Conflict disrupts our lives, yet it pops up all the time – at work, at school, at home, in sports, and anywhere there are at least two people involved.
So what do we do when we cannot seem to get on the same page?
Contact George Cohen.
Cohen has been involved in helping end stalemates for Major League Soccer, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, federal air traffic controllers, teachers, workers in the entertainment industry, and most recently the National Football League. Today he will be a mediator in the National Basketball Association lockout where he will try to work his magic in another challenging situation.
Since most of us won’t have access to George Cohen, the director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliatory Service, there are some things we can learn from his efforts. According to an article by Steve Aschburner on NBA.com, here are some of the methods that we can use to resolve complicated conflicts:
- Approach both parties with humility, fairness, and respect.
- Gather information and perspective from both sides in separate conversations.
- Look for commonalities in these separate conversations.
- Explain expectations for how the time together will work.
- Encourage both parties to keep the conversation going beyond what they have been doing. Having a neutral party helps in that.
- Move the parties involved to talk with each other and not with others not involved in the process.
- Help both parties discover what they will gain through compromise (and what they will lose if they do not).
- Move towards agreement on the big elements and develop the trust to work out the smaller elements.
What other advice would you offer people trying to resolve conflict?