General points

Whatever form of conflict management you use, some general points for conducting the process may be helpful:

  • Before you get too far into the process, be sure you have the facts, and that the problem is as clearly defined as possible.
  • Keep focused on the interests of the parties rather than being distracted by outcomes.
  • If you can involve the whole group, use them to generate a range of options, and then select an alternative.
  • Keep in mind both the need to get on with the job, but also the needs of the individuals involved.

Up to a point, healthy, constructive conflict can be a good thing. Encouraging people to air issues, to debate them in a robust fashion and bring out a range of views into the open can lead to satisfactory resolutions which stick. The good leader will develop the skill of knowing when to step in and how to harness the energy of this type of discussion. The challenge is to know when and how to do this with grace and dignity!