About Conflict

About Conflict

Many people go to extremes to avoid any sign of disagreement or the appearance of conflict. It is tough for people to learn how to disagree without fighting. In conducting meetings, you hope that conflict will not occur, but if it does, don't be afraid to deal with it. A meeting which airs differences of opinions and exchanges of strongly held beliefs is a good meeting! You got to the heart of matters, and people spoke truthfully. Strong disagreement can generate emotions, but it can also engender deeper thoughts on the issues.

It is important, though, that the opinions and exchanges be controlled, and that's where you come in. Insist that participants stick to the agenda items and the content provided there and prevent personal remarks of any sort . If people bring hidden agendas or unresolved emotional issues to your meeting, contain the contribution of their "baggage" but encourage their thinking and responses to your meeting content.



Directions: Read the assigned material on dealing with disruptive behavior in meetings. Write the requested number of ways to deal with meeting troublemakers on this sheet. Make your suggestions as specific as possible. For example, don't just say "ask a question"; write the question itself. Using your own wording for the ideas helps make this important information your own. Use ideas from your topic.

  1. Hostile persons [overly disagreeable] ( 5 suggestions)

  2. Know-It-Alls (3 suggestions)

  3. Loudmouths [overly talkative] ( 5 suggestions)

  4. Whisperers [side conversations] ( 3 suggestions)

  5. Silents [quiet, shy] ( 3 suggestions)






Ask for their support in advance. "I realize you know a lot about this (if they really do). Will you serve as a reference if we need specifics?"

Chapter 7. Conducting Problem-Solving Meetings


Purpose of Problem-Solving Discussion

Problem-Solving Meeting Objective

Leader Role in Problem-Solving Discussion

Problem-Solving Meeting Example: Neighborhood Park at Risk

Problem-Solving Meeting Practice: Saving Adolescents


The purpose of a problem-solving meeting is TO FOSTER DISCUSSION of your topic. Most people are not trained for leading participative discussions. Asked to chair a meeting, managers may have no idea how to proceed. Most of the time people fall back on their own experiences, which can be good or bad, but at least it's a guideline, so the thinking goes. This section shows how to lead a discussion so that the meeting objective is achieved, participants have enough "air time" so that they feel their issues have been heard , and managers gather employee input to guide decision making. Meanwhile, remember this!



Most managerial work is conducted through meetings, since meetings function as information-processing systems. People discuss issues and make decisions which, in turn , form organizational policy. Thus, organizations very well may succeed or fail based on the strength of their meetings!

What is a "good" meeting? Issues are discussed, and decisions are made. The decisions are well- considered and require no rework . Plus, those who attend enjoy the process and feel good about their participation, even if their favored view isn't selected as the best choice (Tropman, 1996). This is the goal of meeting management ”having "good" meetings! Now, if a meeting consists of well-considered decisions in which people participate fully, how do we do the "well-considered" part? Through effective discussions!