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Conflict Management Skills 
Principals / Vice-Principals 
November 2014 
T. D’Amico
Our Schools are 
Happy places... 
Conflict Management
You may find that staff are not happy ... 
all the time!
Conflict is part of being human...
Share examples of conflicts between adults in a school...
Your Answers
Adult Interactions in schools
The Happy staff member...
“I live under a black cloud” staff member...
Mental and Physical 
Reactions to Conflict
How do most people deal with conflict? 
Avoidance 
Panic Button
Dealing with adult conflict is hard work! 
You’re not a teacher anymore.... 
Principal / VP
Conflict Quotes 
“There are some people who always seem angry and continuously look for conflict. Walk away from these peo...
The P/VP can’t hide when conflict occurs
Discuss: “Is Conflict always a bad thing?”
Your Answers
Some Benefits of Conflict 
Innovative strategies 
New knowledge 
Different perspectives
How is this related to conflict?
“Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences thro...
The goal in a school is not to avoid all conflict but to keep it constructive
When to get involved?
Don’t sweat the small stuff!
Is the school work environment being disrupted? 
Will there be a negative impact on students? 
Will this issue likely work...
Conflict Quotes 
“The aim of argument and of discussion, should not be victory, but progress” 
- Joseph Joubert
Principals / VPs – make quick decisions 
Resolving Conflicts
You can’t always de-escalate someone who has “lost it”
Will logic work when the other person is emotional? 
Role Play Activity 
1. 
Mentor / Mentee 
2. 
One person is P/VP 
3. 
...
Role Play – Pick either scenario 
• 
Elementary 
• 
Secondary 
According to parent... 
Kindergarten child came home and to...
Find alternatives to these... 
• 
“You need to calm down” 
• 
“I heard what you said, BUT, that’s not what happened” 
• 
“...
Careful with what you say... It’s not safe to play with fire!
Emotions first - then problem solve 
• 
Avoid triggers that “add fuel to the fire” 
• 
Acknowledge the emotions 
• 
Don’t ...
Conflict Quotes 
“10% of conflicts are due to difference in opinion. 90% are due to wrong tone of voice” 
- author unknown
Manage your Emotions 
• 
Understand the other person’s story / perspective 
• 
Puzzle solving mode before Problem solving ...
Discuss: “What are some causes of conflict?”
Your Answers
8 Cause of Conflict 
• 
Conflicting Needs 
• 
Conflicting Styles 
• 
Conflicting Perceptions 
• 
Conflicting Goals 
• 
Con...
Role Play 
• 
Staff Conflict 
According to an EA or ECE... 
The classroom teacher treats her with no respect, always bossi...
What do you think is the cause? 
• 
Conflicting Needs 
• 
Conflicting Styles 
• 
Conflicting Perceptions 
• 
Conflicting G...
Do you talk more or listen more when trying to resolve conflict?
Conflict with your supervisor 
VP in conflict with Principal 
Confronting Authority
Lessons from Crucial confrontations 
See Pg. 232-233 
“People tend to err on the side of caution: Better to live with your...
Lessons from Crucial confrontations 
“If you want greater influence with a powerful and defensive person, what you typical...
Role Play 
• 
Conflict with your supervisor 
You are feeling overwhelmed, underappreciated, and challenged by the number o...
Handling an angry parent call 
Hang Up?
• 
Allow the person to vent 
• 
Take notes 
• 
Summarize key points – active listening 
• 
Show empathy and share common g...
• 
Practice will improve active listening 
• 
“...the space between thoughts as the place where insight can make itself kn...
Handling Email complaints 
Angry.Bird@hotmail.com
Look familiar?
Handling Email “Conflict” 
• 
Acknowledge receipt and provide timeline for response 
• 
Summarize key points 
• 
Do not re...
If you suspend my kid, you’ll regret it!
Conflict Quotes 
“Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damag...
Resolving Conflict 
In your school
Understand the type of conflict 
Listen to understand both perspectives Determine the needs of each person... 
• 
Work or ...
Steps to managing conflict 
If mediating staff in conflict: 
–Think about Power imbalances 
–Consider meeting alone vs tog...
Steps to conflict management 
Step 1: Agree on Ground Rules 
• 
No interrupting 
• 
No personal attacks 
• 
No swearing (d...
Steps to managing conflict 
If mediating staff in conflict: 
1. 
Set ground rules 
– 
Agree on confidentiality and stay ne...
Steps to managing conflict 
If mediating staff in conflict: 
4. 
Brainstorm multiple solutions to the issues 
5.Agree on s...
Conflict Quotes 
“You’ve got to know when to hold’em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” 
-...
Helping others manage Conflict 
Foundation Advice 
• 
Setting the tone and purpose of the conversation 
• 
Getting to the ...
Confront the issue not the person 
Keep the Dignity of the Person in mind
You can be Professional without being Friends 
Avoidance may help with value based differences
Compromise 
Look for win – win solutions
Collaborate 
See each other’s side in a conflict to come to an agreement on how to proceed
Conflict Quotes 
“Conflict cannot survive without your participation” 
- Wayne Dyer
Mediation 
Skill development 
Help the parties come to a solution 
Identify Issues Determine interests 
Storytelling 
Brai...
Keep Learning 
• 
Instructional practice will be impacted by an “unhealthy workplace” 
• 
Leadership courses 
• 
Conflict ...
Conflict Quotes 
“An apology is the superglue of life. It can repair just about anything.” - Lynn Johnston
Questions
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Conflict Management Skills for Principals and Vice-Principals

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Conflict management skills for Principals and Vice-Principals. This presentation looks at mediation and conflict management skills for Principals and Vice-Principals. Adult conflict in a school environment can be viewed as an opportunity for positive school improvement.

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Conflict Management Skills for Principals and Vice-Principals

  1. 1. Conflict Management Skills Principals / Vice-Principals November 2014 T. D’Amico
  2. 2. Our Schools are Happy places... Conflict Management
  3. 3. You may find that staff are not happy ... all the time!
  4. 4. Conflict is part of being human...
  5. 5. Share examples of conflicts between adults in a school...
  6. 6. Your Answers
  7. 7. Adult Interactions in schools
  8. 8. The Happy staff member...
  9. 9. “I live under a black cloud” staff member...
  10. 10. Mental and Physical Reactions to Conflict
  11. 11. How do most people deal with conflict? Avoidance Panic Button
  12. 12. Dealing with adult conflict is hard work! You’re not a teacher anymore.... Principal / VP
  13. 13. Conflict Quotes “There are some people who always seem angry and continuously look for conflict. Walk away from these people. The battle they’re fighting isn’t with you, it’s with themselves”. - Rashida Rowe
  14. 14. The P/VP can’t hide when conflict occurs
  15. 15. Discuss: “Is Conflict always a bad thing?”
  16. 16. Your Answers
  17. 17. Some Benefits of Conflict Innovative strategies New knowledge Different perspectives
  18. 18. How is this related to conflict?
  19. 19. “Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.” Dalai Lama XIV
  20. 20. The goal in a school is not to avoid all conflict but to keep it constructive
  21. 21. When to get involved?
  22. 22. Don’t sweat the small stuff!
  23. 23. Is the school work environment being disrupted? Will there be a negative impact on students? Will this issue likely work itself out? Is there a potential threat of violence?
  24. 24. Conflict Quotes “The aim of argument and of discussion, should not be victory, but progress” - Joseph Joubert
  25. 25. Principals / VPs – make quick decisions Resolving Conflicts
  26. 26. You can’t always de-escalate someone who has “lost it”
  27. 27. Will logic work when the other person is emotional? Role Play Activity 1. Mentor / Mentee 2. One person is P/VP 3. Other person is “Emotional” Parent 4. One person is Observer
  28. 28. Role Play – Pick either scenario • Elementary • Secondary According to parent... Kindergarten child came home and told parent that the teacher hit him when he ran out of the line coming in from recess. “I want the teacher removed today!” According to parent... Son was suspended 3 days for defending himself when another boy jumped him for no reason outside at lunch – he will now miss the football championship game – “I want him to play”
  29. 29. Find alternatives to these... • “You need to calm down” • “I heard what you said, BUT, that’s not what happened” • “You’re yelling, and I deserve to be treated with respect – this meeting is over”
  30. 30. Careful with what you say... It’s not safe to play with fire!
  31. 31. Emotions first - then problem solve • Avoid triggers that “add fuel to the fire” • Acknowledge the emotions • Don’t get pulled into a fight • Clarify your role • Focus on the problem • Use time to your advantage • Active Listening – change “but” to “and”
  32. 32. Conflict Quotes “10% of conflicts are due to difference in opinion. 90% are due to wrong tone of voice” - author unknown
  33. 33. Manage your Emotions • Understand the other person’s story / perspective • Puzzle solving mode before Problem solving • Show empathy to show active listening • Help others to solve their problem • Don’t jump to a solution right away – listen! • If you are involved, look for collaborative solutions
  34. 34. Discuss: “What are some causes of conflict?”
  35. 35. Your Answers
  36. 36. 8 Cause of Conflict • Conflicting Needs • Conflicting Styles • Conflicting Perceptions • Conflicting Goals • Conflicting Pressures • Conflicting Roles • Conflicting Values • Conflicting Power or Policies From: www.centerforworklife.com
  37. 37. Role Play • Staff Conflict According to an EA or ECE... The classroom teacher treats her with no respect, always bossing her around and making her feel like her opinion doesn’t count. The EA/ECE also mentions that she is concerned for the welfare of the students since the teacher is always yelling at them and making them feel bad.
  38. 38. What do you think is the cause? • Conflicting Needs • Conflicting Styles • Conflicting Perceptions • Conflicting Goals • Conflicting Pressures • Conflicting Roles • Conflicting Values • Conflicting Power or Policies
  39. 39. Do you talk more or listen more when trying to resolve conflict?
  40. 40. Conflict with your supervisor VP in conflict with Principal Confronting Authority
  41. 41. Lessons from Crucial confrontations See Pg. 232-233 “People tend to err on the side of caution: Better to live with your existing circumstances than try to take corrective action, fail, and end up losing twice.” 4 options: 1. Carp 2. Confront 3. Cope 4. Cut out
  42. 42. Lessons from Crucial confrontations “If you want greater influence with a powerful and defensive person, what you typically need is not more power but more empathy... consider how the problem is affecting the other person as well as how it’s affecting you...” See Pg. 233
  43. 43. Role Play • Conflict with your supervisor You are feeling overwhelmed, underappreciated, and challenged by the number of emails that your supervisor sends you each day and night and on the weekends. You are afraid of how he/she will react if you say anything. Task: Confront your supervisor in a positive way – show empathy to understand how the issue must be impacting them, and then enter into a collaborate problem solving discussion.
  44. 44. Handling an angry parent call Hang Up?
  45. 45. • Allow the person to vent • Take notes • Summarize key points – active listening • Show empathy and share common goals • If abusive / harassing – direct to supervisor • Avoid hanging up on the caller • Plan an exit strategy Establish a process to deal with Conflicts over the phone
  46. 46. • Practice will improve active listening • “...the space between thoughts as the place where insight can make itself known” • “Never mistake talking for conversation” • Don’t listen with the goal to respond, listen with the goal to understand Challenging phone calls - an opportunity to practice! See Pg. 219
  47. 47. Handling Email complaints Angry.Bird@hotmail.com
  48. 48. Look familiar?
  49. 49. Handling Email “Conflict” • Acknowledge receipt and provide timeline for response • Summarize key points • Do not respond via email – call or setup a face to face meeting • Get background information • Use conflict management strategies
  50. 50. If you suspend my kid, you’ll regret it!
  51. 51. Conflict Quotes “Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude” - William James
  52. 52. Resolving Conflict In your school
  53. 53. Understand the type of conflict Listen to understand both perspectives Determine the needs of each person... • Work or Job function needs • Process / structure change needs • Relationship needs
  54. 54. Steps to managing conflict If mediating staff in conflict: –Think about Power imbalances –Consider meeting alone vs together –Role of Union or Unions
  55. 55. Steps to conflict management Step 1: Agree on Ground Rules • No interrupting • No personal attacks • No swearing (depends on the parties) • Confidentiality of discussions
  56. 56. Steps to managing conflict If mediating staff in conflict: 1. Set ground rules – Agree on confidentiality and stay neutral 2.Give both a chance to tell their story –Active listening, take notes, paraphrase 3.List all of the issues/concerns
  57. 57. Steps to managing conflict If mediating staff in conflict: 4. Brainstorm multiple solutions to the issues 5.Agree on solutions (actions) and timelines –Solution comes from the staff in conflict –Remember to check-in at a later date
  58. 58. Conflict Quotes “You’ve got to know when to hold’em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” - Kenny Rogers
  59. 59. Helping others manage Conflict Foundation Advice • Setting the tone and purpose of the conversation • Getting to the point and naming it professionally • Giving specific examples • Describing the effect of this behaviour on the school or colleagues or students • Sharing your willingness to resolve the issue and have a dialogue and discussion See Pg. 64
  60. 60. Confront the issue not the person Keep the Dignity of the Person in mind
  61. 61. You can be Professional without being Friends Avoidance may help with value based differences
  62. 62. Compromise Look for win – win solutions
  63. 63. Collaborate See each other’s side in a conflict to come to an agreement on how to proceed
  64. 64. Conflict Quotes “Conflict cannot survive without your participation” - Wayne Dyer
  65. 65. Mediation Skill development Help the parties come to a solution Identify Issues Determine interests Storytelling Brainstorming
  66. 66. Keep Learning • Instructional practice will be impacted by an “unhealthy workplace” • Leadership courses • Conflict management courses • Coaching courses • Mediation workshops
  67. 67. Conflict Quotes “An apology is the superglue of life. It can repair just about anything.” - Lynn Johnston
  68. 68. Questions

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