierce on 8/27/18 8:00 AM
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Photo by: Hans Braxmeier via Pixabay

I often ask participants to share their first thought when they think of conflict. Most often, the responses are negative. I follow up by asking, “How often do we deal with conflict?” Eventually, we reach the conclusion that conflict is a daily occurrence and a natural part of our lives. As we move away from all the negative aspects of conflict, we discuss the benefits and how ultimately it helps us to grow. Unfortunately, many people are uncomfortable dealing with conflict and prefer to avoid it. Skilled facilitators must be prepared to deal with conflicts that inevitably occur in any type of group or life situation. It helps to develop and master a healthy response to conflict when it shows up.


The following nine-step process, when implemented effectively, will support your conflict management skills:

1. Identify the conflict

Consider the following questions:

What are the issues involved in the conflict? Who does it affect?


2. Decide whether action is necessary

Consider the following questions:

Will the conflict go away if I ignore it? Is this conflict affecting the entire group?


3. Present your observations

Describe what you see using descriptive words and without blame.


4. Determine the preferred outcome

Help the parties involved describe what they think the issue would look like when resolved and how it would impact the group and their ability to work together.


5. Look for shared interests

Help the parties look for shared interests among the conflicting positions.


6. Generate possible solutions

Explore needed resources and support.


7. Determine a solution everyone can accept

Consider solutions that will create a win/win situation.


8. Agree on a plan to resolve the conflict

Specify the actions to be taken.


9. Close the process

Summarize the plan.


Follow this process when faced with conflicts on your team, in a meeting, or simply in your life, and you’ll surely have the confidence and capacity to manage it. We take a deeper dive on this topic in many of our workshops like Advanced Instructional Techniques and Facilitation Skills for New Facilitators. Check them out!


Dealing with Difficult Participants

Linda has been a course leader with Langevin since 2005. She graduated from New York University with a degree in Organizational Behavior and Communication. She’s also had the privilege of teaching at NYU’s Gallatin Division in the area of Theatre and Education. Linda began her career facilitating conflict resolution and coexistence workshops for diverse groups, and running workshops in the Middle East and South Africa, as well as facilitating social issues workshops for young people in the NYC school system. Linda believes learning works best when it is student-centered, experiential, interactive, and fun. Outside of the classroom, you’ll find Linda at the theatre, either as an audience member or actor, or spending quality time with her family and friends.

Tags: facilitation skills, instructional techniques

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