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Looking At The Positives Of Conflict Exercise

Brief Description/Purpose

Conflict isn't necessarily negative, but most of us tend to focus on the discomfort of conflict situations, missing out on what can be gained. This exercise is designed to help people examine how conflict can be a POSITIVE thing.


Small group exercise

Age Appropriate

Teens, Adults

Ideal Group Size

Small group exercise, so working groups of four to seven people in each group. Can be scaled up for larger groups.

Time For Exercise

20 to 40 minutes including debrief



Detailed Instructions If Needed

Split large groups into smaller teams of four to seven (having at least three teams is desirable). Make available: Have each team send a member up to collect their supplies:

  • sheet of flip-chart paper
  • some assorted markers, pens
  • list of discussion questions to be answered

Have each team that write their definition of conflict.

Their challenge is to define conflict without using negative terms. Once team members agree on a definition, have them write it on their flip-chart paper along with an illustration. Before the group presentations and discussion, have each team answer the debriefing questions on the handout. After all teams are finished, have the teams present their ideas to the group. Hang up the flip-chart pages on the wall of the room for the duration of the training day.

Discussion Questions For Positive Conflict Activity:

  1. How does the definition of conflict affect the way we think about conflict?
  2. What are some negative consequences of conflict?  
  3. What are some positive outcomes of conflict?
  4. List four potential positive outcomes of conflict in an organization

Adapted From: The Big Book of Conflict Resolution Games: Quick, Effective Activities to Improve Communication, Trust and Collaboration (Big Book Series)