Often there are two possibilities:
to help the client in his organisation to repair the disturbed relationship between people or parts of the organisation
to help the client to come to a decision about how parties which are in conflict with each other, are going to proceed, whether inside or outside the organisation, in order to end the damaging effects of the conflict.
At the start of the consultation mostly it is not yet known which option will prevail.
The intervention of the consultant has as a purpose that the problem will be solved. Eventually an export will afterwards be needed to write down the agreed upon arrangements.
Mostly the intervention helps to create more space for a more businesslike relationship, which allows for effective collaboration.
After making contact an exploratory meeting is set, to discuss:
- what are the issues which create discrepancies
- what are the different points of view
- what is seen as desirable outcomes
- how the people concerned think about a procedure to follow.
After this exploration the consultant puts forward a proposal for an approach or a way to proceed. All parties concerned are requested to explicitly agree. This approach is to be followed. At the end a short report is made on the attained results.
A proposition can contain:
some further investigations
a couple of follow-up interviews
- on one to one with the consultant
- bilateral with the consultant as third party
- in a group meeting, facilitated by the consultant
one or more workshops
formulating a protocol
or a combination n of some of these.
Background of working method
Conflict management is done to measure. But always - in my experience – a very strict working method is requested which does not allow for non commitment; a clear agreement beforehand is necessary which involves all parties concerned.
My approach is based on a systemic point of view, which supposes:
there is no question of guilt of one or more parties
parties influence each other reciprocally
contradictions escalate and de-escalate according to recognisable patterns
people are able and willing to see their own role and responsibility
small changes can have an effect on the whole picture
an independent but empathic third party can make a lot of difference.