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Conflict Management & Leadership Course

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+ What is the Conflict Management & Leadership Course?

The Conflict Management & Leadership Course trains VMBS faculty and staff in workplace mediation. 182 VMBS administrators, faculty, and staff have completed the Conflict Management & Leadership Course. Workplace mediation is an informal, but structured process in which an independent third party, a mediator, helps people (students, faculty, staff, administration, parents, coworkers) in a disagreement or dispute to create a way to move forward. Mediation introduces a powerful new dynamic to any negotiation or dispute discussion. It enables people to restore and develop healthy working relationships.

Workplace mediation is:

  • future-focused—concerned with how things will be from now on rather than finding blame for how things have been in the past.
  • optional—any party can withdraw from the process at any time.

The goal of workplace mediation is for the people involved in a disagreement or dispute to negotiate their own, mutually agreed upon solutions to the issues between them.

+ How does the Conflict Management & Leadership Course work?

Diversity Training in SessionThis type of interactive training provides a unique opportunity to enhance and expand the conflict resolution skills that you currently possess. You'll improve your negotiation techniques, your methodologies for diffusing anger, and your strategies for acting as a neutral third party.

The program focuses on co-worker mediation of a college environment with an emphasis on management, student, and relationship disputes. Additionally, the program is designed to provide an understanding of mediation in theory and practice, as well as furnish the essential conflict resolution skills necessary to mediate in all professional fields. The course meets the training requirements for certification.

All participants receive a set of written materials including:

  • information on professional mediation organizations,
  • a variety of other mediation resources,
  • handouts, and
  • interactive exercises.

The course is taught by Dr. Nancy Watson, Professor of Practice in the VMBS Diversity & Inclusion Office. Guest speakers from across the Texas A&M campus participate in Q&A sessions with trainees and speak to their experience using mediation training principles in their work lives.

The course is a five day (40 hours) training program focusing on a participatory and experiential learning curriculum. Employees must commit to all 40 hours of training to participate in the program and earn their certification.

Each training cohort is kept small (about 12 to 20 trainees) and is held at off-campus locations.

+ What will I learn in the Conflict Management & Leadership Course?
  • What mediation is and how to get started
  • The model standards for mediators
  • Opening statements and how to prepare for a mediation
  • Negotiation techniques
  • Practical tips for mediation
  • How to listen as a mediator (active listening)
  • How to prepare a settlement agreement
  • Impasse techniques and how to prevent them
  • The drama triangle and how to avoid it
  • The different styles of mediation

Mediation not only provides a mechanism for early resolution of many problems, but it will also help increase productivity, save time and money, create a safer and more harmonious workplace, and promote improved day-to-day relationships. This is a wonderful opportunity for VMBS employees and we are one of the only schools at Texas A&M to offer such extensive training to our faculty, staff, and administrators.

+ Resources

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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+ Who should take the Conflict Management & Leadership Course (CM&LC)?

The VMBS Conflict Management & Leadership Course is great course for faculty, administrators, managers, technicians, and staff. Please communicate with your supervisor if you are interested in being nominated to participate.

+ What is conflict management mediation?

Mediation is a conflict intervention confidential process used to resolve/manage conflicts in an amicable manner. An impartial mediator directs the process and facilitates the communication between the parties in an effort to explore solutions and obtain a mutually satisfactory agreement. The mediator skill set includes managing strong emotions, moving from positions to interests and needs, finding common ground, active listening, conflict resolution, creativity, and using structured processes for conflict management.

+ What are the objectives of the course?

The course objectives include: (1) professional development for VMBS employees, (2) individual capacity building through increased self-awareness, communication, and leadership development, and (3) organizational capacity building through enhancing the daily conversations we have with one another.

+ What is the role of a conflict manager?

A conflict manager is a person who is willing to engage in difficult dialogues for the betterment of oneself, working relationships, and their work unit.

+ Why should I take the CM&LC ? What’s in it for me?

Leaders spend over 40% of their workday managing and resolving conflict. Conflict exists in all workplace settings, including institutions of higher education. Many individuals would be hard pressed to deny that they have encountered some level of conflict in their personal and/or professional lives. A commonly held assumption and image is that conflict is a negative force. In fact, many people work to ignore or avoid conflict. However, research has shown that conflict can lead to positive outcomes when it is assessed and managed well (Center for Change and Conflict Resolution, 2020). It is our hope that daily conversations in the College are productive, even when we have to engage in conflict. Conflict, when it occurs, if framed and managed well, can enhance understanding, foster creativity, increase workplace productivity, and improve working relationships.

+ In what kind of situations could I use my conflict management skills?

Conflict is ubiquitous. There is no shortage of opportunities to apply your conflict management skills — within the family, among friends, in the workplace, and in community mediation programs. The goal of the course is for you to be better equipped to effectively and efficiently address conflicts in a constructive way for the good of all.

Conflicts between neighbors, families, students, faculty, staff, merchants and consumers, landlords and tenants, employers, coworkers, employees and other disputes are appropriate for mediation.

+ What does conflict management have to do with diversity and inclusion?

Conflict management is about communication and conflict resolution. As our environment becomes more global and diverse, communication is more complex. Being able to communicate from a neutral, productive, and positive perspective is a critical skill set that will benefit everyone.

+ Can staff take the course?


+ I don’t like role-playing or public speaking. Is it true that the course has a lot of role-playing activities?

The conflict management and leadership course is completely interactive with both roleplaying and experiential learning activities. The tools of effective conflict management and dialogue can only be mastered through practice.