Whether it is in the workplace or our personal lives, we’ve all dealt with ineffective communication that has eventually led to conflict. To address these issues, Spokes was pleased to have Steffanie Medina and Kelly Donohue of Creative Mediation instruct one of our most recent workshops: “Communication Conflict and Collaboration”. Some highlights from the class include:
There are five steps in any communication process:
Sender –> Message –> Method –> Receiver –> Feedback (which goes back to the sender – note: even silence can be considered feedback!)
Although this seems like a simple process, there are many ways in which the communication goes astray – one reason being that the expectations may be mismatched from the beginning. For the message to be clear, both the sender and receiver must clarify and understand what is driving the message. Although an expectation may be communicated, there can many underlying interests and layers within that particular expectation.
First off, it is helpful that we recognize our own conflict management style. There are four types of styles: confrontive, persuasive, observant/introspective and avoidant. None of these styles are wrong, but there can be pros and cons to each one. We learned that these styles can be situational based (or change after time). Ex: One may be persuasive during conflict at home, but avoidant in a work-setting. What is your conflict management style? Click here to take the survey!
No matter your style of managing conflict, these tips can be helpful when aiming toward resolution:
-Be honest with yourself, ask the other party open-ended questions to find out their wants/needs
-Pay attention to feelings (as they can be clues to the underlying layers)
-Digging for “truth” or “what’s right” doesn’t produce the best solutions.
During the workshop, attendees exchanged ideas and advice in regard to effective communication and conflict resolution. Catalina Coz, Outreach Coordinator at GRID Alternatives, stated: “I learned powerful tools to communicate more professionally and productively with peers and supervisors.”
Thank you to Steffanie and Kelly for presenting this valuable material!