Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 7th 2014 Contents DECEMBER 7 • 2014 www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | SBG15
We cannot choose to
wake up one
morning and live in
a world that is
where no conflict
exists. But, we can choose the way we react
to conflict when it arises.
In 2012, when I was studying a course
entitled, "Certified Leadership and Talent
Management" with the Workplace Coach
Institute, I was exposed to few assessments.
One I found particularly interesting was
conflict dynamic profile (CDP).
The CDP is an assessment instrument,
which was developed by The Centre for
Conflict Dynamics at Eckerd College. It is
based on the Dynamic Conflict Model (See
Figure 1) and is used as a tool by managers
and employees to help prevent harmful con-
flict in the workplace.
The CDP has a total of 99 questions: 66
deals are based on behaviour; 36 on hot
Hot buttons are really situations or people
who irritate you enough to make you react
negatively. The questionnaire is easy to use
and it takes between 20 to 25 minutes to
This assessment can be used for employ-
ees at all levels and is applicable for small,
medium and large organisations within any
industry. Companies that recognise that
managing conflicts in the workplace will
Effective conflict management:
1. Reduce costs: by making better business
decisions, and implementing initiatives more
effectively which will achieve better return
2. Increase productivity: when conflict is
at a minimal in the workplace, there will
be a reduction in absenteeism and "pre-
senteeism". Decision making will be
improved, and it will foster an environment
of creative innovation.
3. Retain your top performers: supervisory
and peer relationships will be strengthen,
teams will be more engaged and open com-
municating will give your people the power
to make a positive difference.
4. Manage risk: violence, sabotage and
vandalism can be prevented; reduce legal
risks and increase the perception of your
organisation s brand.
Managers and executives must embrace
conflict management as part of developing
and training their employees. This will
empower their staff so they become aware
they can choose to respond to conflict either
constructively or destructively.
Roger Fisher and William Ury, in the best-
selling book "Getting To Yes", state that we
must "separate the people from the prob-
lem". Once we can do this we can de-esca-
late rather than escalate the conflict.
The Centre for Conflict Dynamics defined
conflict as "any situation in which people
have apparently incompatible goals, interest,
principles or feelings".
Conflict is inevitable in the workplace,
as we work among people with different
goals, interests, principles and emotions.
Managers and employees, therefore, must
be aware of how they respond during a con-
flict. By taking the CDP assessment, they
will be given a report on their constructive
responses, destructive responses and, of
course, what their hot buttons are.
Conflict Dynamic Profile:
Constructive response profile
Seven ways of responding to conflict that
have the effect of reducing conflict:
1. Perspective taking: putting yourself in
the other person s position and trying to
understand that person s point of view.
2. Creating solutions: brainstorming with
the other person, asking questions, and try-
ing to create solutions to the problem.
3. Expressing emotions: talking honestly
with the other person and expressing your
thoughts and feelings.
4. Reaching out: reaching out to the other
person, making the first move, and trying
to make amends.
5. Reflective thinking: analysing the sit-
uation, weighing the pros and cons, and
thinking about the best response.
6. Delay responding: waiting things out,
letting matters settle down, or taking a
"time out" when emotions are running high.
7. Adapting: staying flexible, and trying
to make the best of the situation.
Destructive response profile
Eight ways of responding to conflict that
have the effect of escalating conflict:
1. Winning at all costs: arguing vigorously
for your own position and trying to win at
2. Displaying anger: expressing anger,
raising your voice, and using harsh, angry
3. Demeaning others: laughing at the
other person, ridiculing the other s ideas,
and using sarcasm.
4. Retaliating: obstructing the other per-
son, retaliating against the other, and trying
to get revenge.
5. Avoiding: avoiding or ignoring the other
person, and acting distant and aloof.
6. Yielding: giving in to the other person
in order to avoid further conflict.
7. Hiding emotions: concealing your true
emotions even though feeling upset.
8. Self-criticising: replaying the incident
over in your mind, and criticising yourself
for not handling it better.
Once our responses to conflict have been
established, it becomes easy to determine
the areas for development. A coach can then
work with the person to assist him/her in
completing their action plan, which will
guide the coaching sessions.
According to Cinnie Noble, social worker,
lawyer-mediator and coach, conflict coach-
ing is a unique niche which unites the fields
of coaching and dispute resolution. It is a
dynamic process that has many applications
and may be used as a substitute of or,
together with training, mediation and other
conflict management processes.
Nashroon Mohammed, BA (Hons), Dip
LC, CCC, CLTMC is a workplace coach
and mediator with the Mediation Board
of T&T and Member with International
Coach Federation (ICF) and board member
of HRMATT email@example.com
Pressing those hot buttons
Managers and executives must embrace conflict management as part of developing and
training their employees. This will empower their staff so they become aware that they can
choose to respond to conflict either constructively or destructively.
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