OSU professor Dr. Gregg Walker provided instruction and practice using skills in constructive confrontation for the C4C skill-building forum. photo by Sue Stafford
OSU professor Dr. Gregg Walker provided instruction and practice using skills in constructive confrontation for the C4C skill-building forum. photo by Sue Stafford



Oregon State University professor Dr. Gregg Walker utilized two role-playing scenarios to help Sisters residents practice dealing with constructive confrontation and positive criticism at last week's Citizens4Community public forums.

Wednesday evening's gathering started with Soup and Civility, with homemade soup, bread, and cookies before Walker's 90-minute presentation and role-play addressing dealing with conflict constructively.

Walker started by stating that conflict is a natural part of human interaction. Some conflict we should engage in and some we shouldn't. The decision to confront is based on the nature of the relationship, the nature of the issues, and the ability of the other party to engage in the confrontation.

He outlined the four major types of conflict: spontaneous or crisis; strategic; covert (passive-aggressive); and proactive.

Two guiding principles when addressing conflict are situation improvement (reframing problem-solving) and firm flexibility. Walker also shared his principles of FAAITH: fairness; access; accountability; information; inclusion; transparency; and honesty.

"We respond to conflicts by confronting, accommodating, or avoiding. Both accommodation and avoidance are passive. Confrontation can be aggressive and competitive, or assertive and collaborative. The latter approach is generally the most constructive," Walker told the audience.

Both of Walker's presentations were filled with pertinent information and valuable skills to be employed when engaging in constructive confrontation. Attendance was more than 50 people on Wednesday evening and approximately 30 for the Thursday-morning workshop.

The role-playing Wednesday night involved a real estate agent and the owner of the brokerage, with participants pairing up to address a set of issues causing conflict between the two.

Thursday morning, 12 participants acted as a community board meeting for the first time to discuss the establishment of their mission statement regarding a large donation of land to the city.

After both role-plays, the participants discussed what the conflicts were, what worked and what didn't, and how utilizing the constructive skills presented by Walker worked to bring about positive results.

The general consensus of those who attended the workshops was that Walker's presentations were informative, helpful, and fun.

The next C4C quarterly free skill-building forum will be held at the end of April at the Sisters Fire Station Community Hall.