You will approach a current conflict situation that you face in your work (NOT a conflict that was addressed and resolved in the past). You may also choose a conflict outside of work if you like. Most importantly, choose a situation that is current, relevant and important to you.
Using the tools and techniques discussed in the text (Chapters 3-5) and covered in class, you will communicate with someone you have a current conflict with. You will identify your goal (for example, to get a certain action/outcome; to sway a decision; to influence a change in behavior; to be heard; etc), and you will decide what approach you want to take.
You will then communicate with that person (ideally face-to-face, but you can choose the most appropriate and available channel). Following your interaction, you will diagnose how it went and what you might have done differently to improve the chances of meeting your goal.
Your write-up should include the following:
A. Description of how you prepared for the interaction, including:
- What is the nature of the conflict? Provide a brief description of what is going on and a brief history.
- What is your goal (desired outcome) in communicating with this person regarding the conflict?
- Your approach: what techniques, from Chapters 3-5 and class, do you plan to use, and why? There are about forty techniques to choose from in Chapters 3-5! You should describe (and apply) at least two specific techniques from each of the chapters 3, 4 and 5, which equals a total of at least six specific techniques (Note: Ch 5 has some of the most powerful techniques for conflict). Note: the techniques in the textbook tend to be highlighted in Green and there are many of them to choose from. For example: “Withhold Judgment” (page 66), “Talk and Interrupt Less” (page 68), “Choose the Optimal Degree of Powerful Language” (page 85), “Demonstrate Interest in Others” (page 101), “Focus on Solving Problems, Not Controlling Others” (page 114), and “Agree with the Criticism” (page 119). The most important of all may be “Use Descriptive ‘I’ Language” (page 114). As you choose your six techniques, the approaches like Compromise and Collaboration, Accommodation do not count since they are overall approaches, not techniques, per se. It is important that you provide a concrete example or enough description (what you plan to say and why it might be helpful) for each technique so I can see that you understand the techniques. Note that general approaches like “Collaborate” or “Accommodate” don’t count towards the minimum six techniques as these are just general approaches, not specific techniques.
B. Description of the interaction:
- What happened? How did your interaction go? You do not need to provide every detail, but do provide highlights, including some specific examples of what you said, how the other side reacted (what did they say?), and how you reacted to something they said.
- What techniques did you end up using? Provide examples or enough description so I can see that you applied the techniques you listed above.
- What went well or most effectively? Why?
- What did not go as well as you would have liked? Why?
C. Description of the outcome of the interview:
- Discuss how you felt the interaction went. Did you achieve your goals? Why or why not?
- What strengths did you bring to the situation?
- Where were you most challenged?
- What might you do differently if you were to do it again?
Book name .Adler, R. B., Elmhorst, J. M., & Lucas, K. Communicating at Work: Strategies for Success in Business and the Professions, 11th Edition, McGraw-Hill, New York, 2012, ISBN 978-0-07-8036804.