Gary Harper, through Harper and Associates, has been working with the “people side of organizations” by providing conflict resolution and communication training, facilitation and mediation services. Gary is a trainer, writer, speaker and facilitator who recently authored The Joy of Conflict Resolution. His workshops and presentations offer accessible, practical concepts and strategies to understand and resolve conflict.
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Lessons in Mediation: Use Your Words
How often have found yourself in conflict with someone who you felt was “acting like a spoiled brat” or “behaving like a child”? If you have, you’re in good company. You’re also closer to understanding these situations than you thought you were, for difficult behaviour in adults often reflects strategies learned as children.
ADR: Simple But Not Easy
Conflict resolution is, in theory, quite simple. Yet who among us hasn’t experienced times when our common sense flies out the window and even the most basic skills desert us. Those times demonstrate that conflict resolution may be simple, but is far from easy. Let’s see why.
The Passive-Aggressive: Terrorist or Freedom Fighter?
Collaborative conflict resolution requires a safe space for the conflict to exist. A hostile climate drives people underground, but curiosity, respect, and a willingness to be influenced encourage open communication.
Why Do You Ask?
A question invites the responder to disclose something about themselves, their situation or their perspective. On hearing a question, we often wonder “why are you asking?” Or we may react to a perceived judgement or assumption contained in the question.
We're Not in Kansas Anymore, Toto
Each person in a conflict has their own story. These stories play out as dramas, in which we see ourselves as the innocent victim and cast our adversary as the villain. Our adversaries, on the other hand, see themselves as the victim and see us as the villain. This cycle of victimization, attack and defense can be characterized as a drama triangle of conflict.
The Power of Metaphor
In conflict, listen for word pictures. With so many people using their brains in different ways during the mediation process, it is important to find the right words and images to connect with your clients.
From Gary Harper
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Once Upon A Conflict: The Journey from Confrontation to Collaboration
In conflict, everyone has a story—or at least their side of the story. To better understand these stories, try prefacing them with the words “Once upon a time.”
Fairy tales feature three main types of characters: the victim (often represented as a damsel in distress or an innocent youth); the villain (a witch, giant or dragon); and the hero (the white knight or young prince). We encounter these same character types on the front page of our newspapers, in our favourite television shows and on movie screens everywhere.