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Conflict management training with immersive simulations

Managing conflict simulation

Effective conflict management training is crucial to support high-performing teams. Rather than avoiding conflicts or letting them escalate, leaders can address issues proactively, fostering healthy relationships within their teams and minimizing tensions. We know conflict management is an essential leadership behavior for aspiring leaders, and the good news is that these critical conflict resolution skills can be easily developed with simulation-based learning. 

A comprehensive study on workplace conflict by CCP found that U.S. employees spent approximately 2.1 hours per week involved in conflict. Harvard Business Review found that conflict management is one of the biggest fears held by new managers. When conflict is unresolved, workplace performance and productivity suffer.

It's not enough for people leaders to learn about conflict management skills in an elearning course. Ensuring they can apply best practices to real-life situations is crucial to team performance and fostering a productive workplace culture. 

Role-playing exercises enable leaders to simulate real-life conflict scenarios in a controlled setting. Taking on the role of a bystander, team leader, or other involved person, the learner must choose what to say or do after a conflict arises.  By practicing various conflict resolution techniques, leaders can build their competency in handling difficult situations without fear of failure or retribution.

Immersive simulations provide learners with a supportive and non-threatening practice space. It does this in a high-quality, and on-demand learning experience.  Adding simulation to a blended program ensures leaders are prepared the first time they face a real conflict situation. It also provides them with the confidence to intervene in a timely way to resolve the conflict. Stakeholders also receive objective data to show how skillful people leaders are in conflict management.

ETU created this short sample simulation on conflict management. It allows you to experience firsthand how simulation is used to create realistic workplace training. The “coach feedback” option has been turned on in the experience, which provides constructive feedback throughout the simulation, helping learners reflect on and refine their skills.



Scenario overview

The learner plays the role of a people leader who witnesses a conflict between two of their direct reports. The learner needs to decide on the appropriate course of action. The simulation has two main sections:

  • A one-on-one meeting with one of the direct reports.
  • A meeting with both of the direct reports together.

Skills measured

The learner is immersed in their role as a people leader, and the decisions they make measure their ability to apply the following skills:

  • Follow best practices in addressing a situation of conflict.
  • Remain impartial in managing conflict.
  • Actively listen to understand conflict.
  • Promote behaviors that facilitate conflict resolution.

Learning design

Conflict management is a core leadership skill and this simulation could be used as part of any training program on leadership. The digital delivery of the simulation allows it to be distributed to hundreds or even thousands of dispersed learners, providing a consistent practice opportunity. Sample use cases include:

  • Baselining skill levels and personalizing learner journeys. 
  • As a role-play skill-development module, following instructor-led training.
  • As part of an on-demand set of crucial conversation simulations. 
  • As part of a skill assessment or skill certification requirement. 

Though there may be different types and levels of conflict in the workplace, the optimal decisions for managing the conflict presented in this scenario are widely considered best practices in today’s workplace environment. These skills not only help leaders to resolve conflicts but also create an environment where team members feel heard and valued.


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