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Workshop 24: Conflict Negotiation & Mediation Lab

Welcome to our Organisational Excellence Workshop Series. This series seeks to provide a launch pad for building professional skills and organisational success. Each workshop provides a jumping-off point for a different theme, exploring innovative strategies and practical exercises to enhance work and team dynamics. See more in the series here:
The objective of this workshop is to develop and enhance participants' skills in mediating and negotiating resolutions in workplace conflicts through practical exercises and role-plays.
Full-Day Workshop (8 hours)
Materials Needed:
    • Conflict scenario scripts for role-plays.
    • Handouts or guides on effective communication and negotiation techniques.
    • Materials for drafting mediation plans (e.g. flip charts, markers).
    • Feedback forms.
Facilitator's Note:
    • Create a safe and supportive environment that encourages open dialogue and experimentation.
    • Be prepared to offer guidance and constructive feedback throughout the role-plays and exercises.
    • Encourage reflection and sharing of personal experiences to enrich learning.

1. Understanding Conflict Dynamics

An introduction to the fundamentals of workplace conflict, including common causes and dynamics.
Desired Outcome:
To provide participants with a foundational understanding of conflict in a workplace setting. This activity delves into understanding conflict dynamics, essential for effective conflict mediation and negotiation.
    1. Present key concepts and theories related to workplace conflict.
    2. Use case studies or examples to illustrate different types of conflicts.
    3. Encourage discussion and questions to deepen understanding.
Potential Challenges:
Overcoming preconceived notions about conflict. To help overcome this, focus on presenting conflict as a natural and manageable aspect of workplace dynamics.

2. Mediation Role-Play Scenarios

Engaging in role-plays that simulate workplace conflicts, with participants alternating between the roles of mediator and disputants.
Desired Outcome:
To practice and refine mediation skills in a controlled, realistic setting. This activity provides a platform for applying and enhancing practical mediation techniques.
    1. Provide participants with scripted conflict scenarios to role-play.
    2. Assign roles of mediator, disputant, and observer in each scenario.
    3. Facilitate a debrief after each role-play to discuss what worked, what didn’t, and alternative strategies.
Potential Challenges:
Participants feeling uncomfortable or unconvincing in their roles. To help overcome this, encourage a supportive atmosphere and stress the value of learning from each exercise.

3. Effective Communication Techniques

Training in communication skills essential for conflict resolution, such as active listening, empathy, and assertiveness.
Desired Outcome:
To enhance participants' communication skills in the context of conflict negotiation and mediation. This activity stresses effective communication as the foundation of successful conflict resolution.
    1. Introduce and explain effective communication techniques.
    2. Conduct exercises where participants practice these techniques in pairs or small groups.
    3. Discuss experiences and insights gained from the exercises.
Potential Challenges:
Difficulty in mastering communication skills like active listening or assertiveness. To help overcome this, provide clear guidelines and examples to facilitate learning.

4. Negotiation Skills Workshop

Developing negotiation skills through exercises and discussions.
Desired Outcome:
To build participants' ability to negotiate effectively in conflict situations. This activity focuses on negotiation as a vital skill for resolving conflicts and reaching agreements.
    1. Present the principles of effective negotiation, including strategies like win-win negotiation.
    2. Conduct negotiation exercises based on workplace scenarios.
    3. Debrief and discuss tactics and strategies used in the exercises.
Potential Challenges:
Balancing assertiveness with empathy. To help overcome this, guide participants to find a balance in their negotiation approach.

5. Developing a Mediation Plan

Crafting a step-by-step plan for mediating a hypothetical workplace conflict.
Desired Outcome:
To apply learned skills in creating a structured approach to mediation. This activity focuses on planning as an essential part of effective mediation, ensuring comprehensive conflict resolution.
    1. In groups, participants develop a mediation plan for a given conflict scenario.
    2. Plans should include stages such as initial assessment, setting ground rules, facilitating dialogue, and reaching agreement.
    3. Groups present their plans for feedback and discussion.
Potential Challenges:
Creating overly ambitious or impractical plans. To help overcome this, encourage realistic and achievable strategies.

6. Ethics in Mediation

Discussion and activities focused on ethical considerations in conflict mediation.
Desired Outcome:
To understand and apply ethical principles in conflict resolution and mediation. This activity emphasises ethical practices in mediation to maintain trust and integrity.
    1. Discuss ethical considerations in mediation, such as confidentiality, neutrality, and informed consent.
    2. Present scenarios where ethical dilemmas may arise and discuss how to handle them.
    3. Role-play to practice ethical decision-making in mediation.
Potential Challenges:
Navigating complex ethical scenarios. To help overcome this, provide guidance and frameworks for ethical decision-making.

7. Workshop Debrief & Feedback Session

Gathering participant feedback and summarising key workshop learnings.
Desired Outcome:
To reinforce key concepts and gather insights for continuous improvement. This activity helps to ensure understanding of the workshop content and provides insights for enhancing future workshops.
    1. Open discussion for participants to share their thoughts on the workshop.
    2. Summarise key concepts and learnings.
    3. Collect written feedback for future workshop enhancements.
Potential Challenges:
Limited participant engagement in providing feedback. To help overcome this, encourage honest and constructive feedback to improve future workshops.

Thank you for joining us in this edition of the 'Organisational Excellence Workshop Series'. We hope the insights and strategies from the Conflict Negotiation & Mediation Lab workshop have inspired you and provided a valuable tool to kick-start and customise your own workshop. Remember, each workshop in this series is a step towards enhancing and enriching your organisational culture. Stay tuned for our next edition, where we will explore another vital aspect of professional development, continuing our journey of learning and growth. Until then, we encourage you to implement what you've learned and share your experiences with your peers.
Trevor O'Sullivan

Trevor O'Sullivan

General Manager. Since the early 2000s, Trevor has worked with thousands of Talent Management professionals to develop and apply assessment-based talent management solutions for selecting, developing and managing people. Trevor is an active member of the TTI Success Insights (TTISI) Global Advisory Council, contributes to TTISI product development and is a regular presenter at TTISI-R3. He is honoured to have received multiple Blue Diamond Awards and, more recently, the Bill Brooks Impact Award recognising his contributions to the TTISI global network.

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