The Conflict Dynamics Profile (CDP) is a powerful and well-designed instrument for assessing conflict behaviors in the workplace, building self-awareness of conflict triggers and responses, and suggesting practical approaches for strengthening behaviors that promote effective workplace conflict resolution. Unlike style-based instruments (which also have their good uses), the CDP focuses on behaviors, giving it an action orientation.
The CDP comes in both 360° and individual versions. The individual version is a "self-report" as it only looks at how you view yourself. Whereas, the 360° is a full spectrum tool which gives not only your self view but also delineates feedback from bosses, peers and direct reports. The CDP-360 produces a complete "conflict profile" by providing feedback on…
Developed by the Leadership Development Institute, an affiliate of the Center for Creative Leadership, the CDP is a well-designed and psychometrically sound instrument. It can be completed in about 20-25 minutes, either online or on paper, and comes with a practical and in-depth guide for strengthening conflict management skills.
Since the topic of conflict is so universal, there are numerous ways to use the CDP. Although the instrument can be given to individuals at all levels and in different types of organizations and settings, its primary applications are as follows.
Research suggests that effective conflict management is one of the primary development needs of leaders and managers. Specifically, effectiveness in the four Active/Constructive scales (Perspective Taking, Creating Solutions, Expressing Emotions and Reaching Out) is related to promotion and the perception of excellent leadership skills. Given how pervasive conflict is, it is essential that people have the skills to handle it effectively. By focusing specifically on this one topic, the CDP provides managers with in-depth feedback on their responses to conflict and how their behaviors impact others.
The CDP can be used as part of an internal leadership training program, or CTS can conduct Resolving Conflict Effectively, a skill-building course built around the CDP. In either case, this critical skill set is addressed.
The Center for Creative Leadership Uses the CDP
One of the primary uses of the CDP is to help individuals, teams and organizations resolve specific conflict issues. Not only can it be used as a preventative tool to reduce the amount of conflict in the future, but it also can be used to address current, ongoing situations. The conflicts can range from a one-on-one disagreement, to a dysfunctional team, to an overall pattern throughout an organization of destructive conflict management. Whatever the scenario, the CDP can identify the problem areas and target specific areas for improvement.
Career Development/Individual Coaching
The CDP can be used alone or in combination with other assessment tools to help talented managers and individual contributors move into more complex or demanding roles and prepare them for future career growth. In some cases, employees have a distinct development need in the area of conflict management, and the CDP can provide thorough information as to specific behaviors that need to be addressed.
This approach is often used in one of the three following scenarios:
In each of these cases, feedback on the CDP and subsequent developmental planning with its companion workbook, Managing Conflict Dynamics: A Practical Approach, can be very beneficial. A combination of coaching, face-to-face goal-setting sessions, on-site “shadowing,” ongoing evaluation of progress and reassessment over a designated period of time can result in great improvement.
Unresolved conflict can be devastating to a team. Communication breakdowns often lead to avoidance and resentment which, in turn, lead to lower satisfaction and productivity. Conducting a team intervention with the CDP (and possibly other assessment tools) can be the starting point for establishing guidelines for handling conflict in the future. Even with high functioning teams, there usually are areas of conflict, which, if not addressed, have the potential to derail the team. Having each member of the team receive feedback on the CDP helps team members identify problem areas and foster a more cohesive and supportive team environment. Facilitating open and honest discussions about specific issues can really improve the team dynamics and provide an enhanced working environment.
Curt Micka, J.D. is a certified user of both the CDP-360 and the CDP-Individual.
Sample CDP Reports
Sample CDP-360 Report: www.conflictdynamics.org/files/360sample.pdf
Sample CDP-I Report: www.conflictdynamics.org/files/CDP-Isample.pdf
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