5. Accept Responsibility
Every conflict has many sides and there is enough responsibility for everyone. Attempting to place blame only creates resentment and anger that heightens any existing conflict. In order to resolve a conflict we must accept our share of the responsibility and eliminate the concept of blame.
6. Use Direct Communication
Say what we mean and mean what we say. Avoid hiding the ball by talking around a problem. The best way to accomplish this is to use "I-Messages". With an "I-Message" we express our own wants, needs or concerns to the listener. "I-Messages" are clear and non-threatening way of telling others what we want and how we feel. A "you-message" blames or criticizes the listener. It suggests that she or he is at fault.
3. Assure a Fair Process
The process for resolving a conflict is often as critical as the conflict itself. It is important to assure that the resolution method chosen as well as the process for affecting that method is fair to all parties to the conflict. Even the perception of unfairness can destroy the resolution.
This is an important point. If one person feels like they are set up, that the entire situation is already stacked against them, difficult to get anywhere. I remember some past shared household meetings where the planned conflict resolution fell apart because of this.
4. Attack the Problem
Conflict is very emotional. When emotions are high it is much easier to begin attacking the person on the other side than it is to solve the problem. The only way conflicts get resolved is when we attack the problem and not each other. What is the problem that lies behind the emotion? What are the causes instead of the symptoms?
He tells me that if a worker in this company is sick for three days or more, they have to bring in a note from their physician. Which is difficult, if not impossible, since there is no health coverage.
We cheered each other up during our conversation and now my mind is in a loop. He is a responsible adult and he has raised his kids. But his employer doesn't trust him or any employee. Bring in a note. No health care. Bring in a note.
If you don't know the story of Bill Clayton, please read what his mother Gabi Clayton has written.
The mission of The Safe Schools Coalition:
A Public-Private Partnership in Support of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth is to help schools - at home and all over the world - become safe places where every family can belong, where every educator can teach, and where every child can learn, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
The Coalition serves both the global community and Washington State. Great folks.
Our Crisis Phone: (Washington State only)
24 hours a day - the phone line is answered at the Sexual Assault Hotline and they will have a Safe Schools Coalition Intervention Specialist volunteer get back to you within 24 hours.
2. Listen Actively
Listening is the most important part of communication. If we do not hear what the other parties are communicating we can not resolve a conflict. Active listening means not only listening to what another person is saying with words, but also to what is said by intonation and body language. The active listening process also involves letting the speaker know that he or she has been heard. For example, "What I heard you say is......"
I continue to work on this one, I tend to interrupt people I know well, and I catch myself assuming I know what they are going to say.
I especially had to learn this as a parent.
When I pay attention and listen, I am more likely to notice when I don't understand something, then I can ask for clarification rather than make assumptions.
Feel free to join in, I'm not aiming these specifically at our discussions here on this site, I just figure that the more any of us practice clear communication, the better.
I am by no means a communication expert. I sometimes get lost in discussions and I don't always listen as well as I'd like to. But, I do try.
I'm looking over Principles of Conflict Resolution, what the Navy and others use. The 9 points may look simple but there actually is a lot in them to chew over. I'm going to work on one at a time, and I encourage anyone who wishes to join in however they like.
1.Think Before Reacting
The tendency in a conflict situation is to react immediately. After all, if we do not react we may lose our opportunity. In order to resolve conflict successfully it is important to think before we react--consider the options, weigh the possibilities. The same reaction is not appropriate for every conflict.
Online, it can be so easy and tempting to respond in the heat of the moment. All the needed tools are laid out and our keyboards are on fire. What if we instead take our time, take a few deep breaths, look at something else, maybe even step away slowly from our computers?
The wood won't go to waste. The city plans to cut it into firewood and deliver it to low-income families who need help heating their homes this winter. About six families could benefit.
"That's utilizing the wood in a better way than just letting it go", McFarland said.
The free firewood program is a new partnership between the city and the Community Action Council, an agency charged with dispensing federal heating funds to low-income families. It's financed through a $28,000 state grant, that pays for removing hazardous trees in low-income neighborhoods and distributing the wood to low-income families, said Stacey Ray, with the city's urban forestry program.
What a perfect solution.
I heard a rumor of this bird and did some quick research, learned about a birder newsgroup and began following the stories coming in. People were really really excited. Reports poured in almost hourly. And it was all happening in my neighborhood. Surely I could see the critter myself.
That began my month of birding hell. I am not a birder myself, I don't know the official terms for things, I don't have a camera or binoculars. I do appreciate the natural world though and I thought, mistakenly, that I too could participate in this.
So the list would say that the bird had been spotted in this type of tree at this address doing this thing with these birds at this moment. I'd stroll out there and find a large group of people all relaxing after having just seen it. The bird that was now gone.
So it went for weeks. Other people saw the bird, I never did. Folks came from Seattle. Portland. From all over, and they saw it.
I never saw the bird, but I did see birders. Driving slowly with intent expressions. I saw a tall guy pacing energetically through the neighborhood with full camera gear including tripod over one shoulder. Jogging clusters of birders, solitary birders, birders with all sorts of nifty equipment.
Friends found out about my failure, they personally weren't that interested in chasing a bird through the cold winter, but they did help by making jokes. We discussed what would happen if a neighborhood cat left me a gift on my door mat and the gift turned out to be.....you guessed it......the bird.
I finally for my own sanity gave up the quest. Certain that very likely the bird was perched in a tree outside my window, laughing.