July 9, 2022

Managing Conflict – Free Tool
By Jayne Warwicker

In my social media earlier in the week, I talked about implementing the Deficit model. This is a tool that can provide confidence and clarity when you are handling conflict and/or difficult situations. However, after offering to send this out to anyone who would find it useful, I did a little more research and switched my allegiance to a different mode – the SBI.

You will find full details of this below and advice on how to implement it

When I was in the Corporate world running a team; effectively handling conflict was the bain of my life and gave me many sleepless nights. When I moved into coaching leaders and managers I found that I was not the only one.

No one likes to address a difficult situation; conversations can be tense, and emotions run high. The best thing you can do is plan effectively and ensure that you have a simple structure. This helps to keep the conversation professional and on track and ensures you have all the correct details and are well-prepared and therefore confident.


The SBI Feedback Model is a tool that helps provide feedback in a simple way and avoids inflaming a situation that may already be sensitive. It is to be used in conflict situations or when needing to tackle negative behaviour or working practice. However, you can also use this model when wanting to give positive feedback. Today, however, we will look at conflict situations.

It focuses on the most basic factors involved when giving Feedback.

To do this, it proposes that any Feedback Process must go through 3 Steps. This avoids emotions derailing the communication, and you will be organised and confident; this helps the conversation remain professional.

Compared to other Feedback Models, it proposes a much simpler approach and this is why after further research, I now prefer this over the Deficit model which has 7 steps.

This model’s name is an acronym for the 3 Steps proposed:

  • Situation
  • Behaviour
  • Impact


  1. Situation: Describe the context in which everything happened.
  • Facts, Place, Time, People involved and Circumstances. Ensure that this only contains FACTS; not any hearsay.


  1. Behaviour: Analyse How the PersonBehaved and Reacted in that Situation.
  • Aggressively, Coldly, Analytically, with Empathy, etc.

Avoid using ‘I think…’, again FACTS ONLY


  1. Impact: Objectively describe the consequences of what happened.
  • How it affected other employees, the company, etc. You can also include here how it made YOU feel.  This last step is the one that is sometimes left out and spelling out to an employee the exact impact of their behaviour/actions can be a surprise to some.

So let’s  look at an example:

You have a staff member that is not trying hard enough, production or attitude is poor or maybe there has been an altercation etc

They are a competent staff member but are now performing poorly.

It is your decision whether this is an informal, initial conversation; or a formal one where notes are taken – ensure the interviewee is clear about which it is. This will also dictate whether others are invited into the meeting (union reps/note-takers etc).

Success is in planning, so insert your specific facts into the model below.

* Important – You as the manager, need to be in control of the conversation and you should not be interrupted until you have laid out everything you want to get across. Before you start; explain that you will lay out everything that you have in relation to this situation but once you have completed this, the staff member will be able to give their view.


First, you should Explain:

  • The FACTS that have made this conversation necessary and what is being discussed – this is very important as should you not look confident and well prepared, and they become confused, it will not make the conversation a productive and professional one.
  • How the company track and evaluate performance and/or behaviour, so that it is seen to be not personal, but something that is expected by the company and within their terms of employment.



Then Highlight:

  • How their behaviour is affecting performance and productivity.
  • How their mood or attitude has changed
  • If a conflict situation; analyse how they behaved/reacted during and after this situation (eg: an argument with a colleague) and whether it was appropriate.



Explain to them that:

  • This attitude/performance will make it difficult for them to be considered for promotion
  • How this behaviour is impacting other staff members (decreasing team spirits/extra workload for others etc). If appropriate, state how their behaviour impacts YOU.
  • The possible ramifications – should performance/attitude not improve (PIP/demotion/disciplinary/dismissal). Ensure you have these correct – check with HR if unsure.

Once you have completed these 3 steps; turn over the conversation to the employee.

Keep in mind that they may be emotional, but encourage them to regain their composure so that the meeting can be continued. Offer tissues/tea etc but the meeting needs to have a clear conclusion. Often they will have a totally different outlook or in fact, deny the situation took place altogether. This is where gathering your evidence and witness statements and being fully informed will help.

I like this model as you spell out clearly what the situation is and the consequences of their behaviour, some of which they may not have considered. However, they are also free to give their own viewpoint and thoughts once you have concluded, and often, assist with the resolution.

I recommend at this point the meeting is concluded and a second meeting be put in the diary within the next couple of days. This will give you time to carefully consider their viewpoint and obtain more information should you need it. Although this wait can be hard for the employee, they need to know that you are taking this seriously and any action needed will be within HR guidelines etc.

If you have a conflict situation coming up at work or need to have a difficult conversation and wish to use this model; please make use of my 30 minutes, completely free breakthrough call and we can personalise this model to your needs. All conversations of course are confidential.

Otherwise, try this out and I will guarantee that when faced with conflict it will be a breeze compared to attempting it without a clear, defined model.

Jayne Warwicker BSc – Founder of the Lioness Power Coaching system.

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