Tips, Videos, Handouts

Causes of conflict, and cures

Good Group Tips

In principle, the cause of most conflict is misunderstanding. The parties don’t have the same facts, same experience, same perspective, and don’t fully appreciate how someone else could see it differently.

A second cause of conflict is fundamental difference of values. This is where the parties understand the facts and each other but they simply have different values. For example, one person believes in Jesus as savior, another does not. Each person’s beliefs are deeply rooted and not easily changed.

Third, parties are in conflict because of some outside issue, something that has nothing to do with the immediate issue at hand. The conflict might be because of some incident between the parties that happened years ago and has never been dealt with or because of a mental disorder, an irrational fear, or an addiction that is influencing someone’s judgment or behavior. An outside issue is preventing one or more key people from seeing or acting clearly.

Practical Tip: When conflicts arise, work first to develop shared understanding. Talk, listen, express truth, learn, be open-minded, let go, ponder, talk some more.

If differing values are the cause, identify the values you have in common. Identify your common goals. See how you believe in similar things but have different ways of acting on them. Document and work on the things you agree on and let go of the rest, for now.

If a debilitating outside issue is at play, peace will only come about if the issue is dealt with. If it is your issue, deal with it, seek help, do the personal work. If the issue is not dealt with by the parties, an outside authority must be invoked to make and enforce a decision.

 

– Craig Freshley

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Put the Tips in action for your group. Click here to learn about Craig’s Keynotes and Seminars.

How to call on people

Is it best to call on hands in the order that they are raised? Maybe not.

In this video Craig explains the downsides of doing that and encourages alternatives.

This video has captions. To see them, click CC on the video screen.

Here’s what Craig says in the video

Hi everybody! Hey it’s Craig Freshley here.

There’s a presumption in almost all meetings that the leader should call on people in the order that hands are raised. I’m here to tell you that is not necessarily the best way and that is certainly not the only way.

Here’s another way. Some groups have a rule; everybody gets a chance to speak once before anybody speaks twice. If that’s the case, I might not call on the first hand that I see. If that person has already spoken, I’m going to skip over them and I’m going to always be looking for new hands.

Another way is that I am intentionally looking for diversity of perspectives. This is over simplified but: a man speaks, the next hand I’m looking for is a woman. If three women in a row speak, the next hand that I’m looking for is a man. And even if two or three women put their hands up first, I might call on a man. As the leader I am actively managing the discussion and deliberately calling on people in a way different than whoever puts their hand up first.

Another way is: I might actually really know the people in my group. I know them pretty well. I can guess the kinds of things they’re likely to say and I intentionally call on people to build a thread; to build us toward a conclusion.

If you have an ethic of calling on hands in the order that they are raised no matter what, you are going to hear from the fastest thinkers and the boldest people. You are not necessarily going to hear the best ideas or a huge diversity of opinion.

So it depends on what you want. I’m simply reminding you that it doesn’t have to be just one way. Check that presumption — that we should absolutely call on hands in the order that they’re raised — and give yourself permission to do it differently.

Thanks for listening everybody. I hope this helps your group make good decisions.

Put the Tips in action for your group. Click here to learn about Craig’s Keynotes and Seminars.

Three times considered

Good Group Tips

In principle, it works well when a group considers an issue three times before making a decision.

1. The first time raises notice and gets people to start thinking about the decision they are going to have to make.

2. The second time, we share information, share our interests, discuss “what if’s,” kick around some ideas, and perhaps develop some alternative approaches.

3. On the third consideration: decision.

Three considerations of any given issue is a satisfactory pace for most group members.

Practical Tip: When a new issue develops, formally introduce it to the group and be sure that group members know how to participate in the decision process. Give the issue or topic a name. Invite initial reactions. This is the first consideration.

Next, provide a time and place for information sharing, brainstorming, imagination, creativity, proposal development. This might be in a meeting of the full group or a committee meeting or perhaps a series of meetings. It can also happen via surveys or on-line collaboration. This is the second consideration.

Third, provide a time and place for final discussion and decision.

It is okay to be a bit pushy for a decision when the group has already considered the issue twice before. If the decision does not come easily on the third consideration at least decide how it is going to get decided.

– Craig Freshley

Click here for one-page PDF of this Tip, a great way to print or share.

Put the Tips in action for your group. Click here to learn about Craig’s Keynotes and Seminars.