Conflict in the workplace is natural, especially when your workforce is engaged, passionate about their work, and driven to improve results. While workplace conflict can also signal problems (more on that below), if the organization has a healthy corporate culture where conflict is the result of passionate people having competing priorities, it can actually be productive. In these cases, it’s not a matter of eliminating conflict, but of equipping your workforce with the skills they need to manage conflict in proactive and positive ways.
Training can help you do exactly that, but not all conflict resolution training is created or delivered effectively. If you are not seeing the results you expect from the program you have in place, it might be time to evaluate its effectiveness and even consider a new approach. It may be in the best interest of your organization and workforce to consider an experiential training program. Here’s why:
Experiential Learning and Conflict Resolution Training: A Powerful Combination
Experiential learning is a combination of immersive activities that mimic real-world challenges, and a facilitator-led debrief that connects the activity to life on the job. Learners participate in a themed activity using their existing behaviors and skills, which can significantly impact their success or failure. The results they experience are then used in the debrief to highlight how those behaviors and skills may be positively or negatively impacting their experience with conflict on the job. Here at Eagle’s Flight, we frequently use our “40, 40, 20” formula when delivering experiential training no matter if it is program is delivered in the classroom or online. This translates to 40 percent of the time spent on teaching concepts, 40 percent on practice with that knowledge through an experiential activity, and then 20 percent on the post-course application of the learning to ensure a change in behaviors that produces the expected results. This combination allows participants to learn by doing and not by just listening, reading, or watching.
The Benefits of Experiential Conflict Resolution Training
When it comes to conflict at work, some people thrive on it while others live in fear of it. When it comes to conflict resolution training, you will have a unique mix of personalities and learners in the classroom, which means you need a methodology that works not only for teaching conflict resolution techniques, but one that also creates an environment that allows room to practice and test new knowledge with the support of a facilitator and peers. Luckily, experiential learning does all of that. There are additional benefits to this learning methodology:
- Relevant for a modern workforce
- Appeals to a variety of learning styles
- Allows people to learn by doing in person or online
- Can be used in conjunction with traditional training to bring theory or abstract concepts to life
- Creates a safe environment where learners do not have to fear failure
- Support from an experienced facilitator and colleagues
- Proven ROI
Conflict resolution training can be made significantly more impactful with the addition of experiential learning. Not only does it allow employees and leaders to learn new conflict resolution techniques, skills, and tools, but to learn how to use them by practicing in the safe environment of the virtual or in-person classroom. While training is key to successful conflict resolution, as alluded to above, corporate culture also plays a large part. If improving the effectiveness of your training is still not enough to solve a persistent conflict problem, then a culture transformation may be required. An initiative of this scale will allow your organization to get to the heart of the problems causing conflict, and solve them through additional training, leadership support, reinforcement, and communication. Together, this helps build a culture of respect among employees and leaders that will lead to better employee engagement, bottom line results, and more.