Become a Master at Resolving Conflict at Home or Work
- 4.5 hours on-demand video
- 9 articles
- 14 downloadable resources
- Full lifetime access
- Access on mobile and TV
- Certificate of Completion
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- How to prevent disagreements from becoming unhealthy conflict
- A framework and steps for entering into difficult conversations and resolving conflict
- The mindset, confidence and skills to facilitate conflict resolution
- The advantages and disadvantages of different communication styles
- How to calm and manage yourself during conflict
- A willingness to learn a new way of thinking
- A desire to improve your communication and work through conflicts at home or at work
This course will give you the communication skills to successfully resolve disagreements and turn conflict into productive dialogue 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 involve conflict or at least the potential for conflict. Notice a few characteristics of these situations: our emotions are aroused, the stakes are high, the outcome is uncertain, and opinions vary.
Most of us don’t like dealing with these situations. They disrupt our peace of mind and cause 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 an inevitable part of life. 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 we’ll experience conflict but rather how we will handle it. And, unfortunately, we have little training in how to manage it.
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.
The Process of Dialogue
Therefore, learning to deal with conflict is one of the most important skills we can learn. I teach you to deal with conflict through dialogue, a skill of communication in which people listen to understand one another’s point of view and then agree upon options to solve problems and/or resolve their disagreements.
This process encourages deep listening to others, 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 we can talk, the better will be our solutions to conflict and the more unified and committed we’ll be to carry them out.
The most successful people are good at handling conflict
In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that the most successful people, in any walk of life, are good at handling conflict. They are willing to face conflict directly and are even willing to enter into difficult and sensitive conversations that others want to flee and avoid. They can 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 skills in our 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 dialogue in our organizations
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.
Dialogue changes that. Dialogue is the means by which we surface conflict and have meaningful conversations in our personal relationships and our organizations. Such conversations make our relationships and organizations healthier and more effective.
It is my intent to give you the awareness and skills necessary 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.
- Individuals who want to improve their ability to handle conflict in their personal lives
- Employees who are experiencing conflict on the job
- Leaders who want to create a work climate that encourages open dialogue and conflict resolution
Students will understand a definition and the nature of conflict management as well as receive an overview of what they will get out of the course.
Mike Miller blew a terrific career opportunity because of his lack of understanding dialogue and conflict resolution skills.
Students will learn a two-dimensional model of communication and how these dimensions result in four communication styles. They will learn the characteristics and consequences of the dominating style of communication.
Students will understand five common patterns of relating to others during conflict. They will also understand when each of three communication styles is most appropriate.
The student will be able to use this model to describe their reactions and behavioral options during conflict.
You will correct misperceptions that occur during conflict which keep you from arriving at mutual understanding and win/win outcomes.
Students will recognize the roll of assumptions in conflict and understand how to use communication to surface assumptions and develop a more accurate understanding of reality.
This is a personal example in which I was lecturing to my son and then realized I needed to listen to him instead. As I did so, my understanding of the situation changed dramatically and I could then support him. It illustrates how important it is to use the inquiry and listening skills.