Saturday, April 28, 2007

Dealing with conflict

I've just been going through some of my notes from Spring of the sessions I went to looked at the issue of conflict. I've typed up some of the notes (see below). When it's laid out like this, it's quite easy to recognise some of the problems we come across and when we, as individuals, will succeed...for example, I'm probably a 'problem solver'...but people like me will find it difficult to solve some conflicts...there may be times when a facilitator is needed.

Three myths about conflict
  1. Conflict can never lead to anything positive
  2. Conflicts are a result of clashing personalities. Personalities don’t clash, behavior does
  3. Conflict and anger go together

Four levels of conflict

Generaly speaking there are four causes (or levels) of conflict:

Level 1 – Facts or data. People have the wrong information about stuff
Level 2 – Process or methods. There is a disagreement about how something should be done.
Level 3 – Goals or purpose. When people don’t agree with vision
Level 4 – Values. Where the parties disagree about basic values, ie, one party thinks we should look to the past, others look to the future.

Styles of handling

When dealing with conflict, most of us will fit into one of these roles:

  1. The problem solver. These people refuse to give in…finding a solution is just a mater of time. This approach tends to work where the parties have common goals
  2. The super helper. This person wants to see all conflicts resolved. They will fight tooth and nail for someone else but often find it hard to sort out their own issues
  3. The power broker. We will solve this problem and it does not matter how many casualties there are. All that matters is that we resolve the problem.
  4. The facilitator. They look for ways of bringing people together
  5. The fearful looser. These people tend to run from conflict.

Top tips

  • Separate the people from the problem
  • Focus on the issues not the positions
  • Think about the options that might solve the problem(s). Is there space for compromise?
    Insist on objective criteria….on what basis will we agree to disagree? A third party judge?
  • Try make it a shared problem, not a conflict problem
  • Don’t be personal – behave like adults
  • Keep your body language in check
  • Try to clarify goals. What outcome is needed and where goal fits?
  • Listen carefully ‘underneath the words’ and reflect back, ie, don't just listen to what they are saying....what do their words imply?

Labels: , ,

Thanks. I am going to link to this piece on my site.

Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]

eXTReMe Tracker