Dissension in the Ranks: 7 Tips for Peaceful Resolution
You feel it in the pit of your stomach the moment you enter the room.
Something’s not right.
The calm and tranquility that prevailed just hours before have suddenly hardened into a palpable sense of discord and frustration, leaving your pre-event activities at an impasse.
As most medical professionals will attest, the first step in any emergency is to take your own pulse. Still ticking? Good; you’ll want to keep it nice and steady as you lead your strangely deflated team through the darkness and into the light, if only the spotlight in question. After all, the prime directive never changes: the show must go on.
Discord in itself is neither unusual nor unproductive. In event planning, as in many less exotic workplace environments, every “a-ha!” moment seems destined to be greeted by at least one “oh no!” response. Depending on the nature of the epiphany and the subsequent pushback, preparations can be slowed or outright stalled until some resolution is reached. It naturally falls to the event planner to guide all parties through that process as soon as possible.
Dr. David Javitch, an organizational psychologist and author of “How to Achieve Power in Your Life,” offers these 7 steps to resolve an event conflict:
Address the discord directly: Like the referee in a boxing match, you want to bring the polarized parties together, emphasize the need to address the conflict, and reassure them that the outcome can be positive and productive if they approach resolution appropriately.
Listen to both sides separately: Give equal time to listen to their viewpoint, acknowledge their emotions, and discuss their version of the facts or events that created or inflamed the situation.
Bring opposing parties together: When each side is allowed to present their version of events to the other, it often reveals facts or assumptions about which the other party was unaware.
Find common ground: By establishing points upon which both sides agree, you lay the foundation to bridge the remaining gap between them.
Achieve a compromise: In the interests of moving forward, each side must be willing to give a little. Allow time for each side to settle into their sacrifice; tensions will lift as a result.
Confront hard feelings: Humans prefer peace and harmony. Help both parties let go of the toxic feelings from this conflict, lest they fester and resurface at a future event.
Stay positive: Let your approach to resolving this conflict serve as an unwavering example of how you’ll approach difficult situations in the future.