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I recently wrote an article called The Empathy Experiment - Team Conflict Management Resolution. It describes a method I've used in the past to get agreement on working teams.

To summarize, I ask each "side" to present the opposing viewpoint to the decision-maker.

http://www.anniebinns.com/the-empathy-experiment-team-conflict-resolution/

I'd be interested if any of you have tried this technique, and if so, what were your results?

Thanks for your feedback,

Annie

US101's picture
ABinns's picture

That was a GREAT podcast - thanks for pointing me in that direction!

-Annie

cwatine's picture

I recently organized two exercice sessions based on disc with my teams. One session was before an offsite meeting about solving some communication issues.
The other was before a meeting determining our Main Goal for the semester to come.
In both cases, those sessions were a succes : they definitely improved communications betwenn people.
They still talk about them because it was alwo great fun!

Links :http://www.manager-tools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1526&postdays=0&post...
(starting page 3)

tomw's picture

It sounds to me like an exercise in the Covey habit "Seek first to understand, then to be understood."

Personally I like it and I could see where participants may not. They might see it as a waste of time, depending on their DISC tendencies.

cwatine's picture

US, I feel the podcast is more adapted to a ineffective conflict.
I also feel that conflict is natural in a team and should even be searched for. I am a fan of LENCIONI books.
After you have settled a trust relation in a team, conflict is seen as positive because it is necessary to let the best decision be taken.
In my opinion, Annie's method is more dedicated to the case when a "productive conflict" is stuck because to member of the discussion stay on their positions.

The method described above is very interesting in the sense that it forces each party to understand the other's point of view.

I would however not use it for decision making (choose one option and kill the other) because :
- most of the time, a good solution is the result of confrontation of different opinions.
- isn't it the role of the manager to make a decision when people can't find agreement?

I will have that in mind when I am confronted to this case in the future. I already have an idea : about once or twice a year, we have a discussion about what will be the best MAIN GOAL for the company for the period to come. This is where the worst (best!) conflicts happen and when my people put all they have in the discussion to defend their ideas...

Many thank for this.