A Conflict Resolution Technique
This is a technique that can be used when conflict arises between two people who must work together. One person can initiate the process, or better yet a work group can decide to adopt the method as one of the ways to improve their ability to function effectively as a team.
- One person (A) goes to another (B) and says: "I would like to have a dialogue with you. Is now O.K.?" The reason person A wants to initiate a dialogue might include:
The person (B) receiving the request for a dialogue grants it now if possible. If not, a mutually suitable time is agreed upon.
In the dialogue, the requester (A) states what's on his/her mind.
When A is finished, B paraphrases as follows
- A is upset with B about something and wants to discuss it.
- A wants to discuss a topic that s/he thinks might be touchy.
- A has an idea s/he wants to implement that will impact B.
When A has finished and B has paraphrased everything, the two switch roles. B now states how s/he feels about the situation, and A paraphrases as in step 4 above.
When the two are finished taking turns stating what's on their minds and paraphrasing each other, A asks "Is there anything more we need to talk about?"
Then A makes a behavior change request. B paraphrases the request and then either grants it or asks for another option if it wouldn't work for him/her in which case A gives another option.
A says "Thank you" to B, and B responds"You're welcome."
When paraphrasing, if your mind shifts to something else, or is constructing a response, stop and say "Let me paraphrase back to you what I've heard so far."
If desirable, a mutually agreed upon third party can be asked to witness and facilitate the process.
- "What I understand you to be saying is ....."
- " Am I paraphrasing you accurately?"
- "Is there anything more you would like to say about that?"
- "I understand. If ...(restate concern)... I expect that I'd be concerned/upset too."
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