I have found conflict to be inevitable – with most of us choosing the fight or flight pattern. I have also found that conflict can be transforming if we surrender to it in humility and hope.
Conflict is a vital and healthy part of life. It is where supposedly incompatible perspectives, values, and desires compete for control. It is apparent in both our inner and outer world – internal and relational conflict often overwhelms our lives and the world we live in. Our orientation toward judgment and dysfunctional patterns fuels our fight or flight response.
Conflict is vital for empowerment. Successful collaboration embraces conflict in an attempt to meet the needs of everyone. In the context of awareness, communication, and agreement, conflict can be transfomed for win/win solutions and co-creative synergy.
The mediation model is designed as a collaborative approach to problem solving. In contrast to the win/lose approach of competition and litigation, mediation moves beyond compromise to craft solutions where everyone’s values are repected and needs are met. The process incorporates conscious communication and participatory decision making principles:
- Identify the problem – with respect of everyone’s perspective without evaluation
- Clarify the issues – with exploration of all aspects
- Generate options – with priorities and creative solutions that meet everyone’s need
- Negotiate resolution – with clarity of agreement
The mediation process is inherent in Sociocracy. I also incorporate the practice of BePeace, and a mediation exercise designed from that practice, for emotionally charged issues.