Orientation and Leadership Dynamics Leading and Managing On a Mission with a Vision

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1 DIRECTORS TRAINING Leadership Module Session Four: Conflict Resolution

2 ENHANCING LEADERSHIP AND EARLY LEARNING SERVICES (ELELS) The overarching goal of the ELELS series is to enhance early care and learning directors knowledge and skill of effective leadership strategies associated with promoting school readiness for young children. The ELELS series consists of three connected modules, Leadership, Center Environment, and Instructional Alignment; a support module, Family Engagement (integrated into ELELS but can be delivered as a stand-alone module); and one stand-alone module, Business Practices. The bolded module and session title indicates the specific content for this session as well as where this session fits in the flow of the ELELS series. MODULE LEADERSHIP CENTER ENVIRONMENT INSTRUCTIONAL ALIGNMENT FAMILY ENGAGEMENT SESSION Orientation and Leadership Dynamics Leading and Managing On a Mission with a Vision Conflict Resolutionn High-Quality Preschools Classroom Climate Instructional Climate Instructional Tools Instructional Interactions Instructional Improvement Assessment of Young Children Instruction Informed by Assessment Instructional Diversity Strategies to Increase Family Engagement BUSINESS Business Development and Financial Literacy PRACTICES Services Objective: o Increase directors understanding of and skill in resolving conflicts in productive ways. Big Ideas: o Each person is unique, differs in their values, perceptions, past experiences, and how they solve problems and manage conflicts. o Effective leaders understand that disagreements and/or conflicts among people in relationships, groups, and organizations are to be expected. o Everyone has a preferred style for dealing with conflict. Understanding what those styles are helps leaders diagnose problem situations and develop action plans to address them. o Effective leaders have developed effective strategies in managing conflict and/or problem situations involving employees. 2

3 Essential Questions: o What is conflict? o What are common approaches to dealing with conflict? o What strategies have been demonstrated to deal with supervisor/employee conflicts in the workplace? Directors Will Know: o Attributes that define conflict. o How individual values, perceptions, and past experiences influence problem-solving and conflict management styles. o Their preferred style of dealing with conflict. Directors Will Be Able to: o Identify varying styles of conflict management in simulations. o Use two strategies demonstrated to be effective in managing supervisor/employee conflict in the workplace. Evidence Objective Is Met: o IN-SESSION (Completed Managing Employee/Supervisor Conflict in the Workplace activity): Plan a fictional workplace conversation that uses guiding principles and follows planned action steps for managing a conflict. o JOB-EMBEDDED ASSIGNMENT (Completed Workplace Conversation activity sheet): Plan and engage in a workplace conversation that uses guiding principles and follows planned action steps for managing a conflict. 3

4 Session Outline with Materials List (BOLD ITEMS ARE PROVIDED WITH THE TRAINING MODULE) Length/ Format 10 minutes/ individual 5 minutes/ whole group 5 minutes/ partner 20 minutes/ whole group, individual 20 minutes/ whole group, individual 40 minutes/ individual, small group, whole group 5 minutes/ whole group Activity Title Gather and Focus: What Is Conflict? Session Agenda: What Are We Going to Do? Reflection: Coat of Arms Activity #1: How Do You Handle It? Activity #2: Diagnosing the Conflict Activity #3: Managing Employee/ Supervisor Conflict in the Workplace Review: Workplace Conversation Materials Needed for Activity Computer Projector Conflict Resolution PowerPoint (Slide 1) Per Director: What Is Conflict? activity sheet Pen or pencil None needed Per Director: Completed Coat of Arms activity sheet Computer Projector Conflict Resolution PowerPoint (Slides 2-7)* Per Director: Completed What Is Conflict? activity sheet Identify Your Personal Conflict Resolution Style activity sheet* Pen or pencil Computer Projector Conflict Resolution PowerPoint (Slides 8-14) Per Director: Examining the Context activity sheet Pen or pencil Per Director: Interaction Management System handout Scenario A handout Scenario B handout Conversation Planner activity sheet (two per director) Per Director: Workplace Conversation activity sheet Conversation Planner activity sheet *Adapted by permission of the publisher, from The Diversity Training Activity Book by Jonamay Lambert and Selma Myers 2009 AMACOM, a division of American Management Association, New York, New York 4

5 PROCEDURES Gather and Focus: What Is Conflict? Time: 10 minutes Format: individual Note for Facilitator: Give each director an activity sheet as he/she arrives. This activity is designed for the first 10 minutes of the session. Materials: computer, projector, Conflict Resolution PowerPoint (Slide 1); Per Director: What Is Conflict? activity sheet, pen or pencil 1. SHOW SLIDE ONE. 2. Give each director a What Is Conflict? activity sheet and a pen or a pencil. 3. Allow the directors to spend ten minutes answering the questions on the activity sheet (also listed below). 4. Inform the directors that you will discuss their responses later in the session. o o o o o What comes to your mind when you hear the word conflict? Think about a conflict you experienced in your center recently. How would you describe the conflict? What are some possible reasons that the conflict occurred? How was the conflict handled? What were the outcomes of the conflict? Session Agenda: What Are We Going to Do? Time: 5 minutes Format: whole group Note for Facilitator: Use this time to inform the directors of today s topic. Materials: none needed 1. Tell the directors that during this session, you will examine what conflict means, increase understanding about ways to deal with conflict, and practice using effective strategies in managing conflict and/or problem situations involving employees. 5

6 2. Let the directors know that before you dive into the topic of conflict, they will first reflect on their job-embedded assignment from the last session. Reflection: Coat of Arms Time: 5 minutes Format: partner Note for Facilitator: This activity could also be done in small groups depending on the size of the group. Materials: Per Director: Completed Coat of Arms activity sheet 1. Tell the directors you will get back to the topic of conflict in a few minutes, but first you want them to share about their coat of arms. 2. Ask the directors to take out the Coat of Arms activity sheet they prepared for today s session. 3. Allow each director to get with a partner and share his/her vision statements by sharing the coat of arms with the partner. Activity #1: How Do You Handle It? Time: 20 minutes Format: whole group, individual Note for Facilitator: Familiarize yourself with the PowerPoint prior to engaging in the activity. Materials: computer, projector, Conflict Resolution PowerPoint (Slides 2-7); Per Director: Completed What Is Conflict? activity sheet, Identify Your Personal Conflict Resolution Style activity sheet, pen or pencil (5 minutes whole group) 1. SHOW SLIDE TWO. a. Tell the directors that you are going to briefly revisit their first question from the Gather and Focus activity What comes to your mind when you hear the word CONFLICT? b. Ask the directors to share their responses with the whole group. c. After a few directors have shared, point out to them that most of their responses fell into one of three categories. 6

7 d. Click and read, Definition such as fight, disagreement, war. e. Restate one or more of the examples mentioned by a director that would fall under the category of definition. f. Click and read, Causes such as differences in opinion, perspective, or personality. g. Restate one or more of the examples mentioned by a director that would fall under the category of causes. h. Click and read, Feelings anxiety, stress, or tension. i. Restate one or more of the examples mentioned by a director that would fall under the category of feelings. j. Point out to the directors that understanding both the causes and feelings associated with conflict will help leaders effectively manage it. (5 minutes whole group and individual) 2. SHOW SLIDE THREE. a. Read the text on the slide: Think about a conflict you experienced in your center recently. How was the conflict handled? b. Click then tell the directors that they most likely handled the conflict like a tortoise, shark, koala bear, or owl. c. Give each director an Identify Your Personal Conflict Resolution Style activity sheet and a pen or a pencil. d. Ask the directors to read through the behaviors and identify the behaviors that indicate how they handled the chosen conflict. e. Emphasize to the directors that they should indicate how they really did handle the conflict and not how they wish they had handled the conflict. f. Tell the directors to circle the animal that most closely matches the way they handled the conflict. (10 minutes whole group) 3. SHOW SLIDE FOUR. a. Point out to the directors that if they circled the tortoise then they used the AVOIDANCE approach to handle the incident of conflict. 7

8 b. Mention one or more of the following points about the AVOIDANCE approach: i. People avoid a conflict by pretending it does not exist. ii. IF you are using an avoidance approach, focus on what is important to you and why. iii. Give yourself time to gather data to support your point of view. iv. If focused on relatively unimportant issues, may be okay. v. If conflict is important, it will not disappear, but will continue to build until it becomes too big to ignore. 4. SHOW SLIDE FIVE. a. Point out to the directors that if they circled the shark then they used the COMPETITION approach to handle the incident of conflict. b. Mention one or more of the following points about the COMPETITION approach: i. Person in power settles the conflict; one person wins, one person loses. ii. IF you are using a competition approach, step back from your position and think about what the other person needs and/or wants. iii. Work with others to identify underlying concerns and issues. iv. Consider a number of options and how each person will benefit from each one. v. Consistent use of this method tends to result in a climate of distrust and increased levels of perceived threat and resentment. vi. Work with others to identify underlying concerns and issues to minimize negative effects. vii. Consider all options and how each will impact all directors. viii. Works well if there is an emergency and fast action is needed or when a decision is unpopular. 8

9 5. SHOW SLIDE SIX. a. Point out to the directors that if they circled the koala bear then they used the ADAPTATION approach to handle the incident of conflict. b. Mention one or more of the following points about the ADAPTATION approach: i. Differences are played down and surface harmony is maintained. ii. IF you are using an adaptation approach, take time to find alternatives that work for everyone, not just the person who is most vocal or difficult. iii. Not useful when smoothing over the conflict leads to evading the problem or if the problem is causing serious consequences. iv. It is appropriate to use when preservation of the relationship is more important than solving the conflict. 6. SHOW SLIDE SEVEN. a. Point out to the directors that if they circled the owl then they used the COLLABORATION approach to handle the incident of conflict. b. Mention one or more of the following points about the COLLABORATION approach: i. People work together to resolve the issue. ii. Depends on mutual respect and agreement to work together. iii. IF you are using a collaborative approach, make your thinking explicit. iv. Help others understand how you will work with them to find and implement solutions that benefit everyone. v. Requires assertive communication and cooperation. vi. Keep problems and personalities separate. vii. Approach offers the chance for renewed energy and new ideas. viii. May not be a workable solution if individuals are not committed to the process. ix. Approach is useful when bringing a variety of viewpoints together is important or to get the best solution and buy-in from directors. 9

10 c. Emphasize to the directors that there is more than one way to respond to conflict. d. Point out that one of the most useful styles is the Collaboration Style but there are times when other styles are more appropriate. 7. State that what is important is being aware of your own style and recognizing others so that you can better anticipate how they might react so that you can adjust your style accordingly. Activity #2: Diagnosing the Conflict Time: 20 minutes Format: whole group, individual Note for Facilitator: Familiarize yourself with the PowerPoint prior to engaging in the activity. Materials: computer, projector, Conflict Resolution PowerPoint (Slides 8-14); Per Director: Examining the Context activity sheet, pen or pencil (5 minutes whole group) 1. SHOW SLIDE EIGHT. a. Mention to the directors that they have just looked at four ways to react to conflicts and now you are going to talk about anticipating the conflict before it arrives. b. Read the text on the slide: How do we know there is a conflict happening? Obvious clues? Subtle clues? Allow directors to respond. c. Encourage and facilitate discussion by asking prompting questions such as: i. Do you notice your employees acting differently? ii. Do you feel a tension in the air when a conflict is looming? iii. Can you sense when two or more staff members are uncomfortable with one another? d. Click and read, Does conflict automatically mean crisis? Allow directors to respond. 10

11 (4 minutes whole group) 2. SHOW SLIDE NINE a. Say, the first thing that happens is a conflict incident occurs. What would this be like? (Allow directors to respond. Possible responses include screaming, not talking to one another, leaving the area.) b. Point out that initially the conflict is not at the crisis level. c. Mention that the leader must stay alert and watch for clues that a crisis could be on the way such as d. Click then read, Differing points of view, differing perspectives. e. Click then read, Misunderstandings, faulty assumptions. f. Click then read, Discomfort. g. Click then read, Tension. h. Mention that these are just a few of the clues that could be observed and then i. Click then read, Crisis arises! (2 minutes whole group) 3. SHOW SLIDE TEN. a. Mention to the directors that examining the context of a crisis helps to identify the underlying processes that are contributing to the conflict and the problem. b. Say, You are all interested in making sure your center is a high-quality early care and learning center and is a place where both adult and children are committed to c. Click then read, Shared vision and mission statements that enhance children's development and learning. d. Click then read, Activity working to achieve the vision through ongoing adult and child learning, active communication, collaboration, and teamwork; and e. Click then read, Continuously working to improve both individual and group performance. 11

12 (3 minutes - individual) 4. SHOW SLIDE ELEVEN. a. Give each director an Examining the Context activity sheet. b. Explain that you would like for them to take two minutes and brainstorm possible disagreements that could be related to each of these three quality attributes. (2 minutes - whole group) 5. SHOW SLIDE TWELVE. a. Point out that possible responses to conflicts within the attribute of shared vision and mission might be (read the text on the slide): i. Differing values and beliefs about what enhances children s development and learning; ii. Differing beliefs about how best to encourage children s development and learning. b. Ask directors to compare these conflicts with those listed on their activity sheet. (2 minutes whole group) 6. SHOW SLIDE THIRTEEN. a. Point out that possible responses to conflicts within the attribute of working to achieve the vision might be (read the text on the slide): i. Differing and/or unclear expectations for 1. Performance of assigned duties and tasks; 2. Work habits; 3. Working well with others and as team members; ii. Lack of, or inconsistent provision of explicit feedback on performance. b. Ask directors to compare these conflicts with those listed on their activity sheet. (2 minutes whole group) 7. SHOW SLIDE FOURTEEN. 12

13 a. Point out that possible responses to conflicts within the attribute of continuous improvement might be (read the text on the slide): i. Differing and/or unclear expectations for managing change; ii. Differing and/or unclear expectations about changing standards and/or assignments; iii. Lack of or inconsistent provision of explicit feedback on performance. b. Ask directors to compare these conflicts with those listed on their activity sheet. c. Challenge the directors to identify the conflicts they have listed that could be described as conflicts with work habits and employee performance in carrying out assigned responsibilities. d. Tell the directors you will now shift your focus to those specific conflicts! Activity #3: Managing Employee/Supervisor Conflict in the Workplace Time: 40 minutes Format: individual, small group, whole group Note for Facilitator: Be prepared to provide assistance to the small groups as they plan their workplace conversations. Materials: Per Director: Interaction Management System handout, Scenario A handout, Scenario B handout, Conversation Planner activity sheet (two per director) (7 minutes - individual) 1. Give each director an Interaction Management System handout. 2. Tell the directors to spend the next 6-7 minutes reading the information in the article about improving work habits and improving performance. (7 minutes whole group and small group) 3. Tell directors they are going to spend the next 7 minutes practicing strategies for handling conflict while keeping in mind the information from the article. 4. Ask the directors to move into groups of 3 for this task. 13

14 5. After directors have moved into their groups, give each director a Scenario A handout and a Conversation Planner activity sheet. 6. Explain to the directors that their group task is to read the scenario and plan a workplace conversation with the employee in Scenario A who hint, hint needs to improve her work habits. 7. Encourage conversation among group members as they work through this task. (7 minutes whole group) 8. After directors complete the Conversation Planner activity sheet for Scenario A, bring the group back together. 9. Allow each small group to briefly share their plan for a workplace conversation. 10. Engage the directors in a discussion about developing the workplace conversation by asking question such as: a. What were the critical issues, possible solutions, and desired outcomes? b. Which part was most challenging? Why? c. What were your similarities and differences in approaches to the workplace conversations? d. How did you use the guiding principles in developing your workplace conversation? e. Did the guiding principles prove helpful or present difficulties? Why? (7 minutes small group) 11. Tell directors to get back into their small groups. 12. After directors have moved back into their groups, give each director a Scenario B handout and a second Conversation Planner activity sheet. 13. Explain to the directors that their group task is to read the second scenario and plan a second workplace conversation with the employee in Scenario B. 14. Encourage conversation among group members as they work through this task. 14

15 (7 minutes whole group) 15. After directors complete the Conversation Planner activity sheet for Scenario B, bring the group back together again. 16. Allow each small group to briefly share their plan for a workplace conversation. 17. Engage the directors in a discussion about developing the workplace conversation by asking question such as: a. What were the critical issues, possible solutions, and desired outcomes? b. Which part was most challenging? Why? c. What were your similarities and differences in approaches to the workplace conversations? d. How did you use the guiding principles in developing your workplace conversation? e. Did the guiding principles prove helpful or present difficulties? Why? (5 minutes whole group) 18. Ask the directors which scenario was more difficult to plan for and why. 19. Challenge the directors to follow the actions steps listed on the Conversation Planner activity sheet when planning an actual conversation with an employee. 20. Review the steps for planning a conversation. a. Describe the problem. b. Identify the nature of the conflict improving employee performance or improving employee work habits. c. Identify critical issues, possible solutions, and anticipated obstacles. d. Identify the guiding principles to be used throughout the conversation. e. Choose the right time and location to have the conversation. 21. Review the steps for engaging in a conversation. a. Describe the problem in a non-threatening manner. b. Indicate why the problem concerns you and that the situation must be changed. 15

16 c. Listen openly to the employee s explanation and use it as an opportunity for problem solving. d. Work together to brainstorm possible solutions. e. Agree on specific actions to be taken by each of you and set a follow-up (date, time, place). Review: Workplace Conversation Time: 5 minutes Format: whole group Note for Facilitator: Use this time to briefly review today s topic by explaining the on-site task to be completed. Materials: Per Director: Conversation Planner activity sheet, Workplace Conversation activity sheet 1. Give each director a Workplace Conversation activity sheet and another Conversation Planner activity sheet. 2. Explain to the directors that to review today s topic their job-embedded assignment is to engage in a workplace conversation with an employee. 3. Tell the directors to choose an appropriate situation, use the Conversation Planner activity sheet to plan and engage in a conversation with the employee, and reflect on the experience by answering the questions on the Workplace Conversation activity sheet. 4. Let the directors know that they should bring their completed Workplace Conversation activity sheet with them to the next session for discussion. 5. IN ADDITION ask the directors to go to the website listed below and print pages i 28 of the Executive Summary: State of Preschool Yearbook to be used in the next session. WEBSITE: The modules presented here were funded in part by the Office of Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education as part of the Virtual School Readiness Incubator Project. The content of these modules does not necessarily reflect the views or policies or imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education and/or the University of North Florida. These prototype materials are still in development and refinement and should be used with this caution in mind. 16

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