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Resolving Conflicts at Work: From Mediation to Coaching, Leadership, Change, and Conflict Resolution Systems Design

Faculty: Kenneth Cloke and Joan Goldsmith

Every workplace generates chronic conflicts, and mediators are increasingly being asked to exercise skills in workplace and organizational dynamics, provide conflict coaching, assist with organizational change, and analyze the structures, systems, relationships, processes, and "conflict cultures" that contribute to costly and intractable workplace conflicts. To do so, we need to be able to show how workplace conflicts are created, escalated, and reinforced; facilitate paradoxical problem solving, consensus building, and strategic planning sessions; develop leadership skills in responding to conflict; and design multi-layered, complex, self-correcting organizational systems that improve the capacity for conflict prevention, management, and resolution.  

This interactive session will provide practical frameworks for "conflict leadership," and for analyzing and mediating the emotional, interpersonal, and systemic sources of workplace and organizational conflict in public and private sector organizations, work teams, and small family businesses. It will assist participants in becoming workplace mediators and conflict coaches, developing and expanding their capacity to use facilitation, group dialogue, "conflict resolution systems design, management theory, and structural dynamics to resolve workplace conflicts. It will enable participants to identify preventative and transformational opportunities, and to discover how to use conflicts to develop personal growth, organization learning, strategic change, emotional healing, forgiveness, and transformation.

Participants will learn to:

  • Analyze the chronic, systemic sources of workplace and organizational conflicts
  • Identify workplace and organizational dynamics
  • Recognize the structures, systems, relationships, processes, and "conflict cultures" that contribute to workplace conflicts
  • Conduct "conflict audits"
  • Learn techniques to become more skillful in conflict coaching
  • Design multi-layered, complex, self-correcting organizational systems that improve the capacity for conflict prevention, management, and resolution  
  • Understand and develop the competencies as "conflict leaders"
  • Improve their ability to mediate workplace and organizational conflict in public and private sector organizations, work teams, and family businesses
  • Learn to redesign workplaces and organizations, and identify transformational opportunities in every conflict
  • Discover how to use conflicts as opportunities for personal growth, organization learning, strategic change, emotional healing, forgiveness, and transformation

Kenneth Cloke, JD, LLM, PhD, is director of the Center for Dispute Resolution in Santa Monica, California, and a mediator, arbitrator, coach, consultant, and trainer and has mediated hundreds of workplace and organizational disputes. He is the author of Mediating Dangerously: The Frontiers of Conflict Resolution; The Crossroads of Conflict: A Journey into the Heart of Conflict; and Conflict Revolution: Mediating Evil, War, Injustice, and Terrorism. He is also coauthor with Joan Goldsmith of Thank God It's Monday! 14 Values We Need to Humanize the Way We Work; Resolving Personal and Organizational Conflict: Stories of Transformation and Forgiveness; The End of Management and the Rise of Organizational Democracy; The Art of Waking People Up: Cultivating Awareness and Authenticity at Work; and Resolving Conflicts at Work: Ten Strategies for Everyone on the Job (3rd ed.).

Joan Goldsmith, MA, has been a coach, mediator, and organizational consultant with public and corporate sector organizations specializing in leadership development, organizational change, team building, strategic planning, and conflict resolution for the past 40 years. She was a faculty member at Harvard University, founder of Cambridge College, and is currently an adjunct professor in the master's degree program in conflict resolution at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. She coauthored a best-selling book on leadership, Learning to Lead: A Workbook on Becoming a Leader (4th ed.) with Warren Bennis, and is coauthor with Kenneth Cloke of Thank God It's Monday! 14 Values We Need to Humanize the Way We Work; Resolving Personal and Organizational Conflict: Stories of Transformation and Forgiveness; The End of Management and the Rise of Organizational Democracy; The Art of Waking People Up: Cultivating Awareness and Authenticity at Work; and Resolving Conflicts at Work: Ten Strategies for Everyone on the Job (3rd ed.).