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Conflict

Resolution
Fundamentals
a course companion
with Lisa Gates

Conflict Resolution Fundamentals

CONTENTS
Terms and definitions........................................................................................................page 3
Conflict Response Styles........................................................................................................page 3
Contentious Tactics................................................................................................................page 3
Cognitive Bias.........................................................................................................................page 4
Principles of Influence............................................................................................................page 4
The name blame claim cycle............................................................................................page 5
Conflict response styles exercise................................................................................page 5
Resolution roadmap: quick reference.......................................................................page 7
conflict capacity exercise..............................................................................................page 9
Diagnostic questions: cheat sheet..............................................................................page 11
reframing strategies: exercise.......................................................................................page 12

Contents

Conflict Resolution Fundamentals

Terms and definitions


Conflict Response Styles
How you choose to respond to a conflict generally follows a progression. Without conflict resolution skills, we tend to alternate
between styles 1 and 2. The more you attempt to resolve conflict, the more confident you become in your ability, and the more
likely youll devote your time to styles 3, 4 and 5.
1. Suppression: forbidding or restraining the discussion of an idea, activity or issue.
2. Avoidance: refusing to talk to someone with whom youve had a dispute.
3. Resolution: finding an agreement that both parties can live with.
4. Transformation: using the conflict to explore your relationship with the person with whom youre having the dispute in a
way that resolves the conflict and transforms your relationship.
5. Transcendence: consciously moving through and past a conflict. In other words, youre no longer dominated by the need
to repeat the conflict.

Contentious Tactics:
Attempts to convince your conflict partner to do something they dont want to do or to stop doing something they want to
continue doing.
1. Ingratiation: getting what we want through charm or flattery.
2. Promises: getting what we want now by promising well do something later. Ill deliver the goods to you on an expedited
basis but only if you pay me my normal charge up front and a bonus of $ at the time of delivery.
3. Persuasive argumentation: the use of logic and reason to change someones behavior or position, to prove how youre
right and theyre wrong, or to lower their expectations.
4. Shaming: expressions of dismay, shock or disapproval of anothers behavior, usually on moral grounds. Your work is really
embarrassing and youre really not living up to your potential.
5. Gamesmanship: getting what we want by manipulating your bargaining partner. If I have to give you ten days notice, Ill
give it to you at 5 p.m. on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Terms and Definitions

Conflict Resolution Fundamentals

6. Threats: getting what we want know by threatening to cause the other harm if they dont comply. If you dont get your
report in youre going to have to work over the weekend.
7. Physical force: hitting, pushing, shoving, taking.

Cognitive Bias
A cognitive bias is a pattern of deviation in judgment that occurs in particular situations, which may sometimes lead to perceptual
distortion, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation, or what is broadly called irrationality (Wikipedia). Here are just a few of the
biases we cover in the course:
1. Hindsight bias: also called the I-knew-it-all-along bias, is the tendency to view past events as being predictable.
2. Fundamental attribution error: the tendency for people to explain the behavior of others as personality defects, while
minimizing the role of situational influences.
3. Confirmation bias: the tendency to look for or interpret information in a way that confirms our preconceptions.
4. Self-serving bias: the tendency to take more credit for successes than failures, and to interpret events in a way that benefits
our interests.
5. Belief bias: this is when we form an opinion about the logic of an idea or proposal--not on its merits, but on our belief in
the truth or falsity of the conclusion.

Principles of Influence
1. Reciprocity: people are highly motivated to return a favor or good deed, or respond to a positive action with another
positive action.
2. Commitment and Consistency: if people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that
commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self image.
3. Social proof: people will do things that they see other people are doing.
4. Authority: people will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts.
5. Liking: people who are similar to us are more likely to be influenced by us.
6. Scarcity: perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, saying offers are available for a limited time only
encourages sales.

Terms and Definitions

Conflict Resolution Fundamentals

The Name Blame Claim Cycle


Heres a simple exercise to help you make the Name, Blame, Claim Cycle immediately relevant and practical.
Think about a recent argument with a friend or coworker. Remember, even if
the argument only occurred in your head, its still a conflict. An internal conflict. So if you havent had an argument recently, think
about something youre upset about but havent yet aired.
1. When you pointed your finger, what did you NAME as the issue?

2. Who did you BLAME?

3. What did you CLAIM? (Usually a demand aimed at fixing something


or rectifying an issue.)

This is the first step. Understanding the process at work in the Name, Blame, Claim Cycle. You may find it useful to refer to this first
exercise as a template for implementing the principles and strategies in the Roadmap to Resolution.

The Name Blame Claim Cycle/Conflict Response Styles Exercise

Conflict Resolution Fundamentals

Conflict Response Styles Exercise


To review, the five primary Conflict Response Styles are:
Suppression, Avoidance, Resolution, Transformation and Transcendence.
1. What is your default response style?

2. How do you think its helped or hindered your conflict resolution process in the past?

3. What issues or challenges would you most like to resolve?

4. What style would most serve you in resolving those issues or challenges?

5. Whats likely to trip you up?

Right now, you can give yourself a head start by choosing the least challenging issue and make an effort to resolve it. Your answers
to these questions and your willingness to practice resolving daily conflicts will provide a backdrop for your movement throughout
this course.

Conflict Response Styles Exercise

Conflict Resolution Fundamentals

Resolution Roadmap: QUICK reference


The following is a handy quick reference for the Six Step Resolution Roadmap.
Step 1: Identifying the Issues
Identify the nature of disagreement: Is it relational, substantive, or perceptual?
Investigate your interests: What are your values, priorities, preferences, goals, etc.?
Listen.
Paraphrase what you think your conflict partner is saying.
Step 2: Building Trust
Manage yourself.
Take personal responsibility (use I language).
Listen actively.
Focus on the present.
Take your part.
Express your commitment to resolution.
Step 3: Asking Diagnostic Questions
Turn statements (accusations) into open-ended questions:
who, what, when, where, why and how.
(See list of diagnostic questions .)
Step 4: Reframing Strategies
Move from fighting to problem solving.
Move from being right to being happy.

1. Resolution Roadmap

Conflict Resolution Fundamentals

Shift from uncooperative to cooperative.


Shift from potential gain to potential loss.
Move from past to future.
Step 5: Brainstorming
Explore needs before solutions.
Focus on quantity, not quality of ideas at first.
Rule nothing out.
Expand on each others ideas.
Let your ideas go.
Start with the easy stuff.
Step 6: Getting to Agreement
Examine proposals for satisfaction: do they meet your mutual interests?
Write down specifics.
Capture the processes, actions, or deliverables you are committing to.
Specify the timeline for completing those actions or deliverables.
Determine how youll communicate your progress and close the communication loops.
Read the agreement to your conflict partner.
Follow up by email.
Appreciate and acknowledge your conflict partner.

1. Resolution Roadmap

Conflict Resolution Fundamentals

Conflict Capacity Exercise


First, write down 5 of your own behaviors that you would like to change, especially when you see that behavior in others. These are
your triggers.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Next, think about a recent argument you had with a boss or coworker or family member. Somebody did something, and you got
upset. Perhaps really upset.
On a scale of 1-10, 1 being only mildly irritated, and 10 being the highest level of intensity, how irritated were you?
Now identify your capacity to deal with that issue or emotion. A 1 would mean that you are so triggered by this problem you can
hardly talk about it. A 9 or 10 means you have a lot of room for the feelings that come up around this issue.
So, if you were a 9 on the upset scale, and a 3 on the capacity scale, the distance between those two numbers suggests that you
have some capacity building to do.
Recent argument

Irritation level (1-10)

Capacity to deal (1-10)

Who?
What happened?

2. Conflict Capacity Exercise

Conflict Resolution Fundamentals

What did this exercise reveal for you?

What actions can you take to practice building your capacity in this area?

2. Conflict Capacity Exercise

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Conflict Resolution Fundamentals

DIAGNOSTIC QUESTIONS: CHEAT SHEET


Here are 25 Diagnostic Questions you can use with any issue or conflict:
1. How would you characterize the issue/problem?
2. Who do we need to include in the conversation?
3. Who might be harmed as a result of this issue?
4. How can I help you avoid that harm?
5. Where do you think we might obtain more information that would help us resolve this problem?
6. Would you like me to search that out?
7. Whats most important to you?
8. Whats least important to you?
9. What would be the best outcome for you?
10. Whats difficult about X?
11. How can I help you?
12. How do you see our relationship evolving if we resolve this issue?
13. What do you fear might happen if we dont resolve it?
14. Whats holding you back?
15. Where do you wish you could go?
16. What would you do if your hands werent tied?
17. If we were partners in this, how could we use our strengths to support each other?
18. What role would you like me to play in resolving some of the problems youre having with X now?
19. Whats upsetting you?
20. What do you think is fair?
21. Why do you think thats fair?
22. What about that resolution seems fair?
23. What else?
24. What might be left unsaid or undone?
25. Tell me more...

Diagnostic Questions

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Conflict Resolution Fundamentals

Reframing Strategies: Exercise


To defuse an active dispute that has come to focus more on the people than on the problem, reframe the problem. Here are
some examples:
Example #1:
Frame: Your shoddy work shows that you dont take your job seriously.
Reframe: Im doing the work of three people and it would be helpful if youd prioritize so I know where to focus.
Example #2:
Frame: Pete has really horrible time management skills and is constantly interrupting me.
Reframe: Pete may need some direction and clarity to help him be more productive.

Here are a few more statements to try your hand at reframing:


1. If I say no to my boss, Ill get fired.

2. The marketing people dont understand how the product works.

3. The only reason Amanda gets to work at home is because her kids are always sick.

4. Your resume indicates you dont stick around long in any given position.

5. Why should I hire you when I can get everything you offer for free on the internet?

Reframing Strategies

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