Centre for Continuing Education

Handling Conflicts and Problems Collaboratively

Business Communication. Sharpen your communication skills.

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.

Conflict and problems will emerge in every workplace at some point. But this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In this workshop you’ll learn a four step process for sorting out disagreements, handling conflict and solving problems collaboratively. Hear how to identify the issue which needs to resolved – without anyone taking the discussion personally. See how to ‘map’ the needs and concerns of all stakeholders when problems emerge, so that everyone’s perspective is taken into account when seeking solutions. Get hands on experience using the problem solving tools that expert negotiators use to reach consensus. Learn how to manage emotions – both your own and those of others – during negotiations.


You’ll come out of this session with practical tools for using collaborative problem solving to resolve disagreements and sort out issues. Discover why it’s important to take action as soon as you sense conflict is looming. Hear what experts in negotiation and conflict resolution know about building ‘win/win’ solutions. Learn how to:

  • use a four-step model to resolve issues and sort out problems
  • uncover – and address – the core issue in a complex conflict or problem
  • identify what each party needs and is concerned about in relation to that core issue
  • generate options which will meet as many needs as possible
  • close negotiations on a positive note – even when people have been upset or angry
  • handle the ‘emotional’ side of a tough conversation professionally and assertively.


What is conflict resolution?

Conflict resolution is a process which creates viable solutions to issues under dispute. It involves using consensus-building techniques to develop ‘win-win’ solutions. Find out what the win-win approach is and how it will help you sort out disputes, disagreements or interpersonal clashes more collaboratively. Explore the key mindsets and tools used to get great results when tackling conflict.

What is problem solving?

Problem solving is a process for identifying and choosing options for action. Discuss the key stages of effective problem solving. Hear tips for taking a collaborative approach to solution-finding, even when people have very different perspectives. Watch a video on how to prevent people taking things personally during team problem solving activities.

Four steps to success

Sorting out issues is easier when you have a process to follow. In this module, you’ll learn how to apply a four stop process to both conflict management and problem-solving. Step one is to pinpoint and focus on the precise issue which needs to be resolved. Step two involves asking others about their perspectives and then sharing your own viewpoint. Step three focuses on building ‘win-win’ solutions to problems. Finally, you need to recognise the effort everyone has made to sort out the issue – so you can close the conversation on a positive note.

Focussing on issues, not behaviours

Find out what it means to be ‘hard on the problem and soft on the people.’ Get tips on how to surface problems without sparking high emotions. Use neutral language to describe issues, so you can direct attention towards solution finding. Learn to prevent blaming and shaming behaviours flaring up.

Addressing needs and concerns

Conflict happens because people have different perspectives. Problems become hard to solve because they impact on our needs or beliefs. That’s why you need to learn how to explore needs, concerns and perspectives collaboratively. Master the skills of balancing ‘advocacy’ and ‘enquiry’ to create a problem-solving dialogue. Learn how to use neutral questioning, active listening and non-inflammatory language as you map out needs and concerns.

Talking through your options for action

To solve a problem or manage a disagreement, you need to think about your situation in new ways. Discover how to use an option generation matrix to spark new options and ideas. Hear why you need to think quantity not quality during the first stage of option-building. Get tips on how to stop arguments blocking the problem-solving process. See how to use nominal group technique to reach consensus on your action plan.

Dealing with difficult emotions and behaviours

If people didn’t have emotions, conflicts and problems would be easy to sort out. In reality, feelings often have a huge impact on how easy it is to resolve issues. Discuss ways to respond when emotions run high. Learn to use simple state management techniques in order to stay calm and help others calm down, too.

Strategy lab – finding solutions to your real life problems

Have your questions answered by an expert in applied psychology. This section of the course focuses on finding solutions to your real life problems – so you can get better results at work.

Intended audience

Suitable for managers, supervisors, team leaders and others wishing to enhance their conflict resolution skills. There are no prerequisites for this entry-level course.

Delivery style

This is a highly interactive course. You’ll learn through a variety of methods including:

  • mini lectures
  • video presentations
  • Q & A sessions
  • demonstrations by the trainer
  • practical group activities
  • individual planning activities.

You will get the most from this course if you are:

  • willing to contribute to group discussions
  • confident communicating verbally in English
  • comfortable participating in role play style activities.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Free, expert advice
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

Handling Conflicts and Problems Collaboratively

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