8.6 Practical guidelines and approaches
Getting people to agree can sometimes seem easy—people may say they are satisfied when in fact they are not.
The real trick is getting an informed consensus and satisfaction to last—and to work.
8.6.1 Getting satisfaction
When setting up meetings, discussions, or making decisions about disputes and complaints, it is a good idea to remember that most people have interdependent needs they want considered.
It is not possible to please everyone all of the time, but in order to get an outcome that moves people out of dispute mode into more cooperative behaviour, check whether you have considered these three areas of interest.
8.6.2 Managing disputes in meetings
All organisations come across controversies about changes or decisions under consideration at meetings. Many are driven by issues and personalities.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, but the way they are handled can determine whether an organisation will emerge from the discussions bruised and divided, or healed, confident and united.
Here the role of a good chairperson or facilitator is invaluable.
8.6.3 Managing issue-based conflict
If the substantive issue under dispute or the subject of complaint is not adequately addressed, the parties involved will not be satisfied or will not change their antagonistic behaviours.
Several effective strategies and tips are set out below.
8.6.4 Managing personality-based conflict
If emotional or personality-driven conflicts become entrenched into politicised positions they are extremely difficult to resolve.
Early intervention based on objective, fair and open processes is critical to addressing these conflicts.
8.6.5 Collaborative decision making
It should go without saying that if the people who are most directly involved in a dispute are able to actively participate in determining the process and making decisions, the more sustainable the outcome will be.
Yet this is an area where organisations often resort to closed ranks and hierarchical decision making.
Promoting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consensus methods of decision making into the arena of dispute resolution within organisations can significantly enhance the success and resilience of outcomes.
This means enabling your staff members to become collaborators in developing their own codes of conduct and making collective decisions about what constitutes fair process.
What can we do? Solving the dispute as a group
This tool provides a basic five-step model for a group approach to problem solving using a facilitator. It has been adapted from ORIC resources.