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Managing Conflict and Change Presentation - 5-26-15(1)

Steve Puckett, SHRM-SCP, SPHR
Director, Corporate Human Resources
All relationships, personal and professional,
experience some kind of conflict…
•Sometimes even necessary for growth and
Let’s discuss some ways to manage conflict and
look at change as a friend.
• Conflict is only at work.
• Conflict is dysfunctional in the workplace.
• Conflict represents a communication
• If avoided, conflict will eventually go away.
• Conflict always results in a winner and a
• Conflict will occur
 42% of leader’s time
• Communication is a must
 Don’t stop talking until a solution is
Truths continued:
Conflict can help build relationships
Conflict can be a motivator for change
Most conflicts can be managed
Most people deal with conflict by…
 Fight or Flight
• Ignoring the situation
– Most common response
– It will only get worse
– Conflict seldom resolves on its own
• Becoming aggressive
“In your face”
• Firecracker
– Blow up to sudden anger
– Usually apologize
– You know it will happen again
• Cold Shoulder
– Two people who take pride in not communicating
with each other
– Contest to see who can hold out the longest
• Backstabbing
– Positive to your face/knife in the back
• Social Zinger
– Throw verbal darts in front of others
– The “I was just teasing” syndrome
• Trivia Fights
– Those who battle over the little things
– Fight over the details
– Seldom get to the real issues
• Having the Last Word
– Must have the last remark
– Conflict is seldom over
• Diversity
– People who think differently than I do
– Different cultures
– Social Similarity
• Differences
– Ways that we prefer to act and behave
• Needs
– Ignoring the other party’s needs
– Confusing needs and desires
• Perceptions
– Self-perceptions
– Perceptions of the other party
– Perceptions of threat
• Power
– Wanting to control behaviors in others
– Inflexibility
• Generations
The Generations
Traditionalist Baby Boomer Gen X
Why are there
81.5 million Boomers
and only
61 million Xers?
• Birth control pill dispenser pic
The Largest Difference Between
Baby Boomers
Millennials (Gen Y)
Baby Boomers vs. Gen Y’s
• Baby Boomers
• Gen Y’s
 Rode in the back of pick  Children remain in car
seats till age 21
up trucks
 Drank out of garden
 “Hand-me-down” baby
cribs with 12 coats of
lead paint
 Flavored life water (high
tech bottled water)
 Space age crib with 60
moving parts. No blankets.
Must sleep on backs.
Baby Boomers vs. Gen Y’s
• Baby Boomers
• Gen Y’s
 Long trips – put kids in
back dash of car
 Each child has their own
row of van seats with
separate DVD players
 Teachers had paddles
with holes
 Parents permission
required for time outs
Baby Boomers vs. Gen Y’s
• Baby Boomers
• Gen Y’s
 Summer jobs
beginning at age 10
 On allowance till 3rd
 Only champions got
awards and trophies
 Losers get trophies
 Always had 10 cents
for phone call
 Each child has own
Baby Boomers vs. Gen Y’s
• Baby Boomers
• Gen Y’s
 1 TV, 3 channels
with rabbit ears
 TV in every room, 300
channels, kids are only
one who can operate
Next Generation of Leaders
“Generation Z”
• Avoiding personal contact
• Shouting
• Others
Writing emails vs. talking
Withholding needed information
Not returning messages
Delay giving required support
Getting others to take sides
Undermining other’s reputation
Sweaty palms
Nervous gestures
Closed body posture
Tense facial expressions
1. Change
2. Conflicting Goals & Objectives
3. Limited Resources
4. The Domino Effect
• Competition (unilateral decision making)
 Emergency situations
 Decisive action
 Implementing unpopular change
 When other methods fail
• Accommodation (allowing the other side to win)
 Preserving the relationship vs
arguing the issue
 When the issue is more important to
the other person
 When you want others to express
their own point of view
 When you want others to learn by
their own choices
• Avoidance (decision to not handle)
 If others can resolve conflict more
 If both parties see the issue as minor
 If additional time is required
 If both parties need a cooling off
• Compromise (“win” on both sides)
 To reach agreement when both sides have
equal power
 To find common ground when both
parties have competing goals
 To achieve a temporary settlement on a
complex issue
 To reach a solution due to time pressures
• Collaboration (through team input)
 Merging experiences from people
having different backgrounds
 Being creative to explore solutions
 Looking for solutions where there
may not be much conflict
Utilize the three W’s of communication
• Who
– Always communicate with the key person(s)
• When
– Discuss the issue within 24 hours
– This is not necessarily “the sooner the better”
– Prepare your thoughts
• Where
– Consider a neutral location
– Equal footing
• Basic Acknowledgements
 Non-verbal responses
• Silence
 We are better speakers than listeners
– Use silence to get a response from
• Questions
 It tells the speaker you’re interested
 It says you want “more”
 It verifies the content
 Let the speaker finish speaking first
 If the speaker indicates you
misunderstood, ask them to repeat
• Constructive Criticism
– Usually applied to performance that
needs improvement
– Focus on the issue, not the person
– Plan ahead and handle carefully
– Sandwich method
– Performance appraisals
• Destructive Criticism
– Intentionally used
– Causes conflict
– Attacks the person vs. performance or behavior
– Commonly used in politics
– Usually a result of anger
1. Create an effective atmosphere
• Preparation
• Allow time
• Avoid distractions
• Pick a non-threatening place
• Choose carefully initial comments,
atmosphere of partnership
• Your turn/My turn
Your Turn:
You go first
Disarms the other person
Activate your listening skills
My Turn:
• May I give my side of the story?
• Describe problems without blaming
2. Clarify perceptions
• Is conflict an isolated event or another in
a long list?
• Identify what the conflict is about and
what it is not about
• Organize the points of the conflict from
major to minor
3. Focus on individual and shared needs
• Don’t confuse needs with desires
• Always put yourself in the place of the
other party
• Identify areas of common interest
4. Look to the future ~ not the past
• Don’t let the past rule your thinking
• Learn from the past –
 Remind each other of past positive times
• Avoid the “HOT” buttons
 Politics
 Abortion
 Religion
 Sexual Preference
 Ex-spouses
• Practice the Power of Forgiveness
5. Generate options
• Prepare some options in advance
• Focus on options that deal with shared
• Seek options and common ground from
other party
• Value past experiences
6. Develop “doables” and stepping stones
• Pick the low hanging fruit first
• Start with the small steps
• Doables are not ends, only steps
7. Strive for mutual benefit agreements
• Establish a partnership on the issue
• Create a new beginning
• Focus on solutions ~ not blame
8. Flexibility - key to conflict resolution
• Be conciliatory
 Apologizing
 Conceding
 Expressing positive feelings for the other
 Initiating a win-win approach
• Maintain professionalism
• Give equal access to your common ground
• Know when to seek a facilitator or
20% of employees are “change friendly”
50% of employees are “fence sitters”
30% of employees are “resisters”
The “resisters” make the most noise and require the
majority of your time.
Spend your time wisely with the “fence sitters.”
• Relate the need for change to your
“core values”
• Never assume everyone understands
Change Can Easily Make Enemies
Plan Your Communication
Major Change – announce everything
Subtle Change – begin slowly
• Everyone wants to know - what’s in it for me?
 Will I still have a job?
 Am I taking a cut in pay?
 Am I going to lose anything?
• These issues must be addressed up front.
• Sometimes no info is as bad as wrong info.
• Find an immediate role for the 20% “change
• Utilize the “experts.”
• Communicating change is not trouble free
• Could get worse before it gets better
• Don’t just paint the rosy part
• Mix the good news with the bad
• Most resistance dies out once they believe
change is a done deal.
• But resisters will keep any hope alive if
given the opening.
• “Softening” your position “stiffens” the
Actions speak louder than words
• Resisters beware….
It’s time to get on board!
Three types of Resisters
1. Loudmouths
• Love audiences
• “Here I Am”
• High profile
Get beyond the hostility
Turn your back if needed
Take away their audience
Crack through the outer shell
2. Moderates
• Larger groups
• Less obvious
• May disguise resistance
• Straightforward
• Watch for resistance that
is masqueraded
3. Cunning
Operate under cover
Don’t want to get caught
Silent enemies
Size unknown
• Get them in the open
• Ask questions in public
 Show Respect
 Be Patient
 Remain on the “High
• Empower yourself
 Take charge during change
 Great opportunities for leaders
Don’t waste time waiting for orders
Effectiveness depends on credibility
Admit mistakes
Team reconstruction bogs down when employees
stop believing in the boss
Identify subject experts
Mix together right combinations
Spread out the talent
Surround yourself with the best and
most trusted employees
• Re-recruit your keepers
Don’t surprise employees
Give employees a voice
Communicate change timely and thoroughly
Ensure effective supervisor-subordinate
• Deal quickly with any conflict that has
• Effective conflict resolution begins with
addressing conflict immediately
• Not all conflict is bad
• Don’t mistake diversity for conflict
• Embrace knowledge and experience from your
peers and subordinates ~ “It is not threatening”
• Learn to accept and value compromise
• Improve listening skills
• Look at the FUTURE, not the PAST
The best teams have the best leaders
Invest in team training
Change begins with effective communication
Identify the three types of change groups:
– Change friendly
– Fence sitters
– Resisters
• It’s all about Leadership
• Deal with the problem employee
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Provant Media Publishing, 1998
Muriel Solomon, Working With Difficult People; New York, NY;
Prentice Hall Press, 2002
Gary McClain, Ph.D, and Deborah S. Romaine, Managing People
Book; Avon, MA; Adams Media Corporation, 2002
Lani Arrendondo, Communicating Effectively; New York, NY; McGraw
Hill, 2000
Kirk Blackard, James W. Gibson, Capitalizing on Conflict; Palo Alto,
CA; Davies-Black Publishing, 2002
Chris Roebuck, Effective Communication; New York, NY;
Marlane Miller, Brainstyles; New York, NY; Simon & Schuster, 1997
Edward M. Marshall, Transforming The Way We Work; New York,
NY; AMACOM, 1995
Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen, Difficult Conversations;
New York, NY; Penguin Books,1999
Daniel Dana, Conflict Resolution; New York, NY; McGraw Hill, 2001
Lynne McClure, Ph.D., Anger and Conflict in the Workplace;
Manassas Park, VA; Impact Publications, 2000
N. Elizabeth Fried, Ph.D., Outrageous Conduct: Bizarre Behavior at
Work; Dublin, OH; Intermediaries Press, 1999
Thank you for attending!
Steve Puckett, SHRM-SCP, SPHR
Director, Corporate Human Resources