How Groups Manage Conflict
Moving through conflict can be difficult and time consuming. These crises put board members' commitment to the mission and the community to the test. In these and other situations, helping a board get to consensus on a given issue may be the most important contribution a member can make. For the longer these differences are allowed to fester, the longer it takes to acknowledge, assess and resolve the extent of anger, frustration and hurt in order to address the underlying issues.
Test your own understanding of what is happening. The first thing to figure out is whether there is actually a conflict, or if there is only dissent. Some questions to ask are:
- Are discussions about the issue productive?
- Are discussions conducted in a respectful manner?
- Does the intention of the debate seem to be to help the organization move forward?
Determine the nature of the conflict. Is the conflict caused by real disagreements, personal or inappropriate behaviors, or by structural issues?
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