Centre for Continuing Education

Conflict Management and Mediation Skills Course

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Sorting out conflict is one of the most challenging responsibilities you’ll face as a people manager. Learn to meet that challenge with confidence, using simple mediation techniques. Minimise risk and maximise team productivity by assisting your people to sort out ‘personality differences’, disagreements and conflicts.

Eleanor Shakiba
Eleanor Shakiba is an expert in social and emotional intelligence. She has taught over 50,000 people to think and speak in ways which build success. She has been teaching at the Centre for Continuing Education for over ten years.

Eleanor’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Anthropology, Graduate Certificate in Applied Psychology, Graduate Diploma in Adult Education, Master Practitioner and Trainer certifications in accreditation to administer MBTI and DISC psychometric instruments and LEADR training in mediation. She writes and teaches in the areas of applied psychology, communication and conflict resolution.

Aims

Take your people management skills to a higher level, by learning simple mediation techniques. Decide when it’s appropriate for you to mediate and when you need additional help from a professional. Use a four-step process for addressing conflict between team members. Set a constructive tone for discussion, using positive framing techniques. Help team members discuss their needs and concerns successfully, by posing solution-focused questions. Use conflict-mapping techniques to facilitate problem-solving discussions. This course gives you practical tools for addressing team conflict in the early stages and preserving positive team dynamics.

Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, participants should be able to:

  1. Apply basic mediation techniques appropriately in a workplace context.
  2. Define mediation and the manager’s role in informal mediations.
  3. Plan and lead a simple mediation conversation, using a four-step process.
  4. Establish ground rules for the discussion and explain the mediation process to participants.
  5. Help team members isolate and address key issues in their conflict.
  6. Map the perspectives of each party, to build mutual understanding.
  7. Guide the process of developing mutually agreeable options and creating an action plan.

Content

This course covers the following topics:

What is mediation?

Mediation is a process for resolving conflicts or disputes. It aims to create solutions to problems and resolve workplace disagreements constructively. Discuss a range of ways team conflict can be addressed, and use a simple checklist to determine whether informal mediation will be a useful approach to take in your team’s situation.

Your role as mediator

A mediator’s role is to facilitate, not adjudicate. Discuss the difference between these two approaches and learn how to set the frame for a mediation session. Apply key principles of effective mediation in your workplace setting. Learn the dos and don’ts of your role as mediator.

Planning and structuring a mediation

Define the key stages of a mediation. Create a plan for your mediation. Prepare a suitable environment for the mediation session. Explain the mediation process to your team members and set boundaries and guidelines for the conversation.

Helping people focus on issues

Stage one of mediation is defining the core issue/s to be addressed. This isn’t always simple, as emotions may be running high at the start of the conversation. Learn how to facilitate a conversation in which your team members define the key issue in neutral language. Open the mediation on a positive note. Help participants separate the people from the problem – so they can address the issue logically rather than emotionally. Use fishbone diagrams to identify potential contributing factors.

Drawing out needs and concerns

Before people can generate options for resolving their differences, they need to fully understand each other’s needs and concerns. Discover how to frame and guide a conversation about these two key elements. Use neutral questions and reflective statements to facilitate an open exchange of perspectives, whilst maintaining a respectful and psychologically safe space. Create a ‘conflict map’ to guide the conversation and track the key needs and concerns as they emerge.

Facilitating the solution-building process

The aim of mediation is to build win-win solutions. Learn how to explain what win-win is to your staff. Use solution focused questions to guide the solution-building process. Create an option generator to deal with complex issues or use simple brainstorming techniques to keep the conversation outcome-focused.

Building an action plan and closing the mediation

The output of a successful mediation discussion is an action plan. Use nominal group technique to guide your team members through the process of selecting their best options and creating their action plan. Ensure that a follow-up meeting is scheduled to check on progress with implementing this plan. Use positive framing techniques to close the conversation on a high note.

Intended Audience

This course is suitable for managers, supervisors and team leaders, who have at least 3 years' experience in people management. It would also benefit business owners and entrepreneurs seeking to improve their influencing skills.

Prerequisites

As this course is suitable for people who are in management or senior supervisory roles, it is assumed participants already possess basic skills in active listening, questioning and leading workplace conversations, as well as experience managing people.

Delivery Style

You’ll learn through a variety of methods including:

  • Mini-lectures
  • Practical demonstrations
  • Role plays or simulations in which participants apply new skills
  • Group discussions and Q & A sessions
  • Detailed course notes
  • Custom-made video vignettes.

Materials

Course handouts will be provided in class.

Recommended Reading

Bannink, F. 2010, Handbook of solution-focused conflict-management, Hogrefe, . Ashland, Ohio.

Blake, S. 2018, Practical Approaches to Alternative Dispute Resolution, Oxford University Press.

Cornelius, H. & Shoshana, F. 1995, Everyone Can Win: How to Resolve Conflict, Simon & Schuster, East Roseville, NSW.

Dobson, M. S., Lundin W. L., & Lundin, K. 2008, Working with Difficult People.

Fisher, R. & Ury, W. 1997, Getting to Yes: Negotiating an Agreement Without Giving in, Arrow.

Furlong, G. T. 2005, The Conflict Resolution Toolbox: Models and Maps for Analyzing, Diagnosing and Resolving Conflict, John Wiley, Chichester.

Liley, R. C. 2010, Dealing with Difficult People: Handle Aggression; Manage Conflict; Motivate Poor Performers, Sunday Times Creating Success.

Mnookin, R. H. 2000, Beyond Winning: Negotiating to Create Value in Deals and Disputes, Harvard University Press.

Moore, C. W. 2014, The mediation process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.

Packard, C., Gates, E., & Stief, E. 2012, The Mediator’s Handbook, New Society.

Patton, B., Stone, D., & Heen, S. 2011, Difficult conversations: How to discuss what matters most, Portfolio/Penguin, London.

Polsky, L. & Gerschel, A. 2011, Perfect Phrases for Conflict Resolution: Hundreds of Ready-to-use Phrases for Encouraging a More Productive and Efficient Work Environment, McGraw-Hill, NY.

Ramsbotham, O. 2017, Contemporary Conflict Resolution, place of publication not identified, Polity Press.

Shakiba, E. 2016, Difficult People Made Easy: Practical Advice for Solving Your People Problems and Getting the Most Out of Your Workplace, New Holland.

Ury, W. 1992, Getting Past No: Negotiating with Difficult People, Random House, London.

Ury, W. 2007, The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes, Bantam Books, NY.

Ury, W. 2016, Getting to Yes with Yourself: How to Get What you Truly Want, HarperOne, An Imprint of HarperCollins, NY.

Whatling, T. 2012, Mediation Skills and Strategies: A Practical Guide, Jessica Kingsley.

Winslade, J., & Monk, G. 2008, Practicing Narrative Mediation: Loosening the Grip of Conflict, Jossey-Bass, San Fransisco.

Features

  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion
Conflict Management and Mediation Skills Course

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