Connecting local responses around the world
Conflicts arise out of our differences. When we value these differences as indications of our true and diverse humanity, we may regard conflicts as rich, healthy and creative moments.
A community is a living system of different elements interconnected around something common. By focusing on the dream, CLCP gives emphasis to this common ground. It is also important to acknowledge the differences if we want to invite true collective work.
If it is so interesting, why is it then so difficult? What makes us so tense when a disagreement is approaching? What makes us fearful or defensive?
As CLCP facilitators, I sense that these questions need to be explored at personal and collective levels. To hold the (natural) tension of a community, we need to be well equipped: in connection with our partners, and in some kind of peace with our own internal conflicts.
Appreciating conflicts as resources and learning/growing opportunities for all allows us to tap into a reservoir of creative energy.
What is your experience? Can you appreciate conflicts?
Thank you for this question! You just offer us the place to share our experience in La Réunion Island last week!
We have experienced a conflict during the training. After 4 days of training, started a deep conversation stimulated by the self-assessment and action plan. This conversation ended as conflict and real crisis!
What we did, was to appreciate the conflict and give it space. The facilitation team decided to offer to the group the chance to appreciate this time and learn from this conflict!
I'll not share more on this experience as my team mate is preparing a blog on this experience!
I truly believe we can appreciate conflicts in order to give them a space, and learn and grow from it!
And I would love to learn more about how to appreciate and give space to conflicts!
Thank you Laurie, for sharing this experience! I will read your blog with a lot of interest. I imagine the difficulty of the 'crisis' and see courage in your team for allowing the tension to be openely expressed and explored.
Hi Nathalie, you brought in a key point! I find disagreement and conflict scary because we are not sure if the relationship will sustain.
As SALT facilitators we value connections and we focus on building a safe environment. And here comes the difficulty: some people feel safer when conflict stays hidden, and they might like to stress harmony, while others feel safe when there is honest communication, and they might prefer to have an open dialogue on conflicting views as soon as possible. How do we facilitate a group when people have different experiences of what safety means? And when they have different practices around communicating with respect? That can be quite challenging.
It gets back to our personal perspectives on conflict: how do we handle disagreement and conflict in our own lives? What have we seen in our families when we were children: was it possible to disagree and come to a new agreement? What we have learned and experienced, we bring that to the group.
To make it practical and methodological: I think it can be helpful to define a practice that we all agree upon, e.g. on how we want to deal with disagreement and feedback, how we express emotions like irritation and frustration, etc.