Conflict is an unavoidable part of human interaction, and it is no surprise that it can also arise in meetings. As a facilitator, managing conflict in meetings is a critical skill. It is essential to understand conflict styles, patterns, and behaviours to manage and resolve conflict effectively. In this blog, we will discuss the role of a facilitator in managing conflict, the different conflict styles, and how to improve your conflict management skills.
The facilitator’s role in managing conflict is to facilitate communication, establish ground rules, and maintain neutrality while guiding the conversation toward a resolution. Facilitators should understand and be flexible with their own and others’ conflict management styles. They should also use effective decision-making tools, like our 5 step conflict mediation process. It is also important to balance maintaining neutrality and intervening when it’s necessary.
One way to manage conflict in meetings is to be aware of conflict styles, most importantly your own. Once you know your style, you can manage your own behaviour better. It’s important to remember, you can only control your own 50% of any interaction, so take charge of your own actions!
The five conflict styles according to Thomas-Killmen Instrument are competing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding, and accommodating. Each style has its strengths and weaknesses and understanding them is essential to managing conflict effectively.
When you know yourself, it makes it easier to adjust your style and interventions to the specific situation. Observing others’ behaviour and determining their relative levels of assertiveness and cooperativeness is also essential. As a facilitator, you may need to borrow from other styles to build buy-in to the process. That means developing the skills to determine the style of others and assessing their behaviour.
Keep conflict styles in mind when deciding whether to intervene and choose an intervention that fits the conflict style(s)
In conclusion, managing conflict in meetings requires a facilitator to understand conflict styles, manage their behaviour, and maintain neutrality. By embracing different conflict styles, understanding others’ behaviours, and establishing operating guidelines, facilitators can resolve conflicts in meetings effectively. Remember, conflict can lead to growth and innovation, so don’t be afraid to embrace it and learn from it.
Do you have a unique meeting challenge not covered by one of our blog posts? We’re always looking for different dilemmas to discuss in our articles!