Conflict Prevention

Conflict resolution steps

Good Group Tips

In principle, most conflicts are based on misunderstandings. When we make the effort to truly understand the other’s perspective and when we have shared understanding of future expectations, conflict often goes away.

Practical Tip: When in conflict, do something about it. Either change your attitude about it so it is no longer a conflict for you or work directly with your adversary. You might try these steps:

1. Pause. Breathe. Step away. Do not immediately react with words or actions you might regret later.

2. Share stories. Tell how the conflict came to be, what it was like from your perspective, and what it is like now. Listen to the other person’s story, how it was for them, and how it is now. Try to understand how the other person’s experience could lead them to their way of thinking and acting.

3. Share feelings. How does the conflict make you feel? Figure this out and share it. No one can argue with your feelings. Try to understand how others feel.

4. Share underlying interests. Why is this so important to you? What is the need in you that resolving this conflict will satisfy? What are your underlying, long-term interests? Share your answers to these questions and listen to the answers of others.

5. What are you going to do about it? Speak for yourself: what are you going to do differently so that underlying interests are achieved? Listen to what others intend to do. You might want to write down intentions in the form of a written agreement or contract.

6. Do it. Things will not change if people do not actually do things differently. Take responsibility for acting out your new intentions as best you can.

– 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.

Rules first

Good Group Tips

In principle, it is best to make the rules before taking the field, before starting the meeting. When we decide how  we are going to make decisions before we find ourselves in the tension of making them, it lowers our chances of conflict. It is much easier to establish proposal-development steps and decision criteria in the hypothetical rather then when actually confronted with a real proposal and with real personalities.

“We’ll figure out the rules as we go,” rarely turns out fair and often leads to conflict and resentment.

Establishing rules of engagement beforehand lets everyone know what to expect, gives everyone equal opportunity to participate, and increases chances of creative, peaceful decisions.

Practical Tip: Before you get to the hard decisions, first establish who gets to vote and who does not, how proposals get developed and discussed, and norms of behavior for meetings. For many groups, such rules are embodied in bylaws and meeting ground rules. Imagine the tough situations before they arrive and decide in advance how they will be handled.

Establishing and enforcing rules does not limit creativity, but rather encourages it. Knowing what to expect gives us courage to fully participate.

– 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.

Our interests

Good Group Tips

In principle, good group decisions result when we consider our interests rather than just my interests. My instinct is often to go into a conversation, negotiation, or group decision with the goal of satisfying my own interests, of getting what I want. The challenge is to go into a conversation not just looking out for my interests, but looking out for yours too.

It’s hard to consider what is in the best interest of two or more people, but the result might be a win for more than just me, perhaps a win for all involved. Failure to consider our interests often results in someone losing.

Practical Tip: Make decisions with multiple interests in mind, not just your own. The first step is to fully understand others’ interests, in addition to understanding and honestly sharing your own. Ask, “What about this issue is so important? Why is this important? What are the underlying interests?” Good group decisions start with good listening and shared understanding, and they end with win-win.

– 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.
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