The Director's Desk

 

Conflict Management 

Conflict happens in even the best of regulated messes and GWTA is no different than any other organization when it comes to experiencing conflict.  Conflicts arise from misunderstandings, misconceptions and lack of communication between people. 

One of the biggest areas of conflict happens when there are strong personalities and they lose focus and become emotional rather than logical about the issues.  We arenít going to like everybody as a best friend and even though it may be hard to believe, there are people who feel that way about us too.  Not wanting to have someone as your best friend doesnít mean you canít accomplish things together. 

The best way to avoid conflict is to TALK AND LISTEN!

  • Acknowledge there is a potential for conflict and express concern.

  • Be courteous.

  • Talk to the people involved and state your position. Do this in a non-confrontational way.

  • Listen to what they have to say when they state their position.

  • Assess the conversation Ė really think about it.

  • Make a written record of the conversations.

  • Make a decision based on whatís best overall, not your personal desires.

  • Tell your decision to the people involved in the conflict and ensure they understand why you are making that decision.  It is best to follow up with a written copy of your decision so thereís no misunderstanding at a later date.

  • Ask for their assistance in implementing the decision; perhaps they will be willing to head a committee for you.

  • Give praise and thanks for their input and cooperation. 

Conflict also comes when we are tasked with evaluating a personís performance or removing someone from a voluntary position.  This is a very sensitive area and it is important that good records are kept.  It is recommended that the party being evaluated receive the evaluation in writing, as sometimes what we say isnít what the other person hears.

  • State clearly what evaluation youíve made and why.

  • State what changes you expect the person to accomplish.

  • Give a deadline for accomplishment and what the consequences will be for not accomplishing the change.

  • Follow up to see what action has taken place since the initial evaluation.  Allow a reasonable length of time before you follow up as some things canít be accomplished overnight.

  • No action?  Restate what you expect or request specific action be accomplished.

  • If after a reasonable time there is still no change and you feel that none is forthcoming, it is time to take the final steps and remove the person.

  • Provide the person with a written request to vacate the position along with instructions on how and when you expect it to be handled.

  • Advise the appropriate parties that you have a position available. When questioned by your peers on what happened donít elaborate -- keep it confidential and respectful to the person leaving the position.

  • Accept that in this type of situation you cannot please everyone.

 

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