Saturday, April 21, 2007
Conflict Resolution In Practice
Let me thank Berenice de la Croix, director of 'Learning in Practice' for an insightful seminar on conflict resolution. The very same day I put her advice into practice. I had an assignment to do background research, mainly web-based, for a seminar series. My colleague expected me to send some results this week. I was unable to do so as I had a hectic week with emergency meetings and all-night work to deliver submissions for another project. So I sent an email saying I would have more time to deliver research findings on friday and on the week-end. As I wrote the email, I received an email, worded quite strongly, that my failure to meet the deadline was unacceptable and so on. I was very annoyed by the tone and the insinuation that I was not serious about the work. One of the problems was also that I was not fully aware of the deadlines. My colleague sends email after email with lots of words on banal and superfluous things to the effect that I read them only quickly. My first reaction was to send a rebuttal but I took the time to chill, looked out of the window, and reconsidered. Finally, I sent an apology and a very conciliatory email. After all, I was supposed to have done the work before and it was expected to be done. Instead of competing, I went for accomodation. After reflection, I felt some of the blame was justified. Let me add here that I usually choose to compete when dealing with conflict. But in this case, to accomodate was the far better strategy. Indeed, not much was at stake and to accomodate did not cost me anything. So ja, a great thank you to our passionate presenter for offering different strategies for dealing with conflict.