RiverHouse Press Blog by Ron Kraybill
Do you want to help a team or group improve patterns of dealing with conflict? Below are resources to help you lead a rich learning experience on conflict styles.
So long as you’re comfortable leading group discussion, you can do this yourself, even if you’ve never led a conflict styles workshop before.
The resources listed capitalize on Style Matters Online, which harnesses digital power to do interpretation that required an expert in the past. Its 2020 version combs a user’s scores for insights and presents them in a detailed, 10 page report that can be easily understood without additional input.
You don’t need to be a conflict resolution expert to coordinate this. Naturally the more you know, the better for the group. But ordinary group facilitation skills are all that is required to have an impactful event.
Conversation to Assist Learning
A feature we’ve added to recent upgrades is suggestions for partners. Other learning tools like Style Matters – for example, the Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument – typically address the user as an individual. “Here’s your scores, here’s how you compare to others, here’s what your numbers mean, etc.” It’s up to the user to translate that into conversation with partners and colleagues.
That’s like clapping with one hand. Conflict happens in relationships. That means that learning about conflict takes place best in the context of relationships. We can start on our own, but we hit pay dirt in conversation with others.
So a section of the Style Matters score report is for conversation with partners or colleagues of the user. These suggest ways to support the user when things are dicey. The goal is for people in long-term partnerships to review these together, and proactively negotiate patterns of communication that work well in times of difficulty.
Resources You Need Training
Here’s a complete list of what need to design and pull an effective learning experience with Style Matters Online.
Download Trainers Big Guide to Successful Conflict Styles Training. This free 45 page guide to conflict styles training explains the five styles of conflict, the concepts of Calm and Storm, how to work with the cross-cultural aspects of Style Matters, and provides step-by-step guidance through a workshop. In addition you need…
Download Trainers Small Guide to Style Matters Online. This free 10 page supplement builds on concepts in the big guide above and applies them to training with the online version. If you’re just facilitating a conversation, you can get by with just this supplement to design your discussion. If you’re feeling ambitious and expecting to give inputs as an active trainer role, you should have both.
View Intro to Conflict Styles slide show, available in either traditional Powerpoint format or dynamic Prezi format. This short slide show, free for online viewing and available for purchase offline, introduces core concepts of the five styles of conflict and serves as a great prelude to discussion of score reports.
Handouts. If you like to work from handouts, download these. From the traditional print version of Style Matters, they’re not required for training with the online version. But if you have time for them, they’re a solid addition to any workshop. Plus, it’s nice to have them ready if, like many trainers, you’re nervous about having enough solid material on-hand.
Tutorial. The tutorial on our website packs a lot of info about conflict styles into a few pages, on topics like the cross-cultural feature of Style Matters, the Storm shift, interpreting scores, anger management, and more.
Followup. Conflict responses are habit-based. Developing new patterns requires repetition. You can expand the impact of conflict styles learning by spreading it across time, with followup activities and/or homework. See my blog on followup activities for ideas. You can multiply the impact of the whole experience by enouraging people to engage in conversation with those they live or work with. See this essay for ideas for discussion between individuals.
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