In this resource you will find a step by step guide for resolving conflict and a checklist for facilitators involved in controversy.
Assess whether the conflict belongs “in” or “out” of the group
Ensure you are not in a reactive space
If you are unfamiliar with conflict management go through the checklist for facilitators involved in controversy
Inform the people involved that you will be going through a set process.
Go over the key principles (eg, respect for difference, conflict can be creative and healthy, assure safety, speak from your own perspective).
Ask for the parties/individuals to identify themselves.
Ask the person/s with issue (A) to address the other person/s (B) and begin by:
DESCRIBING (not judging or interpreting) what is happening/what their issue is, and
EXPRESSING how they feel about this.
Ensure they are able to describe and express their thoughts without being interrupted.
Ask (B) to respond to this by CLARIFYING or APOLOGISING.
Ask the wider group if they have any CONSTRUCTIVE comments or feedback to either of the parties involved. Ensure people are not interrupted or that general discussion does not take place. Everyone is asked if they want to contribute. Only “I” statements and constructive contributions requested.
“I” statements are about expressing your thoughts, feelings, and experiences, not what other people or individuals think or feel. As a facilitator you need to assist people to speak for themselves.
Ask (A) what they would like to be done DIFFERENTLY and how this would have a POSITIVE OUTCOME for them. Ensure they are not interrupted.
Ask (B) to respond to this. At this point there will either be RESOLUTION or the need for FURTHER DISCUSSION.
If RESOLVED then go to STEP 10
If there is need for FURTHER DISCUSSION then continue to STEP 8.
Ask (B) how the situation could be resolved. If OK with (A) go to STEP 10.
Ask members of the wider group what SUGGESTIONS they have for a resolution. Check this out with (A) and (B). If resolved go to STEP 10.
If not resolved then arrange a time to meet with (A) and (B) for a mediated session then move to STEP 10.
Bringing in a “third person” to bring more structure to the discussion and process. Mediation does not involve the mediator making decisions about what an outcome should be.
Involving a “third person” who can listen to all of the points of view then make a decision about the next step/s.
Ask the group for comments regarding what they learned from participating in the process, then conclude with highlighting examples they observed of healthy communication during the process.
Checklist for facilitators involved in controversy
Is the environment conducive to equitable discussion?
Can everyone involved see each other?
Is this space going to be free of interruptions for the time of the discussion/meeting?
Do comments need to be recorded somewhere so everyone can see them?
Am I aware of what I am feeling in response to the conflict?
Have I clarified, internally, my thoughts/opinions?
Am I ready to be constructive?
What is my role here?
Is everyone informed about the procedures and appropriate channels for discussions/debate/recourse?
Are we working for consensus?
Do I have observable/measurable examples to justify my comments?
Am I open to alter my opinions and work to a resolution that values all of the people involved?
How will I approach this situation so that the way I act is congruent with the values I have talked about?
What do I need to do to ensure that everyone is able to equally participate?
How will people be valued for their contribution to the discussion?
What will I do that guarantees that I have heard and responded fairly to what people have said to me?
How will I acknowledge the time and energy that people have invested in this process?
In what way will I check back with the person/group so that they see the results of this discussion/meeting?
Does the outcome incorporate all of the perspectives stated?
Have I highlighted areas of strength as well as areas that require development?