Developing Resilient Leaders
Module 05 Change Management & Conflict Resolution
Methods of Managing Conflict & Change
It seems that change can strike heart in the strongest of individuals. Change in turn can cause conflict to occur between people in a personal or business relationship.
Patricia Benner is the director for the Carnegie Foundation's Study of Nursing Education. Benner has conducted extensive research on skill acquisition and clinical judgment in nursing practice. Her research has helped her identify four reasons why humans can adapt to change: embodied intelligence, background meaning, concern and situation. Whether dealing with personal or business change that is causing conflict, various psychologists, psychiatrists and behavior experts offer methods of managing conflict and change.
1. Avoid the conflict. If it is a small change that is not worth the time of arguing or worrying about, you need some time to calm down or you need time to gather more information about the situation, then consider avoiding the conflict altogether. You can avoid the conflict by leaving the room, ending the conversation or quitting the project.
2. Make an accommodation. It allows you to place an emphasis on the things that the individuals in conflict have in common in an attempt to de-emphasize the reason for the conflict. For example, you may say something such as, “While we may disagree on how to raise money for the fundraiser, we can agree that a fundraiser is the best way to obtain the money needed. Let’s revisit what type of fundraiser we’ll have later.”
3. Compromise. Change may not necessarily mean all or nothing, so find a way to compromise what needs to be changed and what may not be as important. Compromise requires give and take from all parties involved in the conflict. For example, if budget cuts are causing a conflict at work and you’re deciding where to cut, the marketing manager may say, “I can remove my request for new graphic design software if the sales team can agree to cut down entertaining clients to twice per month.”
4. Handle one issue at a time. Change can be overwhelming. Conflict can be disconcerting. Rather than try to tackle every elements of change or tackle every point of the conflict, instead take on one issue at a time. Start with the smallest issue first and if is resolved, then move on to the next and more complex issue. Continue the process until you can resolve, accommodate or compromise on each issue.
5. Time the conflict. Although you may not be able to control when a conflict arises, you can control when the conflict is addressed. Choose a time when all of the parties involved are willing and able to address the issue. For example, if one or more of the parties is angry, it may be wise to let the conflict go until a calm conversation can take place.
Example of conflict and how to handle it
There are 4 recommended videos for each module to help you get inspiration on the topic and learn something new. Once a week? All at once? Choose your own pace.
Watch - Learn and - Enjoy!
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For each module there are 5 practical challenges related to module topic. You can complete one, two, or all of them - it's up to you. Through practical involvement and sharing you will strengthen your competence in the specific topic.
Try - Practice - Share and - Enjoy!
01 Cross Your Arms
Organize "Cross Your Arms" exercise with your team.
How to play:
Ask employees to cross their arms. Ask them to cross their arms the other way when they are comfortable. Once they’ve done this, ask them why the second attempt might have left them feeling uncomfortable, even though it’s the same action.
What’s the point?
This activity steers the conversation towards specific changes within your organization. Examining how tricky it is to cross your arms in different positions highlights the difficulty of change.
Employees can get used to the idea of change being uncomfortable at first. Soon, they realize that the new way of doing things becomes comfortable over time. This teaches resilience and prevents employees from giving up too quickly. Share your experience in the MS Teams channel.
02 Communication Plan
Try to imagine that you are responsible for introducing a small change in your working environment and create a communication plan. Consider the ways and tools you will inform other team members, how you will communicate the reasons and benefits of the change, and how you will listen to their feedback. Share your plan in the MS Teams channel.
Start this exercise with a paper. Create four columns and label them left to right: Project, Purpose, Particulars, and People.
Then, fill in each column as follows:
• Project — list the upcoming changes.
• Purpose — ask what benefits the change will bring. Will it increase revenue? Will it make processes more efficient?
• Particulars — list the details of what needs to change.
• People — identify which employees will need to change how they do things or participate in the change.
This exercise will help you connect the four areas and see the greater purpose of the change you will soon experience. You conclude that if you don’t change the way you do your job, then you will not achieve your objectives.
The takeaway from this activity is that change management is a multi-step process. Employees are more likely to engage with change if they understand the change management process. Share your result in the MS Teams channel.
04 Life Challenge
Think for a moment and write down five of your major life experiences. Then select the most difficult one and write down why the change was difficult, how you felt at the beginning, how you overcame it and how you felt after the change.
Why it's useful: This exercise demonstrates that it's possible to overcome issues arising from change. Negative feelings may not always last once the change happens and time has passed.
Share your experience in the MS Teams channel.
05 How do you tend to respond to conflict?
Your conflict style represents your inclination, or natural tendency, when faced with a situation of conflict.
Knowing the five main conflict styles can help you understand the choices you have for managing conflict. And knowing your own conflict style can help you identify how you might want to approach conflict differently.
Take this Conflict Styles Assessment:
https://www.usip.org/public-education-new/conflict-styles-assessment and share your feelings in the MS Teams channel.