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Does Your View of Conflict Get in Your Way?

by Edree Allen-Agbro
January/February 2013
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/does-your-view-of-conflict-get-in-your-way/5020942/

Returning to work with early childhood leaders after 20 years of consulting and coaching in corporations, nonprofits, and school districts, I had an epiphany. Even though early childhood leaders and educators are in a gentle, caring profession, they are not exempt from the statistic showing that most leaders of organizations spend 50-80% of their time handling some kind of conflict.

The early childhood work world is extremely complex, which makes it fertile ground for conflicts to rise between the competing interests, needs, and perspectives of diverse stakeholders. Parents and boards and government regulations! Oh my! There are also many cultures, many types of programs, and different approaches to child development " the list goes on.

Forty early childhood education leaders who recently showed up and stayed for my two-day workshop on transforming conflict were not just brave and dedicated. They were desperate for some hope that there is a better way; there is.

I believe that familiar strategies of conflict resolution and conflict management are insufficient to address the complexities that early childhood leaders and communities face. The primary reason is that these approaches are founded on a limiting assumption about the nature of conflict. These approaches are based on the premise that conflicts ...

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