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High-Impact Leadership: Train Managers to Effectively Resolve Conflicts

Use constructive conflict resolution to positively impact your organization.

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Primary interviews were conducted with:

  • Jim Dybevik, Director of Human Resources, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi
  • Naila Qazi, Director of Training, Hamilton Health Sciences Centre
  • Lisa Harlow, VP, Human Resources, CoastHills Federal Credit Union

One additional Human Resources and Leadership Professional contributed information to assist with the development of this blueprint. Due to the sensitivity of the information, this contributor requested confidentiality.

Your Challenge

  • Managers have reported spending 18% to 26% of their time dealing with conflicts, depending on the level of their organization.
  • This is a huge investment of time. The ability to surface interpersonal and team conflicts quickly and settle them effectively is necessary to improve efficiency and productivity levels.
  • When conflict is handled inappropriately, it impacts the organizational culture. It can interfere with positive work relationships, create stress, and polarize teams. It leads to increased absenteeism and turnover rates.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  1. Conflict does not have to be negative. The presence of conflict in an organization can actually be a very positive thing – the ability to freely express opinions and openly debate can lead to better, more strategic decisions being made.
  2. Selecting the appropriate approach to managing the conflict is key to achieve a constructive resolution. There are five approaches to conflict, each are appropriate for specific situations. Using the correct approach at the correct time is fundamental to successful resolution.

Impact and Result

  • Training on conflict resolution will enable managers to gain the skills they need to engage in conflict constructively and reach a resolution that benefits the team or organization.
  • Over half of employees that feel backstabbed are more likely to have low levels of productivity. When conflict is approached and resolved in a constructive manner, it can improve efficiency and productivity.
  • Framing conflicts as collaborations to find the best solution for the organization as a whole can help generate a number of possible solutions and enables organizations to be more strategic in selecting the best possible outcome.

Research & Tools

1. Gain information on running a manager training session on conflict resolution

Get buy-in for the training from key stakeholders and ensure that the training runs smoothly.

2. Calculate a cost-benefit analysis for the training session

Understand the hard costs and benefits of running the leadership development program.

3. Gain awareness of your approach to conflict, both before and after training.

Identify areas to work on and if improvement occurred.

4. Train managers on conflict resolution

Provide managers with skills and best practices for constructive conflict resolution.

5. Create individual development plans for training participants

Ensure that the training improves on the job behaviors and actions.

6. Provide participants with takeaway materials from the training session

Give managers resources to refer to when dealing with future conflict situations.

7. Evaluate the outcome of the conflict resolution training

Determine if the training was successful and had positive impact on managers’ behaviors.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a three call advisory process.

Call #1 - Make the case for conflict resolution training

Get off to a productive start: discuss how to gain stakeholder buy-in for leadership training, the costs and benefits of internal vs. external training, and metrics to judge training success. Review the High Impact Leadership Training Program ROI Analysis Tool.

Call #2 - Prepare for conflict resolution training

Get ready for training: discuss module selection, logistics, and content customization. Review the 360° tool, self assessment, and the Conflict Resolution training deck.

Call #3 - Evaluate training effectiveness

Training assessment: review training session results, as well as any suggested training modifications.

Onsite Workshop

Discuss This Workshop

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Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Why train on conflict resolution?

The Purpose

  • Level-set what is meant by conflict resolution.
  • Understand the value of resulting conflict constructively. 

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Understand the positive and negative impacts of conflict.
  • Use McLean & Company’s Conflict Resolution Framework to effectively deal with conflict. 




Discus the positive and negative effects of conflict.

  • Understand that conflict can have a constructive outcome.

Module 2: Determine your conflict resolution approach

The Purpose

  • Gain an awareness of common causes of conflict situations.
  • Determine your typical approach to conflict.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Understanding the cause of conflict can help you take the correct approach to resolving it.
  • First, you must understand your conflict style in order to improve your ability to constructively resolve conflicts. 




Discussion the common causes of conflict.

  • Take the right steps to reach a resolution.

Perform a self-assessment of your conflict style.

  • Understand the typical approach you use when in a conflict.

Review your 360 degree feedback on the conflict resolution competency.

  • Identify alignment with your self-assessment, strengths, and blind spots.

Module 3: Engage in conflict constructively

The Purpose

  • Gain tactics for resolving conflicts in a constructive manner.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Skills for successfully managing conflict situations.




Role play a conflict scenario.

  • Practice resolving conflicts constructively.

Module 4: Appropriately use the five conflict approaches

The Purpose

  • Understand when it is appropriate to use each of the approaches to handling conflict.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Managers are able to apply the appropriate approach for the conflict situation they are faced with.




Discuss the situations when each of the five approaches to conflict are most appropriate.

  • A framework for applying the correct approach to each situation.

Role play a conflict scenario.

Module 5: Lead your team through conflict

The Purpose

  • Apply conflict resolution best practices to team conflict.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Improve team dynamics and success by constructively handling team conflict.




Discuss overcoming team conflict.

  • A Team Charter with rules of engagement for conflict situations.

Module 6: Next Steps and training wrap-up

The Purpose

  • Use conflict resolution best practices in the future.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Constructively managing conflict situations delivers a positive result for all parties involved.




Document behavioral changes and future goals for handling conflict constructively.

  • Individual development plans for the competency of conflict resolution.

Search Code: 75177
Published: June 23, 2014
Last Revised: June 23, 2014