Any group of people aspiring to a worthy cause is at risk of overlooking or denying the possibility of falling into conflict. Conflicts are a natural part of modern life and work and confronting them is essential for a healthy workplace. When openly addressed, conflicts provide a growth opportunity for all involved. If left unaddressed however, conflicts will drain our energy and limit our ability to work productively with others.
So why do so many of us avoid conflict? Often there is anxiety about confrontation and a fear that raising difficult issues may just make things worse (and we might cling on to the hope that perhaps they may just go away if we leave them alone!).
To address conflict requires both courage and skill. sometimes this is possible on an informal personal basis. However, where conflict is entrenched help from a trusted third party may be essential
A third party facilitator assists the parties with the difficult conversation necessary for identifying and addressing the issues. Mediation provides a structured process which supports the parties in conflict to resolve their issues on their own terms.
- Conflicts are inevitable
- Conflicts present an opportunity
- Conflicts left unaddressed can be costly
- A third party facilitator may be required
- Mediation is a structured process of support
There is a wealth of material to guide the process of conflict management and resolution. I have found the following books helpful.
Friedrich Glasl – Confronting Conflict
Chris Argyris – Overcoming Organizational Defenses
Boulle, Jones & Goldblatt – Mediation – Principle, Process, Practice
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