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Transforming Conflict from Destructive to Constructive

Transforming Conflict from Destructive to Constructive

Reasons for Conflict

-       Autonomy

-       Status

-       Role

-       Affiliation

Conflict Mediation Procedure

1.     Make the staffer feel safe



EIC and staff heads towards the pool of shared knowledge

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Conflicts can cause EIC or staffer to up or down from the pool to create silence or violence

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c.     If either member shifts towards silence or violence, reestablish communication

d.     A defensive stance is inevitable in many conflicts

                                               i.     To move beyond this defensive stance:

1.     Discuss a shared mission

2.     Share mutual respect

2.     Start to talk

a.     Share your side of the story

                                               i.     I see that…

b.     Listen to their side of the story

Key Points for Conflict Mediation

·      Remove emotion from both sides of the conflict

·      Slow down and think about what is happening

·      Detoxify the conflict

·      Don’t react immediately

o      Acknowledge the concern, but leave options open

·      Don’t make it a personal thing

o      Point to the job descriptions and describe that it is not good for the paper

·      Be more effective at getting what you want

o      Don’t dilute what you’re saying – You kinda did ____. No kinda.

·      Don’t talk tentatively

·      Speak with facts to back up your argument

·      Describe a measurable group objective to take away

·      Put an improvement plan in writing

o      Show empathy

·      The paper is the MAIN interest

o      Don’t empathize and give in to what the writer wants if it will disrupt the goals of the paper

o      If a conflict emerges, realize how it benefits the school

·      Talk as “we” as a paper

o      Develop staff and their skills

‘Me’ People

·      The editor-in-chief can share a broader viewpoint

·      Some writers want fun editorials or large national topics

o      Recognize that there is a news stance, and it must relate to the school

§       If not, it could be read online or in articles written by professionals


How to Prevent Conflict

·      Define the job descriptions

o      Staff Manual

o      Spell out disciplinary actions