Mediation & Conflict Management – Part 1

Relationship difficulties are the third source of stress in companies. Not only do conflicts affect happiness at work, but they also have a very negative impact on performance. We offer 2 parts on the subject of conflict management and mediation. In this first part we will see how to tackle conflict (conflict mechanics and inflation factors), how to develop a relational intelligence that facilitates communication, and finally how to resolve an open conflict (clarifying responsibilities, expressing oneself, regulating…).

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How to Tackle Conflicts

Whether they’re open, visible or hidden, conflicts are constantly making appearances at work, weakening motivation and efficiency. We can identify 3 main external sources of these conflicts in business: the environment, the organization and the relationships. 

At the origin of conflict, there is disagreement. Why do we go from disagreement to conflict? Disagreement is normal and can be constructive, while conflict is not. Disagreement arises from a divergence of interests, values, opinions: we do not think like the other person. And, then, from a simple disagreement, we can slip into conflict when 2 additional criteria come together: ONE, the parties are interdependent and TWO, the negative emotions are revealed. 

The difficulty of measuring the consequences of conflict makes us underestimate its costs. They are much bigger than we think. Managers estimate that they spend 20 to 30% of their time managing conflicts … Conflicts consume time and money and have an impact on HR costs and the incurred legal risks. Let’s take a closer look at the impact of conflict on employees, then on the organization and finally on the manager.

In Chinese, the word crisis is made up of two ideograms. The first meaning “danger”, the second “opportunity, chance”.
Our way of perceiving and dealing with conflict will make it either a destructive experience or a constructive one. Let’s observe together how conflict can be an opportunity for everyone if we use it to enrich our perspectives, develop our emotional intelligence and increase cooperation.

Conflict emerges according to a well-oiled internal mechanism, in 3 stages. We have a presupposition, a certainty of the “I am entitled to this” kind. Then there is an event, a word that we don’t like and that will act as a trigger and will be followed by a reaction, a negative emotion for which we’ll blame others. Let’s study these 3 phases: presupposition, trigger and reaction that pull us into conflict. 

What are the 5 stages of conflict? Disagreement, interpretation, tension, blocking and resolution. I will describe these 5 stages and provide tips on how to get out of the conflict – the possible exit at each of these stages.

Are you trying to diagnose a conflict in order to resolve it? You have to distinguish between 2 essential elements: the problem and the inflation. The initial problem (an organization problem, for example) is the spark; it is not enough to turn into conflict. You need the gas that will allow the fire to spread, to surge. There are two types of gas: avoidance and escalation. 

You are under stress or in conflict and have less and less control over your thoughts, emotions and reactions? 

How can you take back control over your life and rationally manage the stress that burns or inhibits you? 

You will better understand what’s happening within you by familiarizing yourself with your 3 brains: the reptilian brain, the limbic brain and the neo-cortex. So which brain has taken control over your life in the middle of your struggles? 

Develop Relational Intelligence

Would we find ourselves in the middle of a conflict if we asserted ourselves healthily? My answer is “no”. Asserting ourselves in a healthy way, within a respectful and equal relationship with others, prevents us from giving in to the dance of conflict, even if the other person is urging us to. 

I am going to describe the basis of this quiet affirmation (this assertiveness) through the concept of life positions (OK/not OK) inspired from Transactional Analysis. 

The art of cultivating a positive outlook.
“Think positive, smile, be positive, look on the bright side,” as the magazines write.
Seeing and considering (prophesying) the best will actually give you a better chance of having a happy life.
At least you can be aware of the filters of perceptions (selection, interpretation and generalization) that distort your view of reality, often in a very negative way.

What attitudes do you adopt by reflex when communication starts getting tense? 

How do you behave when you are in the middle of a conflict? Do you slip into flight, aggressiveness, manipulation or do you choose healthy affirmation? 

This video will describe to you the 3 ways of communication that will lead to a dead end. And furthermore advise you on the 3 attitudes that you need to deal with in order to reach assertiveness, a healthy level of self-affirmation. 

Nowadays, there are EQ tests, Emotional Quotient, calculated just like an IQ, Intelligence Quotient, to assess people’s ability to recognize emotions, understand and manage these emotions, either their own or those of others. A mature emotional intelligence is an essential key in communication, assertiveness and conflict management. What does emotional intelligence provide? How to manage negative emotions? And finally, how can we improve our Emotional Quotient on a daily basis? 

How can we maintain a constructive attitude to facilitate cooperation at work and manage disputes and conflicts with ease? We will see the 3 hindrances to avoid (criticism, confirmation and justification) and the 4 good habits to maintain. These attitudes will help you reopen the field of possibilities. 

How to practice active listening? Above all, what is the basis of active listening? 

Availability, curiosity and openness. Here are the 3 key principles to which you can link 3 tools: synchronization, questioning and reformulation. 

We are going to study these qualities and tools that will make you an excellent communicator 

Many conflicts emerge because we do not know how to set boundaries. We don’t know how to say no like adults because we lack the self-confidence. Or we say no too late or too aggressively, so conflict erupts. 

In this video we will first see why we don’t dare to say no, then how to say no to a request and finally how to say no to an attitude that doesn’t suit us.  

Who comes out during a conflict? The parent in you, the adult in you or the child in you? Who is in charge?
We are going to decipher together what we call the states of the ego: parent, adult, child, that sometimes make it difficult to communicate and manage conflicts with those around us.

What are we playing at? 

Relationship difficulties and conflict, often take on the form of a several act tragedy, in which we play different scenes.  

Arguing, fleeing, complaining, accusing, arm wrestling or looking for support.  

Are we victims, rescuers or persecutors in this psychological game that is the dance of conflict? Do we move from one role to another without even realizing it? 

Resolve an Open Conflict

In business, we distinguish between latent conflicts (or in other words undeclared conflicts), and open conflicts. This video will answer three questions. How to define a latent conflict? How to anticipate it and last, how to defuse it before it surges too much? 

You’ve noticed a conflict and would like to handle it with the participation of the parties involved? Two preliminary questions will allow you to confirm whether the protagonists are ready.
Do you agree that there is a dispute? And are you ready to resolve it? It is impossible to go any further if one of the people involved answers no to these questions.

Do you need to discuss a case where opinions and interests diverge?
How do you prepare to address this contentious topic so that the discussion goes smoothly and the dispute is resolved? Preparing yourself mentally and emotionally is the key. In this video, I suggest 5 questions that will make all the difference, 5 questions to ask yourself before confronting your interlocutor.

You’ve decided to talk to the person you’re in conflict with. You’re feeling emotionally calm and positive and are clear on the subject and on the options you intend to suggest
We will see how to arrange this meeting: from requesting an appointment to setting the place and time.

Resolving a conflict happens inevitably through words.
But how can you express yourself when the relationship has already been shaken up? How can we encourage sharing when grievances are palpable?
I suggest 4 keys to give you the best chances to reach a satisfactory solution for everyone. 4 keys to avoid sinking into the dead-end of conflict. Defining the rules, listening with empathy, opening up to the other, and being solution-oriented.

In order to resolve a conflict, it is essential to separate the source of a conflict from its inflation. Because each of these 2 elements must and will be resolved in a different way.
Conflict escalation is one of the two forms of conflict inflation. Conflict escalates because fuel is added to the fire of disagreement.

In order to resolve a conflict, it is essential to distinguish between the source of a conflict and its inflation. Because each of these 2 elements must be and will be resolved in a different way.
Conflict avoidance is a form of conflict inflation. The conflict is inflated because we let it slowly consume us, without intervening.

Properly resolving a conflict, what does it really mean?
We are about to see the 4 criteria that indicate good conflict resolution, the 4 criteria that make us say “ok, all’s well that ends well”. The degree of satisfaction, the quality of the relationship at the end of the resolution, the long-term effectiveness of the solution and the final cost of the conflict.

Do you have a conflict with a client and don’t know how to find common ground so that you don’t lose your client or his money? Here is a 5-step solution to resolve the conflict: ORVSC.
Options, Reformulation, Vision, Solution, Contractualization.

 

Regulatory meetings take place in order to solve problems between team members and require the true talents of a mediator. 

In this video we will see when this type of meeting should be held, and in what spirit, as well as the 3 steps to lead it successfully.  

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