How do you resolve conflict?
Time and again, we hear of clashing in the Communities. Clash of Clans comes to mind! :) Conflicts can happen everywhere in life. These strategies work not only here at Wikia, they work well in other situations, like school, work or in your private life and relationships.
Recognizing the creation of conflict
Conflict is accompanied by emotions. You know what I am talking about.... You have a different opinion and before you know it, you are in an intense argument. You possibly feel anger creeping up and there are things being said that you may regret. Often, you can feel the conflict lingering on the horizon, when your opponent does not share your values, steps on boundaries, disrespects the rules and so on.
Examples for lingering conflict
- You feel like you are being treated unfairly
All your edits are criticized, corrected or rolled back.
- A user is criticizing the decisions of an admin
An admin has really good intention and the best in mind for the community. Someone is new and very critical and wants to force his ideas on the admin.
- Differences of opinion
You could have a different opinion about the design, templates or the overall approach about the structure of articles or the community in general.
- Change in roles or leadership
An admin may leave, someone new takes over and brings his/her own ideas. The decisions they make divide the community.
Those are just a few examples and I am sure you can easily come up with more. What may sound strange, is that conflict is positive, as long as you address it and work it out. You can usually tell the signs and signals of conflict coming. There is critique, demur, accusation or threats. It is possible that there are groups and cliques forming. It is also possible that people can be quiet and leave, because conflict is really uncomfortable for them. If conflicts are properly dealt with and solved, they are really clearing the air. I am not saying that conflict itself is comfortable - I have yet to hear someone say: "Yay! I love conflict"
The good news is, that most conflicts have the potential to be solved. In some cases, the best decision for yourself can be to leave the community.
Well - Let's talk about how to solve conflict.
Squabble in the community
You've been arguing and fighting and at the moment, you can't stand your opponent. Is this a good time to start solving the conflict? I recommend you cool down first. Maybe you sleep on it, leave your anger during exercise or meditation, or simply breathe a few times. When you have cooled your heels, you can start talking. A lot of times it helps if you invite a third party. They need to be neutral and it's their job to make sure the dialogue stays civilized.
Strategies that don't work
Because we have all had conflict one time or another and we know it's uncomfortable, you may have developed your own strategies. You may be the runaway type that hates conflict and you're in favor of waiting until the storm is over. You definitely lose out this way.
Another way is to win the fight. Some people are masters in forcing their agenda and win. Naturally, if there is one winner, there will also be a loser. That is really not a desired result.
You force a compromise midway between the positions. Well, this one is usually only great in a superficial way. You like blue, I like red, we agree on green, but we are not really solving anything. The conflict most likely bubbles on under the surface.
Cooperation and working together
Long-term solutions happen only if you work on the problem together. It is no one's fault and no one is right. Obviously, there will be no winner or loser. Once you have a date and time arranged you may consider this strategy:
Begin your conversation
Make sure that the climate is positive and stays this way. Set a timeframe and an outcome. Example: "We will meet for one hour at most. Our goal is to settle the conflict and come up with solution that works for both of us."
Rules are important. Maybe a third party can assist with them. This is an example:
- The opponent will be respected, no one will be hurt.
- Feedback will be factual
- No accusations
- Everyone gets a turn to talk and will not be interrupted
- Problems will not be diminished by sarcasm and irony
- We search for solutions together
- We won't force solutions on each other
Both parties describe the conflict
There will be no interruption. There will be no accusations and you are not yet looking for solutions. You simply listen and try to be neutral. Please refrain from forming your rebuttal while your opponent is talking. The talker will use the "I" form in his description.
What is most important to me?
Both parties explain what is most important to them During this phase you can often recognize that you may have the same goal in mind.
Collect ideas and choose together what will be acceptable for you both.
Form an alliance
Make an agreement and talk about how you will keep it in the future.
This strategy is well known and you can find it in the Internet and in many books. I have used information from my certification as a Life, Performance and Relationship Coach.
Give this method a try, or let me know what has worked for you in times of conflict. In any case, I would like to hear your comments, feedback and stories related to this subject.
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