Katrina Nobles is the Director of Conflict Programs for the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, focusing on educating the next generation of neutrals and practitioners on campus and in the workplace. Katrina designs curriculum, instructs professional programs, and facilitates discussions for organizational workplace conflicts. She also teaches the Campus Mediation Practicum, an on-campus credit course that applies mediation skills to the campus judicial system, allowing students to work as peer mediators. Katrina has presented at national conflict resolution conferences on Facilitating Collaborative Problem Solving, Cross-Cultural Communication, and Conflict Diagnosis. In addition to her position at Cornell, she facilitates for the Global Nomads Group, bringing together, through video conference, K-12 students in the United States and Middle East/North Africa region. She has practiced mediation for over 10 years, and prior to her employment at Cornell, Katrina was the Cortland County Coordinator for New Justice Mediation Services. During that time, she mediated hundreds of community, child custody/visitation, child support, and family disputes. Katrina holds a master’s degree in Conflict Analysis and Engagement from Antioch University Midwest.
Sometimes there's a person, a situation, or an issue that really drives you crazy. Often, the only way forward is to face the issue head on by having a conversation about it with those involved. While that may sound simple, the situations are often emotionally charged, and people tend to avoid these conversations at all costs. Generally, issues that require these conversations don't rise to the level of a conflict and aren't considered performance issues, making it even harder for those involved to know how they should move forward.
Leading challenging conversations is about facing your discomfort and dedicating yourself to the conversation that needs to happen. You'll learn to identify issues that require a conversation, and to self check if you are the correct person to have the conversation. Once you've identified a conversation, you'll follow a process that helps you create a plan, conduct the conversation, and follow up.
Let's be clear, having a conversation doesn't automatically lead to a resolution. Not having a resolution can be frustrating for many of us, so it's important that you think about success as either fully resolving the issue or helping you identify a path for productively approaching the problem using tools that you have. In the course project, you'll identify a conversation in your workplace, create a plan, practice having the conversation, and determine the appropriate next steps. Professor Nobles will guide you on how to do this using proven strategies and a refined process. This course focuses on conversations you'll have, not coaching others to have these conversations. However, the process that is taught can be shared with peers as they face situations requiring challenging conversations.
You are required to have completed the following courses or have equivalent experience before taking this course:
- Diagnosing Workplace Conflict
- Applying a Problem-Solving Approach to Conflict
Key Course Takeaways
- Identify a conversation that will be challenging
- Prepare for a challenging conversation
- Practice having a conversation that is challenging
- Define next steps and follow up needed after a challenging conversation
How It Works
Sally Klingel is the director of Labor-Management Relations programming for the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution in Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She specializes in the design and implementation of conflict and negotiation systems, labor-management partnerships, collective bargaining strategies, strategic planning, and leadership development. Her work with Cornell over the past 20 years has included training, consulting, and research with organizations in a variety of industries, local, state and federal government agencies, union internationals and locals, public schools and universities, and worker owned companies.
Sally Klingel holds a M.S. in Organizational Behavior from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and a B.A. from the University of Michigan. She has authored articles, monographs and book chapters on innovations in labor-management relations and conflict methods.