Conflict, Love in Action

The Need

In these times of rapid change and massive inequity, tensions between our different cultures, needs, and perspectives are colliding. When these tensions are engaged unconsciously, they can become entrenched conflicts that damage the fabric of our relationships and teams, deepen divides, and undermine our efforts to pursue equity and justice for all. When these tensions are engaged consciously they become ripe opportunities for strengthening relationships, healing historical harms, building trust and resilience, and developing leadership competency.

“This work is not about making these conversations easier. It is about learning to stay in them when they are hard and producing long-term win-win outcomes”

The Approach

In these times of rapid change and massive inequity, tensions between our different cultures, needs, and perspectives are colliding. When these tensions are engaged unconsciously, they can become entrenched conflicts that damage the fabric of our relationships and teams, deepen divides, and undermine our efforts to pursue equity and justice for all. When these tensions are engaged consciously they become ripe opportunities for strengthening relationships, healing historical harms, building trust and resilience, and developing leadership competency.

Our Guiding Assumptions About Conflict

  • Conflict is a natural part of healthy relationships.
  • When done well, conflict helps us grow and heal.
  • Conflict is messy. It can also be highly creative, perspective altering, empowering, and humbling, all at the same time.
  • No one’s perspective is the right or true one. Every perspective is somewhat limited and distorted.
  • Conflict transformation requires an integration of different perspectives into a cohesive whole.
  • Win-wins are better than either-ors.
  • Power dynamics matter.
  • Conflict arises when something someone(s) love is being harmed or at risk of harm — be it their livelihood, community, reputation, ecosystem, ability to create change, or relationships — including their relationship with the person(s) they are fighting with. Conflict is an expression of LOVE.
  • Developing conflict transformation skills is an essential responsibility of all agents of equity and justice.

What the Process Looks Like

The process begins with representatives of all parties completing an intake survey, followed by a meeting with the Conflict Transformation Steward (CTS) to determine:
  • What they love that is being harmed or at risk of harm? How is that harm impacting their lives? What is needed to protect what they love from further harm?
  • How divergent are the perspectives informing the conflict and it’s resolution? Can they be bridged? Where do the places of natural alignment exist?
  • Who else is impacted by and/or impacting the conflict, and the appropriate level of inclusion or accountability to/from them in the process; and
  • The most appropriate structure for bringing the parties together for a facilitated exchange.

If the CTS believes a successful outcome will result from bringing the parties together, they will schedule and facilitate an in-person convening with all parties.

If the CTS does not believe a successful outcome will result, they will offer to do a second and/or third round of meetings with the individual parties. If the steward believes a successful outcome will result from bringing the parties together, they will schedule and facilitate an in-person convening with all parties. If the steward still doesn’t believe a successful outcome will result from bringing the parties together, they will make suggestions for how to proceed in the absence of convening the parties.

Learn More

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