Kraybill Table

Blogposts on Conflict Styles and Conflict Transformation by Ron Kraybill

Transforming the Healer-I



First in a Series

for Exhausted Visionaries, Activists, and Healers

How can we assist the healing of a broken world when we ourselves are far from healed?  

The question has followed me across forty years of work on four continents. I first saw it as a problem for others, in the inability of colleagues to “walk the talk”, in conflict within and among the peace organizations that have been my home, and in burnout among colleagues on rugged edges of my field.   

It was another step when I came to see it as my problem, as I grew more aware of my own inconsistencies and wounds, and my own perennial struggle with exhaustion.  Then came a third big step as I slowly realized we all struggle with a challenge larger than any of us.

The very enterprise of helping, leading, and healing others brings complex issues and decisions into the life of any mortal who steps into it.   Those issues can diminish or enlarge us, socially and spiritually.  If we recognize the opportunity they present for growth, we can make our calling a location of profound growth at all levels of being. 

I went to a conference and met - myself

When I arrived in Denver at the National Conference on Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution in June, 1986, I was excited about the prospects ahead.   The field of conflict resolution was in its infancy and five hundred people were gathering from all over the world to share our experiences and learn from each other.  As founding director of one of the few organizations with full-time staff in the field at that time, I had looked forward for months to this rare chance to engage fellow pioneers. 

Worry about Hornets



On September 11, 2019, President Trump warned about what America would do if attacked again. "We will go wherever they are and use power the likes of which the US has never used before and I'm not even talking about nuclear power."

This reminds me of an essay I wrote in 2002, as the Bush administration, equally confident in the efficacy of its superior arms, was moving towards war against Saddam Hussein.

The analysis is even more true now than it was then. So with only minor editing and an update to the present at the end, I republish it now.

* * * * * * * *

A bear hunter gets stung by hornets. Angry, and confident in his firepower, he follows them to their nest. Boom! Lookout, feller!

Homework on Conflict Styles





 

Life spares no one from conflict.  But unfortunately the word has not yet reached the schools that train professionals.

Name the profession - engineering, teaching, business, social work, lawyer, religion, medicine, whatever.   Few professional schools in these professions offer students training in how to navigate the conflicts that come with practice of that profession.

Even callings you might think of as peaceful have plenty of conflict. Some years ago a well-recognized seminary did followup with its graduates to assess how well its Masters program in religious leadership had equipped them for their congregational leadership.   The number one complaint?  Lack of preparation for conflict.   
 
Speaking from several years of experience, graduates wrote that they had no clue from their seminary preparation that dealing with conflict would be such a prominent aspect of religious leadership.
 
So what to do?  Even you want to address this gap, it may be hard to press another topic into an already packed schedule of lectures.   This post is for professors and teachers, trainers and consultants who see the need for students to reflect on conflict resolution but don’t have the space to include it in classroom work.
 
Here's three assignments to choose from.  Each takes students into a valuable learning experience on their own, without requiring you to lecture or even to have a class discussion on the topic.
 
Setup: Students begin each of the three assignments that follow by taking Style Matters Online.  Instruct them to read their score report carefully and spend, say, 20 minutes clicking links in the report to resources that interest them on the Riverhouse website.   (These include a tutorial, summaries of strengths and weaknesses of each style, essays on anger management, apology, conflict and culture, and much more.) Pick out an exercise from the ideas below and assign it to your students to do on their own.  I invite you to adapt and present them as your own.

Assignment: Write a Reflection Paper

A simple but immensely useful exercise is for students to write a paper reflecting on their score report. 
 
Text of the assignment: Write a paper reflecting on your score report (at college or university level, I'd suggest 1500-3000 words in length).   Use the score report as a resource in writing if you agree with the report.  If you do not, draw on your own best self-assessments.   
  • When you are in Calm conditions, that is, when differences have just surfaced and emotions are not yet high, which conflict style or styles are you most likely to use? What are the strengths of this style or styles? What are the dangers of over-using this style?
  • When you are in Storm conditions, that is, when previous efforts to resolve a conflict haven’t worked and emotions have escalated,  which conflict style or styles  are you most likely to use? What  are the strengths of this style or styles?  What are the dangers of over-using it?
  • Drawing on the feedback in the score report and/or your own reflections, what do you see as personal growth areas for yourself in improving your conflict management abilities?
Notes to trainer: Depending on how big you'd like your assignment to be, a useful addition to the above is to ask students to connect their reflections to an actual situation.   For example, you could add a sentence to the first two areas of reflection above: Give an example from real life experience that illustrates your behavior.  
 
In the third area, you could add this sentence: Name a situation in which you expect your efforts at growth to be challenging.   Describe how your past behaviors would cause you to act and then describe what you would like to do differently in this situation in the future that would reflect personal growth for you.  



An additional task you could add to that list is to have students discuss their score report with someone who knows them well. The assignment could read:  Discuss your score report with someone who knows you well and whom you trust - a family member, friend, or colleague.  Invite this person to comment from their general observations of you.  Using the report as a resource, what do they see as your strengths in conflict?  What do they think might be "growing edges" for you in strengthening your responses to conflict?  Summarize your learnings in the essay.

Assignment: Apply Conflict Styles Framework to  Personal Conflict

In this assignment students write an account of a conflict they’ve been involved in, using the conflict styles framework to describe what was going on.    
 
Text of the assignment: Write a reflection paper applying conflict styles insights to a conflict in which you were involved that was distressing for you.  
  • Which conflict style or styles did you use?   Did this change over time?   If so, why, and how did this change in style alter the dynamics of the conflict?  
  • Do you see in retrospect that you under-used or over-used certain styles?  
  • Are there any tips (see the list of Support strategies suggested for your high-scoring Storm styles in the report) that, if the other person had followed, might have assisted you to function better?   
  • Choose another person who was central in this conflict and comment:  What style or styles was this person primarily using?  How did you respond to this style?   Can you offer any tips  for yourself (based on this experience and/or what you've learned about conflict styles) about what to do or not to do that might enable you to achieve a better outcome with this conflict style in the future?

Assignment: Discuss Conflict Styles in Study Group or Work Team

Whereas the above assignments are for individuals, here's a learning exercise for a group, such as a study group or a work team.
 
Text of the assignment: Take the Style Matters conflict style inventory and print out the score report.  Read it on your own and underline things you think are especially valuable in understanding you.    If you disagree with the scores revise them in the chart on the first page of the report to reflect what you think is more accurate.
 
Bring your marked up score report to your group session.  Go around the group with the questions below, one question at a time, giving each person about 5 minutes to comment in each round.  If your scores are equal or nearly equal in several styles, should choose one style to highlight in responding to each question.  If you get stuck answering any of the questions, feel free to call on others to assist you in answering.
  • My Calm style of dealing with conflict is…..  Benefits of this style for me are….  Benefits for others when I use it are….     Dangers or costs of overusing this style are……..
  • My Storm style of dealing with conflict is…. Benefits of this style for me are….  Benefits for others when I use it are….     Dangers or costs of overusing this style are……..
  • Things that others around me can do when there is conflict that will meet my conflict style preferences and make it easier for me to function at my best are…..  (As a resource for this, review the sections of the report titled “Support Strategies”)
  • Something useful I’ve learned from our discussion here about how others function in conflict is that…...

* * * * * * * *

I would love to hear your ideas for effective learning experiences outside of the classroom!  Please send them to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..   With your permission, I'll publish the best ones here. 

Lead without Bullying




We're reading a lot these days about leaders who bully. 

In "When the Boss is a Bully", a recent NY Times article points out that aggressive toughness has its rewards.  Some people like the idea of a very task focused leader.   Better to have a leader who gets the job done, albeit rudely, than one who nicely fails to deliver. 

People tend to extend the benefit of any doubt to a leader who acts decisively, according to research cited in the Times article.  One researcher calls this the "leader's rosy halo" effect, a tendency for others to fall back and follow someone who is bold, decisive, and confident.  There is no evidence pushy leaders offer better solutions than anyone else, but others are attracted to decisiveness and tend to follow.  

  

Conflict Styles and Strong Leadership

A key concept in the conflict styles framework is that every conflict style has strengths and weaknesses.  We need all five styles.   Don't write off toughness just because it's not nice.

I learned this the hard way in my twenties when I found myself regretting I had not been more firm with my dog in training.  One day she ignored my call, as she often did.  She ran onto a road, and died under a car.   

New Trainers Guides




If you're interested in leading conflict styles training, download my 2019 trainers' guides with a single click below.   To get notice future updates and my blog posts for conflict styles trainers, sign up on the lower right to the trainers list.  I post only a few times per year and I won't share your email address!

Comprehensive Guide.  My comprehensive Trainers Guide to Successful Conflict Styles Workshops is now in its 4th edition.  The 2019 update  is the same as previous editions, now newly edited for clarity and ease of use.  The 40 page guide provides detailed guidance for training with Style Matters (or the Thomas Kilmann or other inventories based on a similar five styles framework) and many suggestions for presenting information and leading discussion.  Download the Trainers Guide in PDF free here.

Guide to Online Version. We've also just released a 10 page companion piece, Trainers Guide to Style Matters Online. Whereas the above guide provides detailed guidance on all aspects of conflict styles training,  this short guide focuses narrowly on work with the online version of Style Matters.  If refers often to the full guide, so you should have both. Download the online training guide here.

 
A key part of the Riverhouse mission is to enable anyone with basic group facilitation skills to lead an effective learning experience on the topic of conflict styles. 
 
Every person, every organization, and every community faces conflict throughout the life cycle.  Failure to equip people to deal constructively with conflict is, we believe, one of the greatest obstacles to human well-being.  Addressing this gap is an achievable opportunity for every organization and community to improve the quality of life in fundamental ways.
 
These trainers guides are central to our mission of supporting trainers on a large scale to address this glaring learning gap.
 

Thomas-Kilmann, Hammer's ICSI, or Style Matters?


Trainers considering Style Matters as a conflict style inventory should be aware of two other options as well, the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument and the Hammer Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory.   Style Matters has been optimized for the majority of conflict resolution trainers.  But a percentage of trainers might benefit from a specialized tool.

The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument

Optimized for psychometrics. The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, also known as the TKI, was developed in the 1970s with a priority on psychometric validation.

The Thomas-Kilmann is noted for its commitment to psychometrics, reflected in its commitment to the use of a question format that forces users to choose between only two possible options in responding. Although some users find this format annoying, authors Thomas and Kilmann retain it because it results, they say, in more accurate data.   For a description of my own experience with the TKI, see my blog post on it.

If psychometrics is your over-riding concern, and issues such as user friendliness, cultural flexibility, and cost have little bearing for you, the Thomas-Kilmann is probably the right choice.

Cost is $19.50 per user.   A trainer's guide is available for $250.  

Talk to Your Angry Uncle



If like millions of other Americans, you will eat turkey on the holidays with family members on a different location on the political spectrum than you, take a look at this interactive New York Times essay with suggestions for how to manage.



For an idea of how many people struggle with this, read the Comments suggestion! For an idea of how many people struggle with this, read the Comments section following the essay!   

Many commenters suggest avoidance, a response we recognize and respect in the Style Matters conflict style inventory.  Some don’t even go to family gatherings anymore because they’re too contentious.  Total avoidance is an extreme response I find hard to justify except for extreme situations.  



Others counsel diligent avoidance of certain topics, a wise response if the emotional maturity and skill required on at least one side for useful exchange are missing.

This author offers a series of practical suggestions for gentle engagement, set in the context of a bot that the reader interacts with, choosing recommended responses.   Readers point out that the angry uncle turns soft too easily in the essay, a fair point.  But the techniques are still worth knowing and exploring – you’ll use them with a partner or child or friend someday even if they aren’t right for quelling Uncle Bluster!

Join our Training Series



Want to lead a conflict styles workshop? Join me on November 21 for the first in a series of short webinars, Training with the Style Matters Conflict Style Inventory, I'm leading for trainers.
 
Scheduled for 11am Eastern time on Wednesday, the 21st of November, this thirty minute introductory webinar is for anyone considering Style Matters for training purposes and for current users wanting to update their knowledge.  It will enable you to:
  • choose among several options available for the format and method right for you and your setting;
  • design and lead a conflict styles workshop corresponding to your existing skills; 
  • equip yourself with resources for effective presentation of concepts
I'll give input for about 15 minutes and we'll have about 15 minutes open for questions.
 
Topics in future webinars will include:
  • interpreting scores
  • use of movement to raise energy and engagement in workshops
  • cross-cultural issues in conflict styles training and how to address them with Style Matters
  • creating assignments and other followup activities to expand the window of learning
As the first run of this series we're offering this free.  Seats are limited.   Register now! 
 
Enter your name and email address and you will then receive a confirmation email with info for joining the webinar on the 21st.
 
 

Career in Conflict Resolution?


Everywhere I’ve lived and worked, I’ve met people who feel a deep inner echo to the idea of making peace. I’m a bit mystical about such things. An inner echo is one mark of a calling and I have a lot of time for people hearing it.

But then it gets complicated. How to get from inner echo to outer action? Sustaining my own call over 37 years and observing others, I’ve learned a few things:

View a job in conflict resolution and peacebuilding as a long-term objective. 

Almost nobody gets a degree in conflict resolution and then walks straight into a job in the field. You prepare and position yourself, you build experience and relationships, and if you are fortunate a path opens. Usually slowly. Which means that, unless you are independently wealthy, you need to….

Maintain at least one area of expertise or credentials besides peacebuilding. 

Most people with a job in conflict resolution subsidized their interest for a number of years with something else. It takes a while to build up experience and a reputation in conflict resolution. In the meantime you’ve got to eat. Whether law, social work, editing, teaching, web freelancing, pastoring, or carpentry, you’ll probably need something else to live on. This is not a bad thing at all. There’s more than financial reasons to have a second set of credentials.

The path to full-time work in conflict resolution often runs through something else you’re already good at.

 People in conflict don’t want just any old mediator. They want someone competent in the area of their disagreement. Businesses want assistance from someone who understands business; schools, an educator. Religious organizations want “one of us.” International organizations seek facilitators, trainers, and consultants with deep knowledge of a region or relevant disciplines. So expertise in another area gives you your best opportunities for building a career in conflict resolution.

Two-Step to Prioritize Relationship

Two-Step-Conflict-Resolution



A great move for improving your effectiveness in conflict is mastering the two-step discussion process. This is a strategy so simple that you might say, “Isn’t it obvious?” No, it’s actually not, especially to task-oriented people like me.  But in the right setting, it's a gamechanger.

In a large institution where I worked for many years, I heard stories about the facilities manager.  Kathy was an annoying and inflexible nitpicker, I was told.  Everyone had a story – we all had to work with her to arrange space and technical support for our meetings and workshops.

Months after I arrived, I too had my moment with Kathy.  I needed access to meeting rooms at unusual hours.  This required a special key – which she tightly controlled.   I also needed permission to bring in special equipment.

How to Use the Two Step

In a situation like this, where there's an important problem requiring the cooperation of someone known for being difficult, the two step approach is one of the first strategies to consider. It comes in several forms but here I decided on: 

     Step One:  Take steps to establish or affirm the relationship.

     Step Two:  Engage in problem-solving or task activity.

How to Lead with Less Anger






Do you use an angry voice to communicate or give instructions when a firm, even voice would do the job just as well?



I witness this most commonly in sports settings, where it seems to be accepted that coaches and trainers shout angrily at those they are training.  I'm not talking about raising the voice to be heard.  I mean shouting with angry inflections and body language, to convey authority and motivate.  

Sports isn't the only place this happens.  Every parent and teacher - and I speak as a veteran of both roles - gets ticked off at the youngsters in our charge sometimes.   So do team leaders, managers, and supervisors of all sorts, working with all ages.   Frustration comes with the territory of leadership. 

Anger is a powerful tool for many good purposes, when used sparingly.  The volume and intensity of anger say "Listen up...!" and often people do.  When it's exceptional, anger gets attention and underscores a message.

But used frequently, the positive effects of anger diminish.  Anger stresses people.  Eventually they tune out and turn inwards for relief from the bombardment.  Then you have to shout louder for the same effect.  

Worse,  your emotional outbursts trigger similar responses in others.  Drama and disrespect creep into many discussions and become normal.  All communication suffers, frustration spirals, and morale goes down. 

Train with Online or Paper Versions?



Online vs. Paper in Conflict Styles Training

In conflict styles training, you have an option to use either a paper or online version.  I used to be ambivalent on this, but no more.

I'm an old-school trainer. I love the simplicity of paper and face-to-face training.  But after Style Matters had been out in paper for several years, demand for an online tool drove us to also develop a digital version.  That was an eye-opener for me.  

After dozens of hours honing our scoring algorithm, I couldn't deny that the score report our server spits out for each user mines the user data in ways I can't match in a workshop from a hand-tallied score summary.  It would take quick thinking and 10-15 minutes dedicated to each participant for a trainer to come even close to the detailed insights contained in the 10 page score report generated by our server.    That's just not realistic with 10-20 people in a workshop.

Best of all worlds - digital plus face to face.

So I'm a reluctant convert to the digital version of Style Matters.  We still sell the print version, but in my opinion the ideal approach in training is to have users take the online version before the workshop, print out the score report at home, and bring it to a live workshop.   (Already, you've saved 20 minutes of group time that would otherwise be spent passing around paper forms, giving instructions, and waiting for everyone to finish!)

Then in a face to face setting take users through a learning experience (supported by this Powerpoint or your own sketch of it)  that provides some input on conflict styles, reinforced by review and discussion of digital score reports in small and large group settings.

The Thomas-Kilmann Instrument

Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument


The Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument or TKI has been around since the 1970s and bills itself as the world's most widely used conflict style inventory.  I started out as a Thomas Kilmann trainer in the 80s and found it very useful.  I got frustrated eventually and developed an alternative, for reasons I'll explain.  But for at least one purpose, you should still use the Thomas Kilmann.

History of Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument

A concern of Ken Thomas and Ralph Kilmann in developing the TKI was "social desirability bias", a phenomenon in testing in which test takers answer questions dishonestly.  Rather than truly describe their own behavior, they answer in ways they think are socially desirable.  Kilmann writes in his explanation of the development of the TKI that he and Thomas were inspired by their study of the Mouton Blake inventory, a predecessor to and paradigm for their own instrument.  But the Mouton Blake had a glaring social desirability bias problem.

Kilmann observed a situation in which the Mouton Blake inventory had been administered to managers.  From the way statements in the inventory were worded, he writes, "it was obvious that 'collaborating' was the ideal mode, while 'avoiding' was the least desirable one."  "Sure enough," he continues, "that’s exactly how managers rated themselves, with over 90% ranking themselves highest on collaborating and lowest on avoiding. Their subordinates, of course, experienced those same managers very differently."

Thomas and Kilmann set out to create a similar conflict style test that would be free of the influence of social desirability bias.  They adopted the underlying framework of the Mouton Blake, but designed their conflict mode instrument with 30 questions containing paired statements, each worded to be equally desirable.  Takers are asked to choose the statement in each pair that more accurately describes them.



Since 1974 when it was first published, good publisher support, ongoing engagement by the authors in how to use the TKI, and use of the Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument in various research projects have propelled the TKI to a leading role.

Limitations of the Thomas Kilmann

So why look any farther?  The following experiences with the Thomas Kilmann drove me to seek alternatives and eventually create my own:

1) The Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument frustrates many users.   As a trainer I discovered that the forced choice question format of the Thomas Kilmann greatly annoys a significant number of test takers.  Users are presented with two descriptions of responses to conflict and required to choose one of them. 

Talking Stick Breaks Impasse

talkingstick


Big News - A Moment of Dialogue in Washington!

Divided Democrats and Republicans found a way to talk this week, and actually listened to each other, using a talking stick!

The Washington Post on January 28, 2017 reports that Senator Susan Collins of Maine, one of the few remaining moderate Republicans, convened a bipartisan meeting in her office to explore ways to reopen the government during the recent shutdown.  Having succeeded at that, they're now discussing a way forward on immigration issues.  They used a Masai talking stick to structure their conversation.

So What's a Talking Stick?

A talking stick - this one borrowed from the renowned cattleherders of Kenya - is an object passed around as people talk, to provide a simple structure of respectful communication.  There's one ground rule:  You can't speak unless you're holding the talking stick.   

How to Use a Talking Stick

The simplest of all tools for facilitating dialogue, the talking stick requires no great expertise or training.  No special equipment required.  Any simple object will do - a feather, a stone, a pencil, a paperweight.

Usually a talking stick is used with people sitting in a circle, and it's simply passed around the circle, from one person to the next.  I've also had success with it in larger settings where people are not in a circle.  In this case it can be simply passed back through the group to those wanting to speak, or the facilitator can move around the room and reclaim it after each speaker. 

Shift Dynamics with One Word

This word builds bridges


Here’s a strategy to improve dynamics in a difficult conversation:  In an argument or tense discussion, replace "but" with “and”.

Lawyer/mediator Susan Ingram describes this in her recent blog. “Typically", she writes, “When you’re having a discussion with another person, both of you are going back and forth with each of your own proposals, and not really listening to what the other person has just said.”

When we begin our comments in a conversation with “but”, Ingram says, "we are essentially negating and dismissing what the other person has just said. We are not valuing that person’s experiences and ideas and are just focusing on the point we want to make.”

Instead, she suggests, start with the word "and". By doing this, say writes, "we are acknowledging that we have heard what the other person has said and allowing that there may be value in his or her words. Thus, we are effectively keeping the channels of communication open, encouraging problem solving, and moving the conversation along to a more likely resolution.”

Replacing “but” with “and” sounds easy, but it's not a simple cut and replace. You have to listen carefully and craft your “and” response in a way that conveys your concerns.     You have to think it through and adjust a sentence or more in order for your "and" response to make sense.

Plan Teambuilding Now

teambuilding


It's easy in team settings to get so focused on performance, planning, and budgets that you forget the single most important factor in productivity and in people's sense of satisfaction on the job: relationships among colleagues.   

No matter how good everything else is, it's hard to be productive and feel content with your job if relationships are rotten.

Good relationships rarely happen by chance.  They happen by choice, when people choose to do stuff that facilitates friendship and connection.   Good leaders know this and make it a priority to plan activities that build relationships and  to incorporate them these plans into ongoing organizational life.   

There's a bunch of ideas for team building on this page of the Human Resources Today website.

Recently a trainer wrote me about how pleased she was with her experience leading a conflict styles workshop as a teambuilding exercise with a small group of colleagues.   She used this outline in designing a short workshop on conflict styles with Style Matters Online

New Trainer's Guide


If you're planning a workshop using Style Matters Online, see the new Training Outline for Style Matters OnlineThis is a 5 page trainer's guide for a workshop 1-2 hours in length with users who've taken the online version of Style Matters and have its detailed score report in hand.

Don't miss, of course, our long-standing primary training resource, the Trainers Guide to Successful Conflict Styles Workshops. That's a comprehensive 40 page guide you can download free, covering a variety of issues in conflict styles training. 

But the large guide is oriented to the print version of Style Matters.  This new 5 page addition is specifically for the online version of Style Matters and assumes participants each have a printout in hand of the 8-10 page score report created by the online version. 

We made significant upgrades in 2017 to the score report of the online version.  These make it easier than ever to lead an engaging workshop on conflict styles, even without previous experience as a conflict styles trainer.   

Our algorithm examines each user's data in multiple ways, identifies patterns, and responds with detailed suggestions for maximizing a user's responses to conflict resolution.   Only a very experienced trainer in a workshop setting with a good bit of time would be able to match the thoroughness and depth of this digitally-created score report.

Conflict Styles in Spanish

spanishsmcover
spanish5stylesdiagram


We're pleased to announce that, thanks to many requests for it, the Style Matters conflict style inventory is now released in a Spanish translation.  A direct translation of the English version, the Spanish conflict styles edition is now available in PDF format.  In the coming months we will bring it out in the online version as well.

In contrast to the Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument and other conflict style inventories currently available, Style Matters is designed to be suitable to users of diverse cultural backgrounds.  The inventory offers users a choice of instruction sets for users, one worded for people from Low Context Cultures and the other for users from High Context cultures.  

Click here to purchase the Spanish PDF for $9.95, a one-time purchase.  To train with it, trainers then buy user rights, one per user, at a price of $3.95 each, in order to photocopy and use the inventory.    Click here for Style Matters in French.

  

As a social enterprise, Riverhouse seeks to make our products available regardless to cost.   If $3.95 per user is simply not realistic for your circumstances, contact us.

Teambuilding Exercises

team-building-exercises2


Isolation and polarization are big threats today.    We can't take collegiality and community for granted.  We have to work steadily at renewing them.

Part of the requirement of leaders now is to recognize that times have changed.   We must strategically work to create these essentials that in times past seemed to come naturally.

So here's a marvelous collection of blog posts on team building on Human Resources Today.  I particularly like this group of teambuilding exercises.

 

Pyramid of Conflict Resolution Skills



 

The Pyramid of Conflict Resolution Skills

What is the connection between interpersonal conflict resolution tools like my Style Matters conflict style inventory or the Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument and big conflicts of our world, like ethnic and religious violence or threat of nuclear war?

There is in fact a connection between what happens between human beings at the smallest level every day and what happens between nations.   We can't build a peaceful world until parents, teachers, and leaders see this connection.  We must all act on it and teach others about it.

Below is a Pyramid of Competency to show the many layers of competence - and how they relate to each other - that are required for humans to live together peacefully.   I use it at the beginning of training on almost any conflict resolution topic to locate it on a map of "the big picture" of peace skills.  I also use it with individuals eager to pursue conflict resolution skill development to chart a pathway for learning. 

If you took my Style Matters conflict styles inventory or the Thomas Kilmann, you've already given some attention to the second level, "Interpersonal negotiation and conflict resolution".

Ponder this pyramid and you get some clues about why, despite all the progress humans have made, and all the institutions we've created, we're still barely out of  the Dark Ages with conflict resolution.