Conscious Conflict Management at the 2017 Annual Conference

September 29, 2017
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Conscious Conflict Management for Peacebuilding
B. Ann Dinan, Ph.D.


Just the term conflict is unpleasant to most people and puts them into a fight or flight mode. However, it is widely recognized that some level of conflict is helpful to the change management process. So, where is the sweet spot of conflict? The speakers of this featured workshop maintain that learning about one’s own default mode of conflict and learning the default modes that others employ to avoid negative, unproductive conflictual situations is essential to finding balance in conflict.

Conscious Conflict Management for Peacebuilding is a workshop based on the work of Dr. John Gottman of the University of Washington, who studied communication and conflict styles among couples for over thirty years. Based on his research, Gottman has accurately predicted divorce 96% of the time by watching couples in conflictual interactions and noting which of the 4 default modes of conflict (criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling) the participants resorted to.

This research on conscious conflict management not only applies to interpersonal conflicts, but has implications for organizational and peacebuilding settings, as well. Increasingly, it is apparent that an individual’s “default mode of conflict” applies in settings beyond those of intimate, personal relationships. These default modes may present themselves when working with a team, a family, or any party that might be engaged in conflict. Most people have, and do, exhibit all four modes of conflict, but in the work setting, it is common to default to one over the other.

The goal of this workshop is for participants to understand their own default mode of conflict and, as a result, understand what triggers them, what helps them to diffuse conflictual situations, and how to respond rather than react to a conflict. Responding, rather than reacting, is key to a successful and peaceful interaction. Further, understanding all four default modes of conflict allows an individual to identify the conflict mode embodied by others, subsequently allowing for a better understanding of the conflictual triggers and how to diffuse a situation efficiently and successfully.

Wouldn’t it be ideal to recognize the thoughts and attitudes associated with your own mode of conflict BEFORE you are triggered so you don’t need to go through the diffusion process? Wouldn’t it be helpful to do the same with others? In this workshop, participants will identify the corresponding thoughts and attitudes associated with particular default modes of conflict to advocate for the diffusion of conflict before it begins!

Workshop Objectives:

– Learn the “Four Horsemen” default modes of conflict with respect to selves and others
– Identify triggers regarding one’s own default mode of conflict and the other 3 modes
– Identify what best diffuses you when you are in your default mode
– Learn what diffuses others in their default modes
– Learn how to prevent your default mode from being engaged and how to prevent a conflict management situation

Join the Alliance for Peacebuilding for this engaging workshop on conscious conflict management, featuring Ann Dinan, Founder and President of the Deeper Leadership Institute.

2017 Annual Conference
Workshop: Conscious Conflict Management
Friday, October 13
3:15 – 5:15 PM
FHI 360 Conference Center
1825 Connecticut Ave NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20009