Monday, 9 July 2007

5 tips on embracing conflict - from Jamie Notter

A great article here by fellow blogger Jamie Notter with no less than 5 tips on just how to embrace conflict. Please do click through to read them.

I responded in his comments that I once spent all day in a meeting where we there were some serious managerial issues to resolve. I knew that one of the non-agenda, unspoken issues was a dispute between two members and I spent the best part of the day trying to get that dispute to surface.

If we didn't then the ongoing animosity would have surfaced in some other environment or at an inopportune moment. At least if we wrestled with it here and now then we could ensure it was safe to explore the topic. I call this "bloodletting", a safe controlled releasing of the pressure.

A greater concern of mine was that if the matter was left unresolved then it would have sabotaged the real progress we had made that day.

It was frustrating that we got to 30 minutes of the end of the meeting only for the topic to rear its head then. I do wish we had got it out earlier. The participant who raised the issue had been worried that if he had raised the objections earlier that he would have spoiled the meeting.

A pity. If we are able to recognise our differences and embrace our conflicts, then we create such richly textured, sincere relationships on which to build future agreements. Who knows what we could have achieved. Who knows what suggestions might have been held back before the grievances were aired and resolved.

1 comment:

Alexander Massey said...

I have found that as soon as my intuition tells me something like this is going on, I name it to myself, and then I work to help the issue get named in the room - somebody will know, and be able to articulate it, and I make it my job to help that happen.

A couple of techniques: 1) I have a sense that there's something here that is not getting said, and that we're therefore not talking about the real issue yet. Does anybody have any sense of what that might be? 2) Maybe following on from that, what is it that people are aware they are thinking and feeling but NOT saying? Then, either encourage people to say it, however irrelevant it might seem to them, or encourage a meta-conversation that helps name what needs to happen first, in order that the real issue can get named and talked about (e.g. rules of engagement).

Susan Scott has some good ideas also in her book 'Fierce Conversations'.