|+ Kindness: A Competency for Conflict Resolution
Like any sector, conflict occurs in NGOs.
And there is some belief
that 'soft skills' are not always given the same level of investment as technical capacity is some corners of the sector.
In our sector, there is a diversity of value-driver identities. For many people, these values constitute a significant part of their professional being. In David Brookes opinion piece 'Kindness Is a Skill
' he argues that many aspects of disagreement are often about 'tribal identity' more than substance.
Brooks provides practical tips on negotiating disagreements and resolving a conflict. While some of the suggestions might feel a bit awkward, or even twee, when imagining how they might play out with a 'hard-to-crack'/ self-effacing New Zealand work culture, they do serve as a creative proposition that there is always a way through even the toughest organisational discord. Along with many other bridging techniques, Brookes suggests the below:
1. Less meetings around a problem:
have a conversation based on possibilities, and how assets can be used for constructive mutual benefit.
2. Remember "your narrative will never win":
Often each side wants the other to adopt its narrative and admit wrongdoing or belief. Brook states "This will never happen. Get over it. Find a new narrative".
3. Agree on something:
find a preliminary thing that you can agree on so you can begin a discussion in a space of shared reality.
4. Presume the good:
a disagreement will go better when you work on the basis that the other person has good intentions (although don't 'fake this' in extreme cases).