Conflict does not necessarily have to destroy professional relationships and community. In fact, when handled appropriately, conflict can actually deepen and strengthen connections. When we understand the nature of conflict and how to break negative feedback loops, we equip ourselves with the ability to resolve conflict in a relationship-honoring manor. We can be unified without being uniform.
Take Away: Diversity in any capacity—thought, background, values, age—likely will give rise to conflict. We can minimize conflict by decreasing diversity in our organization, or we can profit from diversity by learning to honor differences while developing mutual trust and respect.
Key Questions: What are the climate and behavioral practices in my organization? Has conflict eroded mutual trust and deteriorated our ability to come together productively?
- Understand the dynamics that give rise to conflict between individuals and among groups
- Identify the stages of escalation in conflict, and the helpful versus hurtful responses at each stage
- Understand the defense mechanisms that drive power struggles, shaming, blaming and other toxic behaviors
- Classroom teachers
- Special education assessment staff
- Behavior specialists