What students are saying
"Dr. Allen is very knowledgeable instructor. He gave great examples during the course. All of his shared stories added more "life-like" explanations to his examples. He really knows his material . Very helpful course." Danet Leon
"100% happy. THANK YOU, Roger! This course has been an enormous help. The structure of the course, the way you explain the skills and principles, and the way you relate the theory to the real world, the examples you give really helped me to understand the theory and the tools. The way you speak and use visual support makes it very easy to follow and comprehend. Your empathetic communication style and realistic way of portraying things (e.g. You won't succeed all the time, but keep practicing to improve) was also very helpful and made it easy to relate to the topics you were talking about. From the first lecture on I started incorporating my new knowledge into everyday life, where of course smaller or larger conflicts arise all the time. And with each step I felt safer, better prepared and was able to reach better solutions as I might have without this course. It should be a mandatory course for everyone. Thanks again." Anna Henker
"The course was amazing. I have learned so much which is now an asset I will be using to solve future conflicts. I wish this valuable information could reach many more people." Vincent Mandi Muli
"This course is a MUST. For anyone wanting to sharpen their communication skills and truly become a "master at resolving conflict", whether it be at work or home, this course will change your life. Roger is a master on this topic and his teaching, his stories, and his tips are gold for the mind that is hungry for knowledge. Thank you Roger for sharing your wisdom." Ronald Burnett
Overview of course
This course will give you skills in conflict management to successfully turn disagreements and conflict into productive communication so that you can not only solve your shared problems but also grow in emotional intelligence and experience enjoyable connections with others.
The dictionary defines conflict as a serious disagreement or argument. Synonyms include dispute, quarrel, squabble, discord, strife, antagonism. These are not pleasant words. And yet it is likely that you understand their meaning not because you’ve looked them up in a dictionary but because you’ve experienced them. We’ve all been caught up in the unpleasant experience of conflict. For example,
· You're not able to sleep due to a neighbor's late-night music or barking dog.
· You’re on a sales team which has won a big contract. Your new customer wants your product quickly and at as low a price as possible. However, engineering wants to slow the project down to ensure that all technical and quality standards are met. You’re in a tug of war.
· A few of the neighbors have not been paying their homeowners association dues. Others are violating the property rules.
· You’ve come up with good technical solutions to a thorny problem but wonder if there is the political will to implement your recommendations.
· Your boss wants you to work overtime this weekend when you’ve planned a big outing with your family.
· A teenager has trouble getting off the computer to do his chores.
· You and your partner have totally different opinions when it comes to a major life decision.
· A young adult child has returned home and is now living off of you and your spouse claiming that she hasn’t been able to find a good job.
This is just a small sampling of situations that require conflict management with emotional intelligence. Notice a few characteristics of these situations: your emotions are aroused, the stakes are high, the outcome is uncertain, and opinions vary.
You probably don’t like dealing with these situations. They disrupt your peace of mind and cause you emotional discomfort. Unresolved conflict is why family members become alienated and half of all marriages end in divorce. It also accounts for 50% of the turnover in companies. Dealing with conflict is not easy.
Conflict is inevitable
And yet conflict, at least disagreement, is inevitable. We know this. We come from different backgrounds, have distinct personalities, perspectives, needs, values, roles, goals and priorities, all of which set us up to experience disagreements if not outright conflict.
So, the question is not whether you’ll experience conflict but rather how you will handle it. And, unfortunately, we have little training in conflict resolution skills.
Our natural tendencies are harmful
My experience as a psychologist, marriage counselor, business consultant, and executive coach has taught me that many of our natural tendencies are harmful. They make things worse rather than better. Some people, when facing conflict, go into an aggressive and fight mode, others run emotionally and resort to silence or appeasement, and still others distract and avoid. Although our natural tendencies are intended to reduce the impact of conflict, they actually and make it worse in the long run.
Dialogue-key to conflict resolution
Therefore, learning conflict management is one of the most important skills you can learn. I teach you to deal with conflict through dialogue, a communication skill in which people listen to understand one another’s point of view and then agree upon options to solve problems and resolve their disagreements.
This process encourages deep listening, a willingness to share your own point of view and search for solutions that are good for all and not just a minority. Dialogue is talking openly—even about subjects that have historically been “undiscussable.” The more openly you can talk, the better will be your solutions to conflict and the more unified and committed you and others will be to carry them out.
The most successful people are good at conflict management
In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that the most successful people, in any walk of life, are good at conflict management. They are willing to face conflict directly and are even willing to enter into difficult conversations that others want to flee and avoid. They do this because they understand the dynamics of conflict and how to create trusting conditions that will open up communication and lead to positive, even amazing outcomes.
Importance of conflict resolution in your personal relationships
Howard Markman and his colleagues studied 150 couples for 13 years. The couples would come into their lab each year and furnish a massive amount of information about their marriages. In addition, they would subject themselves to being video-taped which the researchers would then analyze for patterns and themes. Their conclusion, at the end of this long-term study was that “it is not how much you love each other, how good your sex life is, or what problems you have with money that best predicts the future quality of your marriage….the best predictor of marital success is how you handle conflicts and disagreements.”
This is also true in all our personal relationships. How many people are alienated from extended family members because of the difficulty of holding good, honest conversations? Or how many parents and children are alienated because of their inability to communicate effectively? Dialogue changes that.
Importance of conflict resolution in your organization
Furthermore, I believe that organizations are filled with intelligent, capable people who fall back on poor styles of communicating because it is not safe to express their opinions. The consequences to organizations can be serious if not devastating. Respect is lost. Trust is destroyed. Only a fraction of the ideas necessary for the organizations long-term survival make it to the light of day. The best employees leave and those who stay disengage and do only enough to hold onto their jobs.
Knowing how to use dialogue to resolve conflict changes that. Dialogue is the means by which you surface conflict and have meaningful conversations in your personal relationships and organizations. Such conversations make your relationships and organizations healthier and more effective.
It is my intent to give you the awareness and conflict management skills to face and handle the difficult conversations of your life. And as you learn and apply these skills, you’ll still have differences of opinions and disagreements, but you’ll be able to navigate them with greater confidence and skill.
A little about me
My name is Roger K. Allen, Ph.D. I’m a psychologist, author, executive coach and business consultant with many years of helping people work through conflict both in their personal lives and on the job. I’ve helped hundreds of couples, business partners, executives, department managers and employees work through difficult conflicts to create healthy and harmonious relationships. And I’ve taught many of these methods to other trainers and consultants throughout the world.