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The stress of current budget cuts, staff layoffs, and the current political and economic headlines can cause emotional conflicts in libraries—even among nice people. Whether it is the library user who walks in angry, the employee who turns every request into an argument, or the supervisor who doesn't appear to listen, day-to-day conflict seems to be increasing. Fortunately, there are proven tools to help get people back to work while treating each other well. Come to this workshop to learn how to:

  • Feel calm, interested and confident in a variety of difficult situations.
  • Analyze emotional situations rationally.
  • Unstick people from their unhappy pasts.
  • Say the right thing at the right time in order to defuse hostile feelings.
  • Coach staff and colleagues to do better problem solving.
  • Improve productivity and morale.
  • Know when and how you are the problem!

You will leave this course feeling more resourceful, prepared with specific techniques that you can implement immediately to manage and resolve existing conflicts with library users, staff and administrators.

Workshop Description: This one-day workshop uses written exercises, lecture, small and large group discussion, demonstration and practice, with opportunities for you to think, write and discuss your pressing workplace conflicts in a safe and good-humored environment. A reproducible handout with exercises and bibliography will help you spread the word back at your library or help you coach others to resolve their own workplace conflicts successfully.

Preliminary Course Outline:

  • Introduction
    • Conflict in your own workplace
    • Basic measures of communication and conflict management
    • Create a safe environment
    • Rules of communication
  • Resolving Conflicts
    • Basic three-step model
    • Applying the three steps
    • Promoting behavior change
  • More Tools for Resolving Conflicts
    • The VAK (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) model
    • Communicate so other people listen and act
    • Words that work
    • What to say to angry people
  • Next Steps
    • Identifying what needs to change
    • Suggested behaviors checklist

Workshop Instructor: Pat Wagner