How can we address conflict in a positive manner?

  • by Kate Bowman
  • June 11, 2024

Conflict can arise in many situations. You could have conflict over resources, values, beliefs, or bigger issues such as bullying. Conflict is a part of every day life but it can bring about opportunities for change and improvement.

What strategies can we enlist to help us manage conflict? The way we engage and communicate with the other party can affect the resolution process.

  1. Deal with it quickly. Responding to an issue promptly can help stop it from getting bigger and harder to manage later.
  2. Take a shared approach. We all have different ways of viewing the world, and different ways of thinking. Coming together to seek solutions with an open mind will foster understanding and acceptance of ideas and each other.
  3. Recognise and listen. Manage emotions, be clear and open, be non-judgemental, think of the other party. Be focused and engaged. Actively listen to each other, acknowledge feelings and values.  Frame the conversation for clarity and context. Explore solutions and approaches together, negotiate and be flexible.

Below is a video produced by The Centre for Volunteering that suggests a method to bringing about calm and constructive conversation.

Sometimes conflicts are unable to be resolved via an organisation’s existing grievance pathway. If that is the case, help is at hand. Should you, as a volunteer or a volunteer manager, need help to resolve a conflict you can contact The Centre for Volunteering for assistance.

The Centre for Volunteering have created a conflict resolution program in partnership with Voluntas. Voluntas is a group of mediation professionals and members of volunteer and not-for-profit organisations.

The program focuses on helping volunteers and volunteer managers to have constructive conversations. The Centre for Volunteering is the first point of contact and if they are unable to help you resolve the issue they refer the case on to the mediators at Voluntas.

The help is provided by accredited mediators free of charge and the service is strictly confidential.

If you wish to access this service please contact The Centre for Volunteering on 9261 3600. More information can be found on their website by clicking here.

A free online workshop delivered by The Centre for Volunteering will be held on Tuesday 9 July at 12pm. Join Voluntas Director, Stephen Lanken, as he tackles the concept of the value of listening in conflict resolution. Register by clicking here.

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