Dance Studio Drama? Use These 3 Tips for Conflict Resolution in Your Dance Studio!
I know conflict and discussing it can be a stressful subject for many of us, and I’ve never met a dance teacher or studio owner who hasn’t encountered conflict in some form or another, so today is all about breaking conflict down and giving you resources, tips, and tools to not just deal with conflicts, but thrive in spite of them. Consider it your guide to the best tips for conflict resolution!
And, BONUS - this article is just a preview of lots of amazing tips I’ll be covering in the Dance Business Summit that Claire O’Shea and The Business of Dance will be hosting later this summer! To make sure you stay in the know, make sure you’re following me and Claire for updates! Now, onward….!
#1 Clarify Your Communications
Every dance teacher needs skills and strategies on conflict resolution, but before you even get to conflict resolution, you need to have good communication skills in place. So tip #1 starts there, with clarifying your communications. Some easy, quick, and actionable things you can do immediately are:
Make your studio information available for multiple learning styles (audio, visual, aural, etc.
State policies in the most basic, clear language you can. (example: when _____ happens, we do _____, because ______.
Make your written communications scannable (hardly anyone reads wordy emails or letters, we scan for the key points)
Make sure your staff know the answers to frequently asked questions parents might have (it’s worthwhile to role play this with them during their training or staff meetings)
#2 Choose Your Words Carefully
Conflict and miscommunications are inevitable, so when they do happen, try using some of these phrases to diffuse anger to get back to common ground.
“I hear you.”
“I see your point/where you’re coming from”
“I can see you’re upset, I want to make this right.”
“What do you need to feel better about this situation?”
Notice on that last point it’s not “what can I do”, but “what do you need”. That takes the focus off of you and puts it on the other person, and gives them a chance to communicate what they think the solution is.
#3 Nip Behavior Problems In The Bud
Speaking of giving parents the chance to come up with a solution, giving students a choice when it comes to behavior problems is a great way to sidestep future conflict. Giving students choices is a great way to show care and concern without shutting down communication.
For example, if a student is having a behavior issue, and doesn’t want to participate, instead of shutting down the lines of communication by saying ‘That’s it, leave class, you’re done for the day.’ (which only results in you getting upset and the student feeling spoken down to), try saying “I see you’re having a hard time. You can choose to follow directions and participate in class, or you can choose to sit and watch until you’re ready to try again.”
This option leaves space for the student to choose and possibly adjust their behavior, gives you space to move on with class and remain in command, and gives you a reference point to use with parents. Should the parent raise questions about why their kid isn’t participating, you can always circle back to this and say, “well I gave Jane the choice to participate and follow directions or sit out, and she chose to sit out.’
There you go my dance teacher friends! My best tips for conflict resolution in your dance business. A drama free dance studio will lead to a profitable dance studio, so I hope you found this helpful and insightful. And remember you can get tons more tips on this subject when you tune into my presentation at the Dance Business Summit this summer, so make sure you’re following me and my friend Claire O’Shea for updates!