While conflicts between us are normal and necessary, it is absolutely worth our time to resolve those conflicts. And, it is even more worth our time to prepare systems and agreements for when conflicts happen.
Of course, conflict is exhausting work. Don’t mistake your momentary exhaustion with the belief that conflict isn’t worth the energy.
We recommend that organizers plan ahead by creating a conflict resolution system. If possible, create this while your organization is not facing an active conflict. A conflict resolution system should answer the following questions:
How do you plan to instill norms around healthy conflict in your group, such as giving and receiving feedback and avoiding blame?
While this question is important, do not expect its answer to completely prevent the need to answer the following questions.
How do you expect people to behave in conflict? Is there a code of conduct you’d like people to agree to?
How does someone formalize a conflict? E.g., how does one initiate the conflict resolution process?
What happens after the conflict resolution process has been initiated? When do you know if it’s over?
What resources are you willing to invest in conflict resolution? Where will you turn to for mediation when necessary?
Under what circumstances will someone be asked to leave? Who decides?
What other hypothetical solutions might be available to you? Is your organization big enough to have organizers working on separate teams?
How will you make the conflict resolution system known and remembered throughout your organization?