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B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
B5 mediation skills for quick intervention  managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual
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B5 mediation skills for quick intervention managing conflict with angry clients_ participants' manual

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  • 1. Putting out the Fire: Mediation Skills for Quick Intervention 2010 OCASI Executive Directors Forum November 1-3, 2010
  • 2. ©Conflict Resolution Service, St. Stephen's Community House, 2010 St. Stephen’s Conflict Resolution Service St. Stephen's Community House is a community-based social service agency, serving the needs of Kensington Market and surrounding neighbourhoods in downtown West Toronto since 1974. St. Stephen’s Conflict Resolution Service (CRS) offers mediation and training services for people and organizations in conflict or acting to manage future conflict. We draw on over 20 years of practical experience in providing dispute resolution for people from diverse backgrounds in many different types of disputes. Improving communication and strengthening relationships is at the heart of our work. Conflict Resolution Service, St. Stephen’s Community House 91 Bellevue Ave., Toronto, ON. M5T 2N8 416-925-2103 416-925-2271 www.ststephenshouse.com crs.training@ststephenshouse.com Overview: “Putting out the Fire” Mediation Skills for Quick Intervention Interpersonal conflicts are an inevitable part of organizational life, so a key leadership skill is knowing how to resolve them in a timely and constructive way. This workshop will introduce executive directors to mediation principles and techniques that will enhance their ability to respond to conflicts as they arise, and to “put out fires” by improving communication and building understanding between people in dispute. Workshop participants will explore the nature and dynamics of conflict, the role of the mediator, and learn the core mediation skills of interest-based problem solving and active listening. They will then learn how to apply these principles and skills to resolve conflicts “on the spot” using a “Quick Intervention Model.” By the end of the workshop, participants will have a technique they can use to intervene as a neutral third party in conflict situations that may arise between staff, board members, colleagues, clients, partners and others. Workshop Agenda: Part 1: Understanding Conflict - CRS Philosophy of Conflict - The dynamics of conflict escalation Part 2: Responding to conflict using mediation principles 2
  • 3. - What is mediation and the role of the mediator - Interest/needs based approach to problem-solving - Active Listening Part 3: Quick Intervention model _____________________________________________________________________ Thinking about Conflict Differently • Conflict is inevitable; • Conflict is an opportunity for learning, dialogue and understanding; • There are strategies for resolution that are available and DO work. With the right response, conflict can be an opportunity. The Dynamics of Conflict Escalation Interpersonal conflict is often characterized by anger and conflict escalation. Conflicts escalate when people hear another person’s anger, accusations, judgements, complaints etc., and they protect themselves by: Defending and by Attacking with  their behaviour (“I’m not doing anything wrong.”) and  their character (“I'm being reasonable.”)  criticism of the other’s behaviour (“You’ve broken the rules.”);  criticism of the other’s character (“You’re being unreasonable.”);  threats (“I’ll speak to the manager if…”) or insults (“You’re incompetent.”) When the other hears the attacks, they respond similarly by defending themselves and attacking the other. This escalates the conflict as both people shift their attention away from the problem and focus on defending themselves and attacking the other. There is also a physiological basis for conflict escalation. When we are angry or feel put down, let down, shut down or threatened, the rational/cognitive part of our brain is “hijacked” by the amydala (the locus of our survival instincts and emotional memory). When this happens, we can only think in terms of “defense” and “attack”. 3
  • 4. The effects of conflict escalation include:  distrust;  communication breakdown as both avoid hurtful interactions;  misunderstandings that result from unchecked assumptions;  each person’s sense of legitimacy is undermined by the other’s criticisms;  minimal problem solving as each spends energy on defending themselves and attacking the other. If this cycle of conflict escalation is interrupted and reversed, it is possible to build a cooperative problem-solving climate. It also increases the chances of reaching a resolution that will meet everyone’s needs. St. Stephen’s Approach to Mediation Some Key Elements MEDIATOR DISPUTANT DISPUTANT Mediation is a voluntary, informal dispute resolution process in which a third party, the mediator, assists disputants to better understand one another and to find mutually satisfactory solutions 4
  • 5. The role of the mediator: A mediator is: impartial/”multi-partial” in charge of the process a communication facilitator/coach A mediator is not: a judge an advocate for either party A mediator does not solve people’s problems, rather s/he empowers disputants to resolve their own conflicts. Three Approaches to Resolving Conflict 1. A Power-based approach uses force to make someone to do something they would not otherwise do. Power-based approaches include the use of one’s authority, threats, manipulation, physical force, intimidation, public pressure, wars, strikes, acts of civil disobedience, etc. The advantage to this approach is that it can be clear and decisive. The disadvantage is that it results in win-lose settlements, with underlying issues unresolved and great potential for further conflict. 2. A Rights-based approach uses general standards, rules, principles, policies or processes that apply to everyone. You ask, "What's the rule?" that applies to everyone and apply it in that instance. These standards may be explicit and codified in laws, policy manuals, contracts, religious moral codes, etc., or may be implicit in given cultures or contexts. The advantage of this approach is that it is often seen to be fair and just. The disadvantage is that it is less flexible and can lead to dissatisfaction in one or both of the disputants. 3. Interest-based / Win-Win approaches seek to uncover and meet the needs of all parties involved in a conflict. You ask: “What needs or underlying interests are you trying to address by taking a certain position. What is important to you about having what you’re asking for?” Interest- based approaches seek to generate new ways of meeting as many needs of as many of the parties as possible. 5
  • 6. The disadvantage of this approach is that it can take longer to reach resolution. The advantage is that it leads to more durable agreements, as both parties have contributed to the solution. All of these approaches have value, however, many people tend to use power based and rights based approaches when an interest-based approach might have generated a more creative, more satisfying solution for all. In situations where quick or interim solutions are required, an interest based approach can be used in combination with rights and power-based approaches. *Adapted from Ury, Brett and Goldberg., Getting Disputes Resolved: Designing Systems to Cut the Costs of Conflict. The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, 1993. Interest-Based Conflict Resolution Point to Ponder: Can you think of a conflict situation with an angry person that may have had a different outcome if you had been able to uncover and listen for his/her underlying interests? How might the outcome have been different? 6 Interpersonal conflict can occur when people feel that their needs are being threatened or not being met by others. This causes people in conflict to become fixed in their positions, which are judgments, assertions, demands or fixed ideas about how to resolve a problem. Listening for the underlying reasons why someone takes a particular position helps us identify their interests, or what they need or care about. Reflective listening is a way of helping the mediator and the disputants to explore underlying interests. This allows disputants to move away from inflexible positions. When two parties come to a mutual understanding about each other’s interests, they can often generate multiple solutions that allow each of them to meet their needs met without having to compete or compromise. This approach is called win-win, or interest-based, problem-solving.
  • 7. 7
  • 8. Identifying Interests Interests are what people really need or care about. Underneath people’s anger is often disappointment with unmet needs or a fear that their needs will not be met. Anger often leads people to take positions, which are judgments, assertions, demands or fixed ideas about how to resolve a problem: - They are usually accompanied by assumptions about the other person - Positions harden as conflict escalates. People dig into them. - People become invested in positions. Changing them can mean losing face. We need to understand the underlying reasons why people are angry and hold certain positions. Exploring people’s experiences, feelings and values helps us to identify their needs/interests. - Mistaken assumptions are clarified. - Understanding people’s needs/interests leads to better solutions Some Different Types of Interests Substantive Interests (result) “What” Psychological Interests (emotional) Procedural Interests (process) “How” · Things · Resources · Time · Money · Food Respect · Having a voice · Feeling included · Saving face · Feeling cared about · When · How long · How transparent · Fairness · Confidentiality Feelings Experiences Values Interests/Needs Anger & Positions: Underlying Reasons Shared Interests Feelings Experiences Values Interests/Needs You’ve done absolutely nothing on this project! I’m fed up with you! ???? You won’t let me do anything, you control freak! 8
  • 9. Why Should a Mediator Listen Well?  To help the mediator and disputants identify and understand underlying interests  To relieve the pressure of high emotions and calm people down  To show respect for disputants’ needs, values, & feelings  To help disputants organize and clarify their thoughts  To acknowledge concerns without endorsing them Reflective listening helps the disputants feel heard. When a person knows clearly that the things of importance to them have been heard, they: • Feel calmer • Are less likely to respond with defensiveness and attacks, reducing conflict escalation • Have greater willingness to listen • Are more likely to disclose further items of importance Reflective listening empowers disputants to solve their own problems. When a person is invited to contribute information, they: • Feel validated and valued • Become invested in determining a resolution • Are empowered to take control of problem solving 9 The Power of Reflective Listening
  • 10. A Step-by-Step Guide to Reflective Listening (1) Centre yourself and get ready to listen Centre yourself so that you are calm and can give your full attention to the disputants. Get ready to listen with curiosity, openness, respect & interest. Know that you don’t know everything. Resist assumptions. People and situations are unique and complex. Expect to be surprised. Real listening requires respect for people and a genuine interest in what’s important to them. (2) Listen for what is important to the disputants Listen for what is important to each disputant by exploring what is under their anger and the positions they take, including their underlying interests. Some Different Types of Interests 10 Anger & PositionYou’re a control freak! ???? ? Experiences Feelings Values Needs/ Interests C entre yourself and get ready to listen L isten for what is important to the disputants A cknowledge what you heard I nvite more information M ove toward Problem-solving
  • 11. (3) Acknowledge / Reflect what you heard & pause for a response In order to help the disputants feel that you understand what is important to them, reflect back what you heard and then pause to make sure that you have heard them correctly. (4) Invite Information Asking questions can help disputants uncover their underlying interests and express more about what they really need or care about. Take care to ask questions that are open and follow what’s on the mind of each disputant, not what’s on yours. Questions that Drive (that are driven by what is on your mind as the listener) Questions that Ride (that follow what is on the disputant’s mind) You must have really resented that right? How did that affect you? After you gave her instructions, did you follow up? What happened next? Driving tends to  Provoke defensive reactions,  Shut down communication  Make the person feel their ideas are not important Riding tends to  Help the person explore what’s really important to them  Make them feel listened to (5) Move toward Problem solving Invite the disputants’ ideas about how they would like to solve the problem (What if… What do you suggest? What do you think is a fair solution?). If a quick or interim solution is required, you may offer some suggestions or make a decision. 11 LISTEN for what’s important REFLECT WHAT YOU HEARD - Key points - Feelings - Positive values & intentions - Needs/Interests PAUSE for response
  • 12. Reflective Listening Techniques Technique Purpose How to Do This AcknowledgingInformation Restating Key Points "So you've been trying to get this problem resolved for several weeks.” “You find the process too complicated. Is that right?” 1. To show that you’re listening and understand the speaker’s key points 2. To check your meaning and interpretation • Repeat the speaker’s key points or paraphrase in your own words Reflecting Feelings “You seem upset about…” “You’re really frustrated at the length of time this process is taking.” “You were embarrassed when he made that comment in front of everybody. Is that right?” 1. To show that you understand how the other person feels 2. To help the other person consider his/her own feelings after hearing them expressed by someone else • Identify the speaker’s emotions • It is often helpful to include the reason why the speaker feels this way, to avoid sounding patronizing Reflecting Values and Positive Intentions “Being treated fairly is important to you.” “You raised your voice to get her attention. Is that right?” “So you’ve done everything you can think of to resolve this.” 1. To acknowledge the speaker’s values and how they affect the conflict 2. To recognize the speaker’s positive intentions and efforts • Identify the speaker’s values, positive intentions or positive efforts InvitingInformation Encouraging 1. To convey interest and connectedness 2. To give space to the speaker 3. To encourage the speaker to keep talking • Be attentive • Minimize distractions • Be aware of your body language • Pause & allow for silence • Self monitor before speaking Clarifying Questions “Can you say more about that?” "What happens when….?" "What is it that she’s doing that bothers you?" 1. To clarify what is said 2. To get more information 3. To help the speaker be concrete & specific • Ask open-ended questions • Ask questions that follow the speaker’s thoughts 12
  • 13. Reflective Listening Checklist (Observer: Record in the relevant box examples of skills used by the listener you observe) Encouraging • encouraging body language • allow for silence • invitations to say more Clarifying Questions • ask open-ended questions that encourage the speaker to talk • ask questions that follow the speaker’s thoughts Restating Key Points • briefly state speaker's main points • encourage speaker to correct you Reflecting Feelings • identify speaker's emotions • encourage speaker to correct you Reflecting Values & Positive Intentions • acknowledge speaker's values, positive intentions and efforts 13
  • 14. Communication Blockers The following approaches tend to discourage people from telling you about their feelings, experiences, values, needs and interests. We are not saying these approaches are never appropriate; for instance, in some situations it may be helpful to reassure someone or give them advice. Before doing so, however, it is good to ask yourself if you have really taken the time to hear the person out and acknowledge their interests. COMMUNICATION BLOCKER EXAMPLE Advising “What you should do is…” Analysing / Diagnosing “The problem as I see it is…” “you’re only worried about this because you are an uptight kind of person’ Blaming “This would never have happened if you hadn’t…” ‘you always’ ‘you never’ Cross-Examining Fast paced, close-ended questions eg ‘what did you do that for’ but not really asking Diverting “What she did is not the issue. What about when …?” Judging/Evaluating “What you’re doing wrong is…” “The only good thing about this is…” Using Non-Verbal Blockers Negative body language: crossed arms, frowning Negative noises: huffing, sighing, tsking Distracting movements: pacing, tapping, leg-shaking Reassuring/Minimizing “Don’t worry, it’s no big deal.” “That’s just how Bob is.” Denying other people’s feelings ‘You shouldn’t feel like that’ Using ‘BUT’ instead of “AND” ‘I know that’s what you think, BUT’ (remember: Never put a “BUT” in the face of an angry person!) Defending the other ‘I know why she acts like that, it’s because, and she’s just trying to…’ Being philosophical ‘There’s nothing you can do about this anyway, it’ll never change’’ 14
  • 15. Quick Intervention Checklist  Get the attention of each disputant  Separate them if necessary  Tell them you are going to listen to them one at a time  Use Reflective Listening Techniques to de-escalate each person & explore their interests • Restating Key Points/Summarizing/ Paraphrasing • Reflecting Feelings • Reflecting Values • Encouraging • Clarifying: Asking questions that “ride”  Problem-solve Choose one of the following approaches, based on your assessment of the situation: • Involve the disputants in solving the problem. If necessary, defer problem-solving to a later time. Use reflective listening to help disputants understand each other & communicate what is important to them. • Suggest possible solutions and ask disputants for their agreement. If necessary, find a more satisfactory solution at a later time using reflective listening and an interest-based approach. • Make a decision on the spot. Meet with the disputants later and use reflective listening and an interest-based approach to find a longer-term solution that they will “buy into”. 15
  • 16. Quick Intervention Model Mediation principles applied to resolve a conflict “on the spot” 1) Get the attention of the disputants/separate them if necessary • Get the attention of the disputants: make sure they are looking at you and have stopped what they were doing. • Normalize conflict and differences of opinion – these are to be expected, not judged. Conflict is an opportunity for greater understanding. 2) Tell them that you are going to listen to them one at a time • Ask for their co-operation so that you can hear each person’s concerns, e.g., “I want to hear from each of you. This will work best if I get to hear from each of you without interruption. Can you agree to that?” • If someone interrupts, remind them that you need them to wait and reassure them that they will have their turn soon, e.g, “Just a minute – I’ll be able to hear what’s on your mind very soon. Anne, please continue. . .” 3) Use reflective listening techniques • This is important a) to defuse the situation, b) to make it clear that to each person that you have heard the underlying reasons for their anger/position, and understand their needs/interests, and c) to give each person a better chance of hearing the other person’s needs/interests, since they will hear the other person talking and will also hear your restatement. • Make sure to acknowledge values and needs, e.g., “It’s important to you that time limits be respected; and right now you want to use the computer because you need to . . .” It is easier for each person to consider the other person’s needs if they know that their values and needs are recognized. Acknowledging needs will set the stage for effective problem-solving. • Acknowledge positive intentions and efforts, as well as how they’ve been affected by the problem. 16
  • 17. • Within your time limits, allow as many short turns for each person as you need in order to a) defuse the situation adequately, and b) understand the situation adequately. • It is essential to restate/summarize/paraphrase as you are ending someone’s turn. • You may want to coach disputants to speak in terms that the other person can hear, perhaps ask them to summarize what the other person is saying 4) Problem-solve • Start by summarizing the needs/interests of both people and by stating that the goal is a resolution that meets both sets of needs, e.g., “This is the situation: Anne needs time to do X and needs a way that she can be sure of Y, and Bernard needs timely information about Z , assistance in A, and to clarify what should happen when B occurs. Let’s try to find a resolution that will meet those needs as much as possible.” Then choose one of the following three approaches, depending on your assessment of the situation: • Involve them in solving the problem. Get their ideas, e.g., “What can you suggest that would meet both your needs?” If one objects to a suggestion made by the other, encourage them to generate more ideas before evaluating them, e.g., “Let’s get a number of ideas out before we talk about deciding on something.” If one person seems to expect the other person simply to change, try asking “What can you think of that you can do to help resolve the situation?” When they have agreed, thank them for working out a resolution. This method has the advantages of modeling good listening and problem- solving skills and getting them to feel more committed to the resolution, more than if the resolution came from an outside authority (the manager). It also increases the chances of more comfortable interaction the next time they meet because they have shaped the resolution together. Depending on the situation, though, this approach may take more time to work through. • Suggest a possible solution. Suggest possible solutions that you feel will meet their needs reasonably well, and ask them if they would agree to it, e.g., “Would you, Anne, be willing for Bernard do X, then you can do Y – would that meet your needs? And Bernard, would that work for you?” When you reach a resolution they agree to, thank them for being willing to be flexible. 17
  • 18. It may help, before you make your suggestion, to use an “I message”, since by deciding the issue you have entered the negotiation as additional negotiator, e.g., “Because of our time pressures, I would like to make a suggestion. Would you . . . [describe the suggestion] I’d like us to be able to discuss this at a time when we are not under pressure and I’m going to arrange that.” If necessary, find a more satisfactory solution at a later time using reflective listening techniques and an interest-based approach. • Make a decision. Tell them what you have decided, e.g., refer to a rule and say “therefore you will need to come back this afternoon if you want to use the computer longer today”. It may help also to acknowledge their reaction to this decision or the effect on them and to use an I message, since by deciding the issue you have entered the negotiation as additional negotiator, e.g., “You’re concerned about handling the extra work this creates. I wish it could be different, but, given the circumstances, we’re pretty limited in our choices.” You may need to make a decision if they are not able to come to a resolution of their own, even with your help. At a later time, you may want to consult disputants and use an interest-based approach to find a longer-term solution that they will “buy into.” 5) Conclude by • affirming each person for engaging in the process or making efforts to improve the situation, • noting any positive outcomes of the intervention, and • discussing follow-up or next steps (if necessary). Follow-up When a conflict has been dealt with “on the spot”, observe what happens afterwards and consider whether a) it would be useful to provide a more relaxed mediation which could cover the situation in more depth and in which they could consider additional and possibly more far-reaching alternatives for a long-term resolution, or whether b) it would be helpful to deal in a different way with the circumstances leading to the conflict. 18
  • 19. Sample Conflict Scenarios 1. You’re walking down the hall and you overhear the following: Manager to a staff person: “You're always late! This is the last time I'm going to warn you about it. If you can't get to work on time, don't bother showing up at all!” Staff person: “I told you that I have child care responsibilities. You’re heartless and unfair! 2. At a board meeting, a director says to the president, “You’re hoarding all of the information. There’s no transparency around here!” The president replies by saying, “On the contrary, the problem is that you don’t bother taking the time to read the dockets, so you come to our meetings totally unprepared!”. 3. A staff person has requested a meeting with you and her manager to discuss a poor performance review. At the meeting, the staff says to her manager, “This review is completely unjustified. You’re just trying to get rid of me!” In response, the manager says, “You’re always whining and complaining about what I do! This is just the latest example.” 4. Other ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ 19
  • 20. NOTES 20
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