Conflict Management in Trainings
„Conflicts develop where people are in contact. Because contact includes always the risk to exceed another person's limit. Conflict means crossing a border. However, conflict prevention might easily lead as well to contact prevention." A. Foitzik; p. 16
Althoug in a training participants and facilitators talk about common principles and rules for the communication among each other, it is normal, that conflicts pop up.
Conflicts include not only differences or disagreement. They consist additionally of actions that affect other persons negatively.
In conflict situations facilitators have the responsibility to identify conflicts and to react in an appropriate way.
- Method: What is a conflict?
 Reflecting Conflict Behavior
Christopher Moore distinguishes between five sources of conflicts, which might be a good model to introduce conflict management in your training
|Conflicts within a relationship|
Find a more detailed description here: Conflict sources
From concrete trainings we took these examples:
|Conflict sources in trainings|
 Strategies for Conflict Management
A very common strategy in such conflict situations is ignoring, or escaping. Both are in some situations handy and appropriate solutions. On the other hand, in other situations these stategies lead to an escalation and when a conflict escalates, solutions become more difficult, or the costs of conbflicts increase. Therefore in most cases, an early intervention through facilitators is important.
We distinguish between four ways of managing conflicts:
|Escape||One or both parties escape and stop the interaction.|
|Avoidance||One of the parties tries to avoid the conflictary situations.|
|Dominance||One party or a third party decides by setting a rule or making a decision.|
|Compromise||The conflict will be rationalized and solved in a form that all parties do not feel negatively affected anymore.|
- A more detailed description: Behavior in conflict situations
 Criteria for Solutions
Like above shown, there is nothing such like a best solution for all conflicts. We disagree with generalizing statements like: "the only way to solve conflicts is to talk about the problem." Because we know situations in which a very defensive or a dominant solution might be more appropriate. Furthermore, necessary for dealing with conflicts in a dialogue way is the double-sided interest, which is not always the case. On what ground we might decide about the appropriate conflict management strategy? These criteria might help us to decide about the right solution strategy:
|Sustainability||How sustainable might be the solution?|
|Prevention||Does it feasably prevent further, new conflicts?|
|Limitation||Might it hedge the conflict?|
|Efficiency|| Might the solution be effective in terms of balancing time effort,|
personal involvement and quality of the solution?
|Fairness||Might the outcome be fair?|
|Acceptance||To what extent might the involved people be satisfied with the result?|
 What you might do as a trainer
Examples for conflict management activities in a training:
|Deescalation of hot conflicts||Escalation of cold conflicts|
 A first step into a solution
Leading questions for starting a solution process could be:
|How did the conflict develop? What do you do in a conflictary situation?|
|Who is involved? What makes the other people act like they do?|
|What is the essential in this conflict? And what not?|
|What feelings do you have with this situation?|
|What would you like to know about the other person?|
|What do you appreciate in the other person?|
|What should be changed to bring the conflict more towards a solution?|
|Which expectations do you have regarding the other person?|
|Which alternatives do exist for you?|
|What prevents you to tell these to the other people? What do you need, that this becomes possible?|
- Bildungsziel: Bürger - Theodor-Heuss-Kolleg
- Andreas Foitzik: Konflikte in interkulturellen Gruppen - Theodor-Heuss-Kolleg