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  • Meg Mateer

Make conflict your ally

Conflict is a taboo topic to discuss - so why not talk about it in a podcast? I’ve shared lessons learned as a project manager and facilitator and take a stance that conflict, when addressed, is powerful.


In this podcast I talk about the power of conflict with Myriam Hadnes from the workshops.work podcast!


Listen here:

Make conflict your ally in workshops - with Meg Mateer on Apple Podcasts



Summary of the Podcast:


EPISODE nine Make conflict your ally

with Megan Mateer.


The Nutshell


Conflict is an assumed difference of opinions, assumptions, values and needs. Healthy conflict is a catalyst for personal insights, organisational change, and team connection. And, unhealthy conflict arises when differences are not addressed or remain unresolved due to the denial of underlying feelings.


“Conflict is a catalyst for personal insights, organisational change, and team connection.”



Why workshops fail


There are three stages for resolving conflict:

(1) Raise self- awareness and facilitate self-reflection by providing time and space,

(2) share communication tools that help participants address their emotions,

(3) define actions/ behaviors to resolve.


Workshops fail if expectations and needs of participants are not aligned with the goal of a workshop. And, workshops work if you create a balance between flexibility and structure.


“Explosive conflict comes from a denial of our own feelings.”



The Tools:


Nugget 1


Safe space means that everything that is in the room is welcome. If there is something in the room that is not welcome (such as conflict or negative emotions) this becomes a threat to the safe space. Hence, we must welcome conflict and provide tools to resolve it.


Nugget 2


Especially in the context of creative work, conflict will arise because there is not one single truth. Hence, help the group to anticipate conflict and give them tools to deal with it.


Do it yourself


Try the Fishbowl for big groups: Put 4-6 chairs in the middle of the room and other participants sit or stand around that circle. The first volunteers sit in the inner circle and discuss a certain topic while one chair remains free. After a few minutes, a person from the outer circle joins the inner discussion and one would leave so that again, one chair is empty. Everyone can listen to the conversation and bring in points of view or new ideas whenever they feel comfortable without breaking the flow or creating noise.


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