Course Outcomes

This conflict management course will:

  • Introduce multiple conflict management models and well-known conflict resolution tools.
  • Outline sources of conflict.
  • Explore conflict resolution styles.
  • Provide interpersonal communication language for managing conflict.
  • Offer strategies for dealing with difficult people.

Course Overview

Despite our best intentions to get along with others, we don’t always want or need the same things. While some people see conflict as a healthy part of reaching a mutually accepted resolution, others find conflict uncomfortable. This down-to-earth program teaches participants practical skills for managing conflict and improving their workplace relationships. During this interactive course, we’ll explore a range of topics and tools: types of conflict, benefits of conflict, sources of disagreement, roles in conflict, conflict management models and processes, resolution styles, and skills for dealing with difficult people.

Program Objectives

 At the program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Explain different types of disagreements.
  • Identify sources of conflict.
  • Describe Christopher Moore’s Conflict Circle.
  • Articulate the benefits of conflict.
  • Describe Stephen Karpan’s Drama Triangle and how to escape it.
  • Outline a conflict resolution model.
  • Employ interpersonal communication skills to manage conflict.
  • Choose from five conflict management styles.
  • Manage conflict with the difficult types of people most often found in the workplace.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of participant materials prior to the session(s).

Workshop Outline 

Conflict Here, Conflict There: Identifying the Sources of Conflict

This course begins with a definition of conflict, an overview of different types of conflict, and a discussion about its sources, benefits, and drawbacks. In this workshop segment, we’ll marry the academic with the practical and pay particular attention to mediator Christopher Moore’s Conflict Circle and sociologist Lewis Coser’s work on the functions of disagreement.

The Already Traveled Road: What’s Happened in the Past

In this seminar segment, participants will consider 15 responses to conflict and identify those that are positive and those that are problematic. Participants will then craft alternatives to the responses they assigned to the latter group. Following that activity, group members will discuss approaches they’ve used in the past and the results each produced.

Escaping Theater: Understanding the Drama Triangle 

The next part of this course looks at Dr. Stephen Karpan’s Drama Triangle. During this part of the program, we’ll examine the roles people often adopt when they view a conflict. Working in teams, the group will consider various well-known stories and the role each character occupies. Following that exercise, we will discuss over a dozen strategies for escaping the triangle and moving toward healthier working relationships.

Plot a Course: Having a Plan

Models are valuable because they help people remember steps, stages, and processes. In this portion of the course, participants will work in teams to create a model of conflict resolution that is based on their personal experiences and understanding of the process. Next, we will look at five stages of successful conflict resolution: clarifying problems, confirming data, identifying alternatives, implementing a solution, and evaluating its success.

Interpersonal Skills: “I” Statements and Other Tools

“I feel___when__because.” The “I” statement is a powerful tool for expressing an opinion without accusing others. During this workshop segment, we will focus on “I” statements and other language that encourages open communication. In addition, we will focus on such skills as listening, questioning, and reframing.

Five Options: Adopting a Style

This workshop segment looks at conflict resolution styles and their consequences. In this portion of the program, we will explore five approaches to managing disagreement and the pros and cons of each. Next, participants will take part in a role-play exercise with another class member where they will adopt a style and navigate a conflict. After that activity, we will talk about when each style is an advantage or a liability.

The Seven Umpers: Strategies for Dealing with Difficult People

Certain behaviors spawn conflict. In this final part of the workshop, we will look at seven difficult archetypes often found in the workplace. Participants will consider conflicts involving those people and create solutions for managing each. 
By the conclusion of this conflict-resolution training program, participants should have a basic understanding of popular academic work around conflict management and proficiency with practical tools they can immediately practice.