Mediator’s toolbox: the conflict dynamics profile

I periodically profile good tools for the mediator’s toolbox (many also work for conflict coaches and trainers as well) – tools that help us do our jobs better and help our clients get a new angle on an old problem.

The Conflict Dynamics Profile® (CDP) is one of those tools. I’ve been certified in the use of the CDP since 2005 and decided it was high time to blog about the CDP.

Nancy PridgenNancy Pridgen, Communications Director for the Center for Conflict Dynamics at Eckerd College, graciously agreed to a brief interview. The Center, home of the CDP, helps leaders and organizations maximize the benefits and minimize the harmful effects of conflict through assessment and training, research and publishing. Nancy holds a B.A. and J.D. from the University of Florida and is a member of the Florida Bar. She has special interests in conflict management, team leadership, and executive coaching.

Tammy: What is the Conflict Dynamics Profile® and what is it designed to do?

Nancy: The CDP is an assessment tool which improves self-awareness of what triggers conflict in individuals as well as how they respond to conflict. The instrument examines particular conflict behaviors, both constructive and destructive. Through feedback from the instrument and a subsequent plan of action, people can become more effective at resolving conflicts.

Tammy: What are the optimal circumstances for using the CDP?

Nancy: The CDP can be used in all kinds of settings, but probably the best scenario would be a situation where an individual or an organization wants to be conflict competent and is willing to practice those behaviors that result in more effective conflict resolution skills. By creating an action plan and working in a proactive way to improve conflict skills, people can prevent conflicts from occurring in the first place and enhance their leadership effectiveness.

Tammy: In what circumstances have you found the CDP not particularly helpful?

Nancy: The CDP can be beneficial in a myriad of circumstances, but since it is focused solely on conflict resolution skills, it would not be appropriate for someone who wants a broad-based assessment of overall leadership skills unless it was used in conjunction with other assessment instruments.

CDP logoTammy: What are some of the ways you’re seeing the CDP used most?

Nancy: The CDP is being used in all kinds of training situations including leadership development, team building, and, of course, conflict resolution. Not only is it used as a “preventative” tool to reduce the amount of conflict in the future, but it also is used to address current, ongoing situations, including everything from a one-on-one disagreement, to a dysfunctional team, to an overall pattern throughout an organization of destructive conflict management.

The CDP is also used quite a bit in individual coaching, individual and team mediation, and organizational development projects examining conflict culture and change initiatives.

One other way it is used is through the process of developing “Teaming Standards” or team norms for interacting with one another. Individuals gain self-awareness of their own behaviors, share their strengths and development needs with other team members, and then the team as a whole arrives at a set standard of how it is going to operate in the future when faced with conflict situations.

Tammy: Describe one thing you’ve learned from your research that might be of interest to conflict resolution practitioners like mediators and conflict coaches.

Nancy: Our research finds that for everyone in the workplace, whether it be male, female, manager, or subordinate, the “hottest” (most upsetting) hot button is untrustworthiness. (Tammy sidenote: Now that’s a whole separate blog post right there.)

Tammy: What methods are available to folks for getting certified in using the CDP, including methods if they’re not geographically near you?

Nancy: Phone certifications are conducted several times a year where participants can register, prepare 5-6 hours of pre-work, and then “attend” a two-hour certification over the phone. Custom certification programs for several people in an organization can be scheduled either on site or on the Eckerd College campus in St. Petersburg, Florida.

More information on the Conflict Dynamics Profile®

Thanks, Nancy, for taking the time to answer my interview questions.
Tammy
Making Mediation Your Day Job by Tammy Lenski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at MakingMediationYourDayJob.com.

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