Friday, February 14, 2014

Managing Conflict on a Board

Tips for avoiding conflicts: 

  • Avoid argument. Whenever you have a group of people with different backgrounds, views, opinions and beliefs, there is a possibility for opposing views. More important than winning or proving you are right, is expressing your ideas in a clear and compelling manner. If you disagree with another person on a board, express yourself in a respectful and thoughtful manner.
  • Express appreciation for the people on the board. Thank others for their time, effort, help, suggestions and work. Praise people for work well done.
  • Be positive. Smile and be friendly. Try to find good in every person and situation. 
  • Listen attentively. A lot of conflict can be avoided by listening more than speaking. Ask questions for clarification. Try to understand other points of view. Be open to other views.
  • Think before you speak. Be aware of the feelings and sensitivities of other people.

Tips for managing conflicts:

  • Ask those who disagree to paraphrase one another’s comments. This may help them learn if they really understand one another.
  • Work out a compromise. Agree on the underlying source of conflict, then engage in give-and-take and finally agree on a solution.
  • Ask each member to provide input on what possible compromises could be made. Select a compromise that is agreeable to everyone and make sure it meets board goals. 
  • Conflicting sides could write down main concerns or questions. This would allow each side to signal their major concerns about the other side’s position and the answers may lead to a compromise.
  • Convince team members they sometimes may have to accept a compromise for the greater good of the organization.