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Week #1. Volunteer Personal Development Material and Tradition Elements for this Block.
Conflict Style Worksheets, Caritas Manual (see below) The Amazing Intelligence of Crows: Joshua Klein on, 1 Corinthians 12:12-30

Challenges and Conflict

Most Americans do not know what their strengths are. When you ask them, they look at you with a blank stare, or they respond in terms of subject knowledge, which is the wrong answer. Peter Drucker, Now, Discover Your Strengths Objectives.
This lesson plan is designed help participants develop an awareness of their own personal leadership and conflict styles. This self-education will allow them to develop a keener sense of how they complement others on their team and how as teachers and learners adaptability is key to wellbeing. Participants will: Learn their conflict style and response preferences. Articulate their personality and conflict styles. Consider how their strengths and styles match up and conflict with others.

Background for Facilitator.

This activity is designed to help year of service volunteers participate more fully in their roles with a team who shares a common vision. Now that volunteers have an awareness of their personal and placement mission statements, they need the skills of personal awareness to work effectively with others in their community and at their placements, really, in any area of their lives. Prepare yourself to facilitate by reviewing the guide and becoming comfortable with the facilitation process. If you are a pair of facilitators, discuss how you want to divide up the various components of the session. Facilitators are encouraged to take the quizzes paired with this activity in advance of the session. Background and preparation for Animal Conflict Styles Exercise

For this session, please plan to spend 70-90 minutes together. Materials You Will Need.
Caritas Manual Conflict Styles Worksheets and Quizzes Handouts Pencils and/or pens White board or newsprint or flip chart

A computer or projector to show video A Bible

Presentation of The Material. 11 min.

Take the first 10 minutes and show the group the video on the intelligence of crows. You can introduce the video by saying: Often when there is conflict it is easy to miss the strengths that we bring to our work. We are all endlessly adaptable when faced with a challenge. We can learn to improvise if we make careful observations and are open to trying new approaches to problem solving.

Gut Response. 3 min.

Give participants a chance to get initial responses to the video down on paper. Encourage them to include intellectual and emotional reactions, what their favorite bit/quote is, and anything in between.

Engagement of the Material: Group Activity. 40-50 min.

Part 1: Introductions and Context for the Exercise (2 min.) Introduce the activity. You can say: Conflict is a part of life. This is both something to consider and something that we have to embrace as people who work with people. By now you should be aware of the dispositions and personalities of the people that you work with. There are probably some whom you find working with more difficult than others. During this activity, we will focus on different types of conflict styles and how these conflicts provide roadblocks and opportunities for teams to adapt and work creatively towards common ends. Over the course of the next few minutes we are going to take time to not only consider how it is that we each respond to conflict, but also to consider how conflict effects how we work in teams. At the end of our time, we will also map out how we as a group handle conflict when it occurs and escalates. Part 2: Identify Your Style (10-15 min.) Ask people to read over the Animal Styles worksheet and to consider which animal type fits best with their personality and experience of conflict. You can say: All of us have a way of dealing with conflict. Weve learned these or adapted to them for different reasons. Give everyone the handouts or the animals, or have them share them in pairs to save paper! Point out that each of the animals have a corresponding conflict response characterization. There are no right or wrong styles, of course, just different styles that may be more or less effective in different situations. It is important for people doing work with conflict to know how they personally react to conflict in order to deal with conflicts in a healthy, constructive way when they arise. Review the animal styles and select the one or two conflict styles that most reflect you. Be honest and have fun with it!

Allow participants 3-5 minutes to complete the task. Afterwards, allow participants to pair up with one another and discuss which animals most describe them. Allow 3-5 minutes for pairing debriefing as well. Ask participants to discuss the following questions: What do you think is your most common response to conflict? How does this response change according to who your conflict is with (family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, housemates)? According to the situation (work, home, public venue)? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the response styles? Part 3: Identify Your Preference for Conflict (10 min.) At this stage, participants will be asked to reflect on their personal preference for dealing with conflict. You can say: Each of us has different ways that we respond to conflict. Our conflict style shapes the way we respond to different situations and the approach we take to difference scenarios. Take a few minutes and take the Conflict Quiz. This quiz will help us map how as individuals we each respond when conflict occurs and as it persists and escalates. Allow participants 7-10 minutes to complete task. Say: Take a moment now and really consider the description of the conflict style that describes you. Note the differences/similarities in your style as conflict escalates or persists. Does this seem right? Can you think of different scenarios where you have responded in this way? Discuss with those around you what you scored in calm and storm. Allow participants a few minutes to discuss among each other whether or not they think the quiz rightly identified them or if a different style is more appropriate. As they continue to discuss among themselves, take a couple of minutes to draw the following on the board. Part 4: Mapping Our Styles (7-10 min.) During this portion of the activity, the facilitator will map the way in which the participants each handle conflict differently. This map will demonstrate visibly how team chemistry is affected by conflict in the calm and in the storm. It will also give the participants a way of seeing how those with whom they share a common work may handle situations differently and be in need of a different kind of space or input/direction. On the board/newsprint draw the following:

Calm/Storm Take Charge I Leave |---------------------|--------------------------|-----------------------|------------------------|






Choose one color marker for calm and one marker for storm. Using the participants initials map out everyone in calm. Next, using a different color, map out everyone in storm. Once you have finished this, note where the team falls on the scale. Note the way in which different people on the team fall in different areas. As part of your debriefing consider and ask these questions: What do we see about how we as a group are when there seems to be little conflict? What can we see about the way in which our temperaments manifest in the calm? What should we note about how our community/workplace is affected by conflict and the escalation of feelings? Which people gathered here seem to have the hardest time communicating during conflict? How does this information help us to think about and work better towards our common mission?

The Tradition. 5 min.

Have the group read 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 out loud. Alternate the reading from person to person after one or more verses. Try to make sure that every person gets to read at least one verse, but feel free to let the reading circulate more than once. After you have finished reading, ask: How does this passage speak to the experience of conflict and challenge in our communal life? How does it suggest we understand our part in the work?

Synthesis. 3-5 min.

Allow participants to use journals to gather all the threads of this session together. You can say: Although conflict is ingredient to life and to work on teams and in groups, educating ourselves to our personal conflict style will allow us to find stability in our work. Such stability and selfknowledge also allows us the opportunity to experience a new sense of creativity and adaptability in our work. Like Joshua Klein, we may even have our experience of those with whom we are in apparent conflict radically altered. Indeed, as members of one body, we may even come to understand our own role more clearly. As weve just seen, and probably have all experienced, conflict is a powerful part of life. Yet, understanding how we as individuals are affected by conflict can make us better as a community. What is more, by becoming mindful of the ways in which conflict (or the escalation of feelings) affects us we can learn to be better listeners to one another. Take a couple of minutes to think and journal about how what youve learned about yourself and others might make you a better individual with others in times of conflict or calm. Also, think about how what you now know about others in our community sheds light on your past and present relationships with them.

Prayer. 1 min.
For the closing prayer, invite everyone to stand (as they are able) and to join hands with one another. Have some of the group face towards the middle part of the circle, and other parts facing the outer part of the circle. Then, as the facilitator, you can pray (or have someone in the group): God of calm and conflict, of unity and discord, remind us daily of your ongoing presence in the midst of life and work. When there is calm, speak challenge. When there is conflict, gift understanding. Above all, in your wisdom, unite us to your common work for justice in the world as your body in action.

Pillar Signature: Review Your Mission

Ask participants to take out their mission statement/goals from the August VPD session and reflect on how the content or materials from this months session informs or matches their mission statement. Encourage participants to question whether the content challenged, enriched, enhanced or conflicted what they perceived as their mission. What elements from this months session are most valuable for them? Let the mission statement be an organic, living document. See how it shifts (or does not shift) as time goes by during the year.

** additional resource materials/web links**

John Paul Lederach, The Little Book of Conflict Transformation George Orwell, Animal Farm The X-Y-Z Formula with examples adapted from A Stones Throw by Claudia Horwitz:

When you have an issue youd like to address with someone, you can use the following framework, substituting your own words for X, Y and Z. (This tool is effective, but both people need to be committed to the process on some level): When you do X I feel Y Because of Z And what I need from you is The listener has a chance to respond, but only to the request being made. He or she can respond in one of three ways: Yes, I can honor your request; no, I cannot honor your request; or maybe. In the case of no or maybe, its helpful if the listener explains his/her response. Here are some examples: 1. When you schedule meetings without telling me, I feel frustrated because it often means I cant attend, and I would like to be present. What I need from you is to write me a quick note or leave me a message when you schedule something I need to be a part of.

2. When you interrupt me, especially in front of other people, I feel angry, because it makes it seem like I have nothing important to say. What I need from you I simply to let me finish my sentence and not assume you know what I am going to say. 3. When you monopolize the conversation in this group, I feel disappointed, because I feel like we are missing out on a lot of other perspectives in the room. What I need from you is a sense of how much you have already contributed, and a commitment to talking less and encouraging other people to talk. 4. When you leave dishes in the sink, I feel frustrated and disrespected, because it makes me think you dont care about the state of our kitchen or my feelings. What I really need from you is for you to make more of an effort to clean up after yourself or for us to create a job chart, so that you have other responsibilities instead of washing dishes. The X-Y-Z formula may sound awkward the first time you use it, but stick with it because it really works. It gives people a framework to use so they can concentrate on what they need to say, without having to worry about the best way to say it. It also allows for basic information to be conveyed in a way that gives the listener specific and useful data. And, it allows for assertiveness, rather than passive or aggressive communication.


Instructions: Consider your personal response to situations where your wishes differ from those of another person. Statements A to J (Part One) deal with your initial or immediate response to a disagreement, while statements K to T (Part Two) deal with your response after the disagreement has become stronger. If you find it easier, you may choose one particular conflict setting to reflect on and use it as a background for all of the questions. Please Note: The reflection on your own conflict style is more important and more reliable than the numbers in the tally sheet. There are no right or wrong answers, nor is this instrument standardized. Some will agree with the results and others disagree. Whether you like the results or not, reflect on what your conflict styles are and discuss them with others. The inventory is merely a tool for self-reflection. Circle one number on the line below each statement.

When I first discover that differences exist: A. I make sure that all views are out in the open and treated with equal consideration, even if there seems to be substantial disagreement. Not at all Characteristic 1 2 3 4

Very Characteristic

B. I devote more attention to making sure others understand the logic and benefits of my position than I do to pleasing them. Not at all Characteristic 1 2 3 4 5

Very Characteristic

C. I make my needs known, but tone them down a bit and look for solutions somewhere in the middle. Not at all Characteristic 1 2 3 4 5 D. I pull back from discussion for a time to avoid tension. Not at all Characteristic 1 2 3 4 5

Very Characteristic

Very Characteristic

E. I devote more attention to the feelings of others than to my personal goals. Not at all Characteristic 1 2 3 4 5 6 Very Characteristic


I make sure my personal agenda doesnt get in the way of our relationship. Not at all Characteristic 1 2 3 4 5 6 Very Characteristic

G. I actively explain my ideas and just as actively take steps to understand others. Not at all Characteristic 1 2 3 4 5 6 Very Characteristic

H. I am more concerned with goals I believe to be important than with how others feel about things. Not at all Very Characteristic 1 2 3 4 5 6 Characteristic I. I decide the differences arent worth worrying about. Not at all Characteristic 1 2 3 4 5 6 Very Characteristic

If differences persist and feelings escalate: K. I enter more actively into discussion and hold out for ways to meet the needs of others as well as my own. Not at all Very Characteristic 1 2 3 4 5 6 Characteristic L. I put forth greater effort to make sure that the truth as I see it is recognized and less on pleasing others. Not at all Very Characteristic 1 2 3 4 5 6 Characteristic M. I try to be reasonable by not asking for my full preferences, but I make sure I get some of what I want. Not at all Very Characteristic 1 2 3 4 5 6 Characteristic N. I dont push for things to be done my way, and I pull back somewhat from the demands of others. Not at all Very Characteristic 1 2 3 4 5 6 Characteristic O. I set aside my own preferences and become more concerned with keeping the relationship comfortable. Not at all Very Characteristic 1 2 3 4 5 6 Characteristic

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I interact less with others and look for ways to find a safe distance. Not at all Characteristic 1 2 3 4 5 6 Very Characteristic

Q. I do what needs to be done and hope we can mend feelings later. Not at all Characteristic 1 2 3 4 5 6 Very Characteristic

R. I do what is necessary to soothe (or calm) the others feelings. Not at all Characteristic S. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Very Characteristic

I pay close attention to the desires of others but remain firm that they need to pay equal attention to my desires. Not at all Very Characteristic 1 2 3 4 5 6 Characteristic I press for moderation and compromise so we can make a decision and move on with things. Not at all Very Characteristic 1 2 3 4 5 6 Characteristic



Transfer the number from each item to the tally sheet. For example, on item A, if you selected number 6, write 6 on the line designated for A on the tally sheet. Then add the numbers. Sample: B 1 + H 4 = 5. This exercise gives you two sets of scores. Calm scores apply to your response when disagreement first arises. Storm scores apply to your response if things are not easily resolved and emotions get stronger. The score indicates your inclination to use each style. The higher your score in a given style, the more likely you are to use this style in responding to conflict.

Skills for the Peacebuilder - Communication and Conflict Handling 137

STYLES OF CONFLICT MANAGEMENT Collaborating/Cooperating A K +G +S = = Calm Storm

Assert your views while also inviting other views. Welcome differences; identify main concerns; generate options; search for a solution which meets as many concerns as possible; search for mutual agreement. Perspective on Conflict. Conflict is natural, neutral. So affirm differences, prize each persons uniqueness. Recognise tensions in relationships and contrasts in viewpoint. Work through conflicts of closeness. Compromising C M +J +T = = Calm Storm

Urge moderation; bargain; split the difference; find a little something for everyone; meet them halfway. Perspective on Conflict. Conflict is mutual difference best resolved by cooperation and compromise. If each comes halfway, progress can be made by the democratic process. Accommodating E O +F +R = = Calm Storm

Accept the others view; let the others view prevail; give in; support; acknowledge error; decide its no big deal or it doesnt matter. Perspective on Conflict. Conflict is usually disastrous, so yield. Sacrifice your own interests, ignore the issues, put relationships first, keep peace at any price. Avoiding D N +I +P = = Calm Storm

Delay or avoid response; withdraw; be inaccessible; divert attention. Perspective on Conflict. Conflict is hopeless; avoid it. Overlook differences, accept disagreement or get out. Forcing B L +H +Q = = Calm Storm

Control the outcome; discourage disagreement; insist on my view prevailing. Perspective on Conflict. Conflict is obvious; some people are right and some people are wrong. The central issue is who is right. Pressure and coercion are necessary.

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Using your scores from the previous page, list your score numbers and style names here in order of largest to smallest. The style which received the highest score in each of the columns, calm and storm, indicates a preferred or primary style of conflict management. If two or more styles have the same score, they are equally preferred. The second highest score indicates ones backup style if the number is relatively close to the highest score. A fairly even score across all of the styles indicates a flat profile. Persons with a flat profile tend to be able to choose easily among the various responses to conflict.

Response when issues / conflicts first arise

Response after the issues / conflicts have been unresolved and have grown in intensity.



(Source: Kraybill / MCS 1987)

Skills for the Peacebuilder - Communication and Conflict Handling 139


Accommodating. People who accommodate are unassertive and very cooperative. They neglect their own concerns to satisfy the concerns of others. They often give in during a conflict and acknowledge they made a mistake or decide it is no big deal. Accommodating is the opposite style of competing. People who accommodate may be selflessly generous or charitable, they may also obey another person when they would prefer not to, or yield to anothers point of view. Usually people who accommodate put relationships first, ignore the issues and try to keep peace at any price. Competing or Forcing. People who approach conflict in a competitive way assert themselves and do not cooperate as they pursue their own concerns at other peoples expense. To compete, people take a power orientation and use whatever power seems appropriate to win. This may include arguing, pulling rank, or instigating economic sanctions. Competing may mean standing up and defending a position believed to be correct, or simply trying to win. Forcing is another way of viewing competition. For people using a forcing style, usually the conflict is obvious, and some people are right and others are wrong. Avoiding. People who avoid conflict are generally unassertive and uncooperative. They do not immediately pursue their own concerns or that of the other person, but rather they avoid the conflict entirely or delay their response. To do so, they may diplomatically sidestep or postpone discussion until a better time, withdraw from the threatening situation or divert attention. They perceive conflict as hopeless and therefore something to be avoided. Differences are overlooked and they accept disagreement. Collaborating or Cooperating. Unlike avoiders, collaborators are both assertive and cooperative. They assert their own views while also listening to other views and welcome differences. They attempt to work with others to find solutions that fully satisfy the concerns of both parties. This approach involves identifying the concerns that underlie the conflict by exploring the disagreement from both sides of the conflict, learning from each others insights, and creatively coming up with solutions that address the concerns of both. People using this style often recognize there are tensions in relationships and contrasting viewpoints but want to work through conflicts. Compromising. Compromisers are moderately assertive and moderately cooperative. They try to find fast, mutually acceptable solutions to conflicts that partially satisfy both parties. Compromisers give up less than accommodators, but more than competitors. They explore issues more than avoiders, but less than collaborators. Their solutions often involve splitting the difference or exchanging concessions. Conflict is mutual difference best resolved by cooperation and compromise.

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Pagina. 141

Handout 5.5


High Concern
Competing/Forcing Collabo rati n g/Cooperating

lo- w-------h 0/ -Concern

- ,y Relationships
High Concern


"' -



low Concern

Aceommoda ting

Adapted from Blake & Mouton, 1979

Skills for the Peacebuildler - Communication and Conflict Hand ling 141


1) Donkey or Elephant

Very stubborn, and refuses to change his or her point of view.

Blocks the way, and stubbornly prevents the group from continuing along the road they desire to go.

2) Lion

3) Rabbit

Gets in and fights whenever others disagree with his or her plans, or interferes with his or her desires.

Runs away as soon as he or she senses tension, conflict, or any unpleasant job. This may mean switching quickly to another topic (flight behavior).

(Source: Content adapted from Hope and Timmel II, 1995)

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4) Ostrich

5) Turtle

Buries his or her head in the sand and refuses to face reality or admit there is any problem at all. 6) Chameleon

Withdraws from the group, refusing to give ideas or opinions.

7) Owl

Changes color according to the people he or she is with. Will say one thing to this group and something else to another. 8) Mouse

Looks very solemn and pretends to be very wise, always talking in long words and complicated sentences. 9) Monkey

Too timid to speak up on any subject.

Fools around, chatters, and prevents the group from concentrating on serious business.