During my brief spell with the conflict resolution learning system, I experienced very little success. When conflicts were actually found, the kids didn’t always want to talk to me. And when they did, it was usually only to make fun of my lowly 4th grade status or “Conflict Manager” badge.
In the end, I took a more casual approach, shifting my post to the swing set. The blurred, swinging frames of playground movement let me imagine everyone smiling, playing nicely, and helping each other up off the ground after an accidental shove.
Unlike my 9-year-old self, a good team manager keeps a watch out for team member conflicts, and when one is spotted, doesn’t turn a blind eye. Conflict can take many forms, and can happen between a staff member and the manager, between two or more team members, or between departments, sections or managers. But not all conflicts have to be destructive. When handled well, “ideas conflicts” can serve as a constructive learning system for everyone involved.
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