Dealing with conflict is a fact of every facilitator's life. Consider the following scenario: you're facilitating an important meeting. Everything is going along great until you hit the third agenda item. Suddenly two members start arguing. Listening goes out the window, as each person pushes his or her ideas. The rest of the group becomes uncomfortable as the two combatants become ever more emotional. The discussion spins in circles. What do you do?
For starters remember that differences of opinion are a normal part of any human interaction. The fact that people are arguing does not mean that you're doing a poor job. It is, however, a call to action. As facilitators, we need to intervene to restore group effectiveness. Standing on the sidelines and watching people fight is simply not an option.
All facilitators need to be attuned to the differences between a debate and an argument. Healthy debate is essential. Dysfunctional arguments, on the other hand, lead to disaster.
|IN HEALTHY DEBATES||IN DYSFUNCTIONAL ARGUMENTS|
|People are open to hearing others' ideas.||People assume they're right.|
|People listen ...|