Facilitators Need to Embrace Conflict

As facilitators, we’re likely to step into situations where there’s overt or more often, underlying conflict.

In this ‘on the couch’ episode of Facilitation TV,  Margo O’Byrne and I revisit conflict in meetings. We’re discussing it from a facilitators perspective.

By asking participants to discuss a situation openly, we consciously or unconsciously invite any latent conflict within a group to surface.

Why it conflict is needed

If there’s no conflict, there’s often no passion. When we allow only for “niceness” it can leave people feeling they have little or no interest in the outcome. Hence they are less likely contribute in a meaningful, constructive, focused or committed manner.

The purpose of fostering constructive conflict is to have everyone put all their cards on the table, so they can disagree, diverge, be “ambiguous”, be inconsistent with “conventional wisdom” and be out in the open with their views or perspectives — regardless of their role, position, or place in the hierarchy.

Don’t by shy

It’s not something we should be avoiding.

Our job as facilitators is to create a constructive and safe environment where information can be refuted, people can feel free to disagree, and where ideas can be countered but not silenced, cut off or shut down. There can be a lot of noise, excitement or passion— but nobody gets hurt.

In this episode of Facilitation TV we give you some simple tips in:

  • Preparation
  • Helping shape participants mindsets
  • Using group guidelines
  • Tips for managing conflict when it emerges

PS – You’re clearly smart and want to be ‘ahead of the pack’, so be sure to subscribe to gain direct access to your premiere viewings of Facilitation TV. I promise not to overload you with emails, with one episode each fortnight. If you have requests for topics in future episodes, please contact me.

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Andrew Huffer

Andrew Huffer has over 25 years experience in working with organisations, businesses, managers and communities and at a state, national and international level. He designs and delivers specialist engagement processes, with a focus on facilitating open decision making processes and skill development of clients. He has delivered presentations and workshops at a number of state, national and international conferences.

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