Presentation for OCSTA by Fr. RémiLessard Conflict – Managing it Creatively
The Nature of Conflict • Conflict is a normal and inevitable part of life • The effects of conflict can be either disruptive and destructive or creative and constructive. • Inability of cope with conflict leads to to increased hostility, antagonism and divisiveness: clear thinking disintegrates, and prejudice and dogmatism come to prevail.
Conflict management • CM does not necessarily seek to terminate or even solve conflict • CM seek to increase understanding of issues, factors and points of view • CM seek to create group cohesion through: mutual respect and confidence in group’s ability • CM seek to improve self-knowledge through examination of goals, values and focus
Conflict management • CM seeks to foster openness to change and adaptation • CM seeks to improve trust in the process and the people involved • CM seeks to increase collaboration • CM seeks informed decision rather than the forced agreements of “group thinking”
Biblical Foundation • Theology of friendship: Jesus and Pharisees: You are like whitewashed tombs (Matthew 23,27)) • Theology of service: washing each others feet (John 13,1-15) • Theology of presence: what do you want? (Mark 10,46-47) • Theology of justice: healing on Sabbath day (Matthew 12,10) • Theology of sharing: multiplication of the loaves (John 6, 1-14) • Theology of forgiveness: one must forgive seventy time seven (Matthew 15, 21-22)
Theological Foundation • Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anaemic. (Martin Luther King) • The opposite to war isn’t peace, it’s creation. (A character in Jonathan Larson’s Broadway play : Rent)
Power and Love: Paul Tillich • Power is the drive of everything living to realize itself, with increasing intensity and extensity • Love is the drive towards the unity of the separated.
Power and Love • Power and love have generative sides and degenerative sides • Love is what makes power generative instead of degenerative • Power is what makes love generative instead of degenerative • Will without love becomes manipulation and love without will become sentimental
Power • The generative side of power is the power-to, as the drive to self-realization. • The degenerative shadow, is power-over, the stealing or suppression of the self-realization of another
Love • Love is generative when it empowers us and other: when it helps us, individually and collectively, to complete ourselves and grow. • Love is degenerative-sentimental and anaemic, or worse, when it overlooks or denies or suffocates power.
Power and loveTwo fundamental drives Power Love The drive to realization, to achieve one’s purpose, to get one’s job done, to grow The drive to unity, to reconnect and make whole that which has become or appears fragmented
Love over powerDegenerative love Power Love Submissive and lifeless peace Not pushing anything on anyone in order to get along Let others win to preserve goodwill and harmony Talk and negotiate endlessly Successful processes producing unsuccessful results Nothing new created
Power over loveDegenerative Power Love Power Aggressive war Pushing things through, no matter what Make deals to get things to go our the way Insensitivity and callousness Impose solutions Nothing new created
Key assumptions Degenerative power camp All you need is power. The context in which we create is a terra nullius, an empty world, an open frontier, a white space, a blank canvas. We don’t need the connections: disposable people and planet. Loving wastes valuable and precious time. Degenerative love camp All you need is love. Establishing connections gives us enough momentum and direction to realize and sustain change. Power is a dirty; it corrupts. We don’t need it. We won’t have anything to to with power. Without power, nothing new grows Without love, there is no space to grow into.
Key assumptions Generative power camp Without love, there is no space or opening to grow into. Love expands our intelligence and builds our capacity for co-creation. Connectedness is as valuable as directiveness. To be afraid of using love – of being hurt – is to be paralyzed into isolation. Generative love camp Without power, nothing new grows. Power is never absent. It must be acknowledged, understood and discussed productively. The ignorance and concealment of power corrupts. To be afraid of using power – of hurting anyone – is to be paralyzed into inaction.
The great balancing act Learning to employ both power and love is like learning to walk on two legs. We can’t walk only on one leg, just as we can’t address our toughest social problems only with power or only with love. But walking on two legs doesn’t mean either moving them both at the same time or always being stably balanced. On the contrary it means moving first one leg and then the other and always being out of balance – or more precisely, always being in dynamic balance.
Continued The key to walking on two legs is that even when we are focussing on one, we must not forget the other. Our capacity to take a next step that will move us forward depends on our capacity to recognize the state of our power and love.
Way of walking # 1 Fall down
Way of walking # 2 Stumbling dangerously
Way of walking # 3 Walking fluidly
Way of walking # 4 Power & Love Mastery
Source Adam Kahane, Power and Love. A Theory and Practice of Social Change, San Francisco, Berrett-Koehler, 2010. “Power and Love should be read and reread by anyone seriously committed to addressing though problems.” Morris Rosenberg
The Board and Conflict • Conflict results from: • Lack of information • Different views of what information is important • Varying interpretations of available information. Conflict is rooted in different needs or interest and the perception that all the choices facing the board are in competition. Structural conflict involves a struggle over power or authority. Value conflicts results form different ideals, different ways of understanding the world.
Types of conflict • Between board members • Between the board and the director • Between the organization and its constituency
Good Practices in Managing Conflict • Pay attention to good interpersonal communications • Operate with a strategic plan • Clarify roles and responsibilities • Help develop a skilled chairperson
Good Practices in Managing Conflict • Learn about conflict resolution processes • Establish a code of conduct for the board • Encourage board self-assessment • Celebrate agreements and new understanding
Responses to Conflict • Emotional responses • Cognitive responses • Physical responses
Conflict Styles • Competitive style: People who tend towards this style take a firm stand and know what they want. • Collaborative style: People who tends towards this style try to meet the needs or all people involved. • Compromising style: People who prefer this style try to find a situation that will partially satisfy everyone.
Conflict Styles • Accommodating style: This style indicates a willingness to meet the needs of others at the expenses of one’s own needs. • Avoiding style: People who tends towards this style don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and they sometimes evade the conflict entirely by delegating difficult decisions.
Five-Step Conflict Resolution Process • Step one: Set the scene • Step two: Gather information • Step three: Agree on the problem • Step four: Brainstorm possible solutions • Step five: Negotiate a solution
Active listening • Listen in order to fully understand what is being said to you. • Rephrase what you heard the person say so you can be sure you heard correctly. • Ask questions that help you get more information, e.g. “What did you mean when you said…? » • Offer encouragement and support. • Ask how the person feels. Be careful not to assume that you know how the person feels.
Communication blockers • Blaming and attacking • Being distracted or using other body language that is non-attentive • Dismissing or making light of someone’s problem • Interrupting • Lecturing/moralizing • “Yes… but.” statements
Communications Enhancers • Asking for more information and problem solving together • Giving full attention such as making eye contact or leaning toward the other person • Showing empathy, validating the other person’s feeling • Staying silent until the person is finished speaking • Withholding judgement • “Yes… and” statements