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Leadership Coach Gives Advice on How School Leaders Can Manage Conflicts

Elena Aguilar in a post for Edutopia has some advice for school leaders when it comes to the difficult task of managing conflicts.

Although there is nothing fun about addressing conflict, Aguilar says it’s a necessary part of being a leader- and it’s the leader’s job to get good at it.

“I want to make something clear,” Aguilar says. "It is your role to address unhealthy conflict in a team you lead or facilitate. Your primary role as a leader is to attend to your team member's dynamics with each other and to build a constructive team culture.”

Besides, conflict that helps teams develop new ideas, pursue deeper understanding, and focus on student needs can be incredibly important to create desired/needed change.

Aguilar offers a series of steps for how leaders can resolve conflicts and even turn them into positive results.

Define the Conflict

The first step to solving a conflict, of course, is to recognize a conflict exists.

" It helps if you name the conflict as a communication dynamic rather than blame conflict on individuals,” Aguilar recommends.

"Once you've identified the conflict in the team, then you'll need to name it with the group. Sometimes you may need to name it for them, and sometimes you'll see more investment from your team if you facilitate a discussion in which they identify the conflict.”

Determine When to Address Conflict

Is it imperative to settle the conflict now, or can it be a longer process?

"Most likely, you'll know if the situation is the latter; you'll have seen these team members engage in unhealthy conflict with each other before, or you'll be able to see the clearly interpersonal conflict between two people. “

“Anchor Team Members in Their Norms”

By relying on team members’ known strengths and weaknesses and personality traits, you can control the team dynamic this way.

"Hopefully, your team has some norms or community agreements for how members will behave with each other. Ideally, these help to prevent unhealthy conflict. When a norm is broken, you can remind the team of their norms and share the impact on the team when a norm isn't adhered to. “

Read the full post.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

3/23/2016

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