During a radio program, the interviewer asked me, “How can we confront conflict collaboratively?”
It is significantly useful to be ready and open, LISTENING to the points of view of others, and making a continuing effort to understand their ideas and motives. To support the possibility of understanding the other’s perspective, it is worth while to make an effort not to evaluate what we are listening to, since when we evaluate we tend to see others’ opinions based on our own perceptions.
It may contribute to start the process of solving conflicts in a collaborative way to keep in mind some of these questions.
– What do you think?
– How do you feel?
– What concerns you?
– How do you think this situation affects us?
– What are the critical points to resolve in this situation?
– Do we need to involve anyone else?
It is also valuable to make an effort to express our own thoughts and feelings in the most objective and open possible way.
Once we believe we understand the point of view of others, we can then concentrate on CLARIFYING those areas in which we agree and those in which our opinions diverge. This summary can make it possible to focus on the points being dealt with, and help communication to be clearer, which contribute to move the process ahead.
The third step is to seek ALTERNATIVES together. When both parties are open to communication, looking for options to resolve the conflict is appreciably facilitated. It is meaningful to speak with a desire to find a solution that benefits everyone involved. The idea is for all concerned to generate different options in which everyone gains. With this in mind, consider as many alternatives as possible, options that all feel good about. This implies including the desires of all participants for a common good.
The fourth step in the process is DECISION MAKING, arriving at a satisfactory agreement that resolves the conflict by including all points of view and people involved. A collaborative focus opens opportunities for new levels of harmony and joy in our relationships.
By Mayte Picco-Kline