From Friction to Function: Using Conflict for Learning and Growth

Course Code: 2324

While many studies confirm the value of diversity to organizations, diversity often means the presence of contrasting points of view which can lead to conflict. Conflicts are typically feared because we don’t know what to do with them. Yet, the longer we go without addressing rising conflict, the more stuck we become. This course teaches you how to skillfully harness contrasting points of view as a catalyst for learning and growth.

This course is about working with differences and conflict in the workplace and based on the Lewis method of Deep Democracy, a psychologically based facilitation methodology oriented towards an appreciation of differences and diversity. This course teaches the participant how to skillfully harness contrasting points of view and use them as a catalyst for learning and growth. This course utilizes a combination of instruction, reflection, small group dialogue, and both between-class and during-class practice exercises. 

Foundational elements of this course include systems thinking, complexity theory, process-oriented psychology, and different dialogic methodologies and practices. 

Performance Objectives: Upon completion of this course you should be able to: 

  • Understand clearly how conflict emerges
  • Create conditions where others are able to say what needs to be said before frustration builds and conflicts emerge
  • Prevent tensions smaller conflicts from escalating into larger conflicts that are more difficult to work with or that might require outside support
  • Once conflict does emerge, be more skillful at getting it out into the open and using it as a catalyst for learning and growth
  • Facilitate productive discussions in general
  • Avoid common pitfalls in group communication
  • Deal with a polarized issue one-on-one with a colleague or client
  • Facilitate decision making in a way that is more efficient than a vote or consensus building 

Competencies Covered: Leadership development, Personal skill development, Team building, Resolving workplace conflict, Facilitation, Psychological safety on teams 

Intended Audience: This course works for mixed cohorts of supervisors and middle managers and senior managers and top executives.  However, for the highest impact, it is best to have only supervisors and middle managers with other supervisors and middle managers, or only senior managers with other senior managers, etc.