Working with conflict
What’s possible for us all if we work with conflict like never before?
Although collaboration is often associated with working well together, it can also be a challenging way of working and relating. If you are practicing, you know that it can bring up personal challenges with conflict. And many of us find it difficult, at least to some extent, to effectively address conflict or confront difficult situations.
It was clear to us, from the outset when we were designing Gather ’Round, our year long participatory leadership program, we would need to dedicate a good amount of time to exploring conflict to address these challenges. This really came to life as we jumped headlong into two weekend-long residential trainings for program participants.
We designed this offering from our collective, diverse experiences, learnings and practice over the years, and largely informed by:
Dialogue for Peaceful Change, and the work of Colin Craig (Northern Ireland), and the late Jaap Van Der Sar (The Netherlands)
The work of Max St John (UK), an Art of Hosting, Non Violent Communication, and Qigong practitioner
Going Horizontal and the work of Percolab
Our own Art of Hosting and Groundwork practices
Here’s a quick overview of what we covered in Working with Conflict:
Firstly we surfaced our individual questions and challenges around conflict and explored conflict in ourselves and with others. We inquired using storytelling, dialogue and reflection - into what sits underneath conflict, needs as the underlying driver of our thoughts, feelings and behaviour, the body in conflict and ways to reset and process inner conflict, and address difficult situations with others.
Then we turned to hosting others - before, in, and after conflict. We explored relationship mapping and pillars of conflict, a conflict iceberg model and a World Cafe to collectively make sense of our experience and learn together.
Our circle practice and principles was the glue that held these practices together, along with a strong intention to put relationships first, to share meals together and to build community through taking care of cooking and cleaning.
It turns out, our instincts were right. Being able to work with conflict is a stretch for most of us. But bringing awareness to it, and providing a safe space to explore these challenges together, shifted things for us as hosts and for participants. There is so much opportunity for individual growth and learning in it. Most of us left feeling more prepared and confident in our ability to work with conflict in our work, communities, and families.
We are grateful for the opportunity to practice and experiment with some of the concepts, ideas and practices we’ve been using and for validating that others might find value in this too.
And we are now delighted to be able to offer Working with Conflict as both a public, or in house training. Get in touch if you’d like to know more.
In the words of …
This is what some of the participants said:
“A sense of contentment and real relief. A clear pathway forward and clarity on my role in the conflicts that I am in.”
“This is time for me to step into my next layer of healing. Hopeful and knowing there is possibility.”
“(I’m) now more comfortable in dealing with conflict and possibility of conflict leading to something new. I now have a deeper understanding of conflict. I now embrace conflict as a normal part of life - lots of learning!”
“(I) started with a sense of avoiding conflict, now feel quite prepared to be part of it in a productive way, practices such a practical application, charged mindset towards conflict itself.”