This year was my first PCE (Pre-Conference Event) at IATEFL (International Association of Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and the LAMSIG (Leadership and Management Special Interest Group) PCE was a great one to choose. The topic was conflict management. The day was divided up into an input session by George Pickering followed by an input session and case study presented by Andy Hockley which we then discussed in groups. The afternoon was a series of different case studies which were worked through in different groups. And then the whole day was rounded up by Loraine Kennedy who asked us to reflect on what we were taking away from the day.
The format was great and worked wonderfully and I think all the managers present could relate to the case studies in one way or another. The design of the day was perfect for this setting but there were four factors which for me made the day so fascinating. This is in relation to the incredible diversity of managers who participated in the event:
- Experience in management: the managers who attended ranged from fairly new managers (I think the minimum was 2 years’ management experience, maybe it was less) to people who have been involved in management for many years
- The number of people they were managing: some people were managing 650 teachers while others were managing 5 teachers
- Type of organisation: This included small and large private language schools, universities and online language schools
- Cultural backgrounds: There were managers present who were managing in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Spain, Israel, Germany, the UK and many other places.
This meant that our reactions to how we would respond to the different issues of conflict in the various case studies were just as diverse as the managers in the room and was both thought- provoking and stimulating. It also was a useful reminder that there is no right or wrong way to manage and that so much is dependent on context, experience and personal management styles.
I would have found it fascinating to have mapped people’s reactions and responses in relation to these four factors to see if there were any patterns which could have been identified. There probably would have been too many variables to have reached any conclusions but it would have been fascinating.
This just leaves me to say thank you Jenny, George, Andy, Josh, Loraine and Andy for organising a great day. I I look forward to attending more in the future.