Conflict among team members happens. It is natural and expected to occur when people come together to work in a team towards a common goal as part of their initiative or project. The process of facilitating conflict is not done through avoiding it, but rather knowing how to create a space for conversation and dialogue in which the different opinions are heard in order to reach agreement within the team. The process requires that all the team members are on the same page and that their concerns and questions are addressed.
Youssef from La Maison de Syrie talks about how communication helps in coming to an agreement to decisions between the members of the board which is composed of just 5 people.
Mozynah Nofal highlights the importance of emphasizing the team’s common objective and vision in resolving conflict and bringing people back to what is important and why they came together in the first place.
Does everyone see the challenge when I’m working in community works or community work? I believe that’s never the case, so part of community work is the various, you know, so let’s say we all at the simplest level we all have an event we want to plan, okay, you and I are working on this and maybe two other team members so it’s four people. Everyone has – if they close their eyes – they’ll see this event come about in a very different way. You’ll see it happening on a boat, I’ll see it happening in the middle of a garden you know it’s, it’s it actually is like that. I mean it’s not always that dramatic, but it will be very different images that we just recall right away when you just talk about an event and we also see the benefits, the outcomes of this event very differently.
That being said, the processes we’re concerned about or the goals were concerned about are very different and that could sometimes create conflict, so what we need to do at the outset, which won’t eliminate this challenge but at least will minimize the kind of repercussions that it will have, is to have a few talks just about objectives. You shouldn’t just get right away in the work. We should always spend time, you know, mapping out objectives… mapping out our vision of things and that’s something I learned in Western culture a lot, meaning often times when I – and I still work on projects in the Middle East and Egypt for example – I don’t see this happening. We don’t spend enough time talking about the overall objective, the overall vision, why are we doing this? Right, just taking a step back and saying why am I doing that?
And I believe it goes back to educational- it’s an educational issue. A lot of the times we tell our children to do things without them knowing why they’re doing it, right, so we grow up not really questioning why we do things and that.. that will go on. Most people you know 40s, 50s, 60s they’re still doing things in their life not knowing “why am I doing this,” even core things, “why am I working this job,” “why am I, why am I getting married and not knowing,” well I guess people do that so let’s do it, you know especially in the Middle East this is very common.
Like it’s very fast, we’re living in very fast times we’re living in times where people don’t pause and reflect. We’re constantly distracted obviously, I’m not gonna go into a spiel about phones and social media and all that and how they’re distracting us but we need to just pause as a group in any community work we’re doing, and just think about why we’re doing this, what’s the objectives. Once people understand together and agree on what the objective is, that will eliminate a lot of problems later on and it will make us at least all on the same page. That’s what on the same page means, is for the objective – the means are as diverse as we are so it’s fine to have different means – but objectives need to be unified because that’s what really binds us and that’s what really unites us.