Monday, February 24, 2014

Rule 23: You must mediate conflict

Help steer the conversation toward resolution.

1. Keep the conversation on point. When one or both parties starts talking in circles, you can summarize their points and steer the conversation in a healthy direction.

2. Make sure the conversation is not confrontational. You can do this by stressing the goal of the conversation - to make sure both sides are happy with the resolution. Asking each participant what it would take to resolve the issue is a good way to keep the conversation productive.

3. You need to remain positive and encouraging. The individuals going through the conflict are in the middle of a stressful situation. They probably don't want to be there, and the meeting can quickly go downhill if you cannot keep it positive.

4. Make sure emotions are kept in check. Set ground rules that neither party can get angry or blame the other party for what happened. Everyone is going to focus on the facts of what happened and work together to find a resolution. You cannot properly mediate if people are angry or emotional. It is important that you keep both parties in line.

5. Finally, realize that it is OK for the parties to disagree as long as both acknowledge and understand why there is a disagreement. A potential outcome may be to find mutual understanding. Sometimes parties simply have to understand their differences.
Being a conflict mediator is tough. It is definitely one of the thankless jobs of a chapter president.

by Patrick Daley

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