If you lead or manage people, processes or projects, you have experienced workplace conflict. After all, where there are people, there is conflict. And where there is conflict, there is a choice.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Resources
Emotional intelligence — a phrase coined by two psychologists and academicians, John Mayer, of the University of New Hampshire, and Peter Salovey of Yale University and made popular by Danial Goleman in his best-selling book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ — is one of the most critical yet overlooked aspects of effective leadership in the workplace.
Too often organizations are headed by visionaries and/or high-performers who rose into leadership positions as a means of rewarding high performance. But being a visionary and a high-performer are not necessarily indicators of effective leadership.
Restorative justice is a process for achieving justice that helps to restore the dignity of all people involved in a wrong-doing and puts into place a framework for all people involved to have the opportunity to share in their mutual human development.
If you manage people, projects or processes, you most likely experience near constant workplace conflict. Conflict is normal and will always be a part of any professional setting. Where there are people, there is always conflict. What makes conflict productive or unproductive is how it is managed. How leaders choose to deal with conflict has a widespread ripple effect throughout their teams and organizations.
Mediators and peacemakers work with individuals and groups experiencing conflict. The role of a mediator is to be an impartial, third-party facilitator who helps individuals and / or groups achieve resolution to a conflict. A “conflict sherpa,” the mediator is trained to move parties through a resolution process while ensuring the parties maintain complete control over the outcome. The process for arriving at resolution belongs to the mediator. The resolution of the dispute belongs to the parties, which means a resolution may or may not occur. Relationships may or may not be restored. The pain associated with the conflict may or may not be healed. Forgiveness may or may not be desired and / or achieved. The role of a peacemaker and peace-builder goes far beyond that.
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In my work as a peace-building trainer, I have the opportunity to work with people most of society has deemed as monsters: Drug dealers. Killers. Genocide perpetrators.
I also have the opportunity to work with crime victims: Rape survivors. Families who have lost a loved one to murder. And individuals who have survived genocide.
Conflict is normal and occurs in every aspect of our lives, yet it is especially prevalent in the workplace. In fact, a study commissioned by CPP, Inc. in partnership with OPP, Ltd. found that 85 percent of the study’s participants reported experiencing conflict in the workplace at “some level” and 29 percent reported experiencing conflict in the workplace “almost constantly.”
Last Saturday I attended the St. Louis Blues / Dallas Stars game. It was an exciting game that had the fans of both teams on the edge of their seats. At one point during the game, a St. Louis Blues player lost control of his hockey stick, and it was projected out of the rink. Unlike a fly baseball which is typically caught only by one person, the hockey stick, given its size, was caught by several people. An intense three-person round of tug-of-war ensued.
The criminal justice system of the United States is a punitive system designed to hold individuals who have committed crimes accountable to the state. Within this system, “accountable” is synonymous with “punishment.” Because the criminal justice system is focused almost exclusively on the person who committed the crime and the punishment that person should receive, those who are most affected by the crime are alienated from the process.
Several weekends ago I headed to the airport with a friend for a much anticipated weekend getaway to Montreal. Neither of us had been to Canada, and we both were looking forward to a weekend filled with adventure. Little did we know our adventure would begin at the airport.