Leadership Inspirations Activities

I Represent Conflict

Understand how participants respond to and resolve conflict

Duration

10-20 minutes

Team Stage

Storming, Norming

Type Of Activity

Experiential Activity

Materials

None

 

SUMMARY

In this activity, participants will use their bodies to show how they respond and react to conflict. Through this exercise they will have a better understanding of where conflict comes from and how to better resolve disagreements.

 

SET UP

  • You will need a space large enough for your group to stand in a circle shoulder to shoulder.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Place yourself in the middle of the room and say, “Imagine that I represent conflict. Think about how you usually react when you experience a conflict personally or witness a conflict happening. Then, place yourself, in relation to me, somewhere in the room in a way that indicates your first response to conflict or disagreement. Represent your reaction with your body position, the direction that you’re facing, and the distance from conflict.”
    • Participants may move closer to you or as far away from you as they can be.
    • They might try to make themselves very small or very big.
    • They might turn away from you, close their eyes, pace around the room, cross their arms, reach out to you etc.
  • Once everyone has placed themselves, ask individuals to explain why they are standing the way that they are.
  • You might also want to ask, “If this represents your first reaction, what might your second reaction be, after thinking about the conflict?”
  • Discuss solutions and how you can change your perspective. At this point you can have people rearrange themselves.

VARIATIONS

  • If you don’t feel comfortable representing conflict yourself, you can use an object in your place.
  • Have your group think about more specific possible or real conflicts, each time allowing them to move and show their reactions differently if they choose. For example, “I represent conflict… with a peer, with an authority figure, with a client, with a stranger, etc.” or “I represent conflict… as gossip, as difference in opinion, as disrespect etc.”

SAMPLE DEBRIEFING QUESTIONS

What?
  • What was the goal of this activity?
  • Did your group do well? What could have improved?
  • How did your group make decisions? Was it effective or ineffective?
  • How did your group manage conflict that arose?
So What?

Accountability

  • Who are you currently accountable for as an individual and a group? Who holds you accountable?
  • What is effective accountability? Are our methods as a group effective?
  • What role do you play in your own accountability and the group accountability?

Feedback

  • Why is feedback important? What kind of feedback is important?
  • What does constructive/effective feedback look like?
  • How did positive/negative/or no feedback affect your success?

Meeting Skills

  • What are some of our effective and ineffective meeting habits?
  • When are you most engaged in meetings? When are you least engaged?
  • What are the roles that people play in meetings? Why are these roles important?
Now What?
  • What does this activity tell you about the strengths of your group? The areas for improvement?
  • What’s one commitment each person can make?
  • What are three lessons the group has learned that they can continue to work on?
  • How can we implement these lessons in our school/organization?
  • What can you do differently moving forward?