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What is conflict management?

Conflictmanagement is an important part of management in general. It is a coherent (integral) set of interventions aimed at preventing, guiding, and resolving conflicts within and outside the organization. And as the icing on the cake: recognizing, allowing, and harnessing the positive side of conflicts, the inherent one- or multi-sided desire for change/innovation, for the benefit of both the parties involved in the conflict and the organization: integral conflict management as a means for quality improvement and/or economic growth.

Initiating a system of integral conflict management ensures a safe and creativity-stimulating work environment with minimal absenteeism and maximum results. Initiating a system of integral conflict management ensures a safe and creativity-stimulating work environment with minimal absenteeism and maximum results. And more competitive. Conflict management is also a part of good employership.

Depending on the organization’s size and structure, the organization can establish a conflict management system. Simple or more complex.

As a rule, the system is documented in some form of protocol or policy that should, of course, be known to every colleague.

An example:

Als de organisatie een vertrouwenspersoon (intern of extern) aanstelt en een If the organization appoints a confidential advisor (internal or external) and establishes a regulation with, in short, the following content (conflict > with supervisor) > If no resolution > the Trust Officer > If no resolution > informal internal mediation by the Integrity & Compliance Department > If no resolution > formal external mediation. > If no resolution > (engagement of (in-house) lawyer), then there is a simple integral conflict management system in place.

Also, take a look at our ‘Conflict Management Training – Basic Course for Conflict Advisors

Are mediator fees tax deductible?

It depends on the situation. Is it private, business, or a combination?

Tip: Always check this with the tax authority or your own accountant beforehand.

What is a conflict?

The literal meaning of conflict is ‘collision/struggle/disagreement’ It is a collision between people and their truths. Usually, multiple parties are involved, but this is not necessary. For example, a conflict can also arise within yourself when your truth does not match that of another.

Conflicts always involve people or those who resemble them, in any case. Not about animals or elusive organizations, such as private companies or foundations. For example, you cannot have a conflict with your dog. It does seem possible to have a conflict with the tax authorities. When you seek contact with them, you encounter people, not an ‘organization’.

What types of conflicts are there?

A conflict is a far too short word to denote an infinite number of types of collisions between people. Not only the content but also the severity of conflicts can vary enormously from one situation to another, for example. Sometimes it’s a minor difference of opinion, but it can also escalate into a serious argument.

In general, conflicts can be categorized into different types. It is especially important to remember the difference between task-related or substantive conflicts and socio-emotional conflicts.

Business or task-related conflicts.

Business or task-related conflicts often have a business foundation. Such conflicts are almost always about non-personal aspects within the organization. If it’s a task-related conflict, then the conflict is truly about the tasks that need to be performed within the organization.

Within business conflicts, we also distinguish three separate forms of conflict, namely instrumental conflicts, interest conflicts, and power conflicts.

Instrumental conflicts
, these are conflicts that revolve around, for example, goals, procedures, and structures within the organization. For example, you may disagree with a certain task distribution, leading to a clash with your supervisor.

Interest conflicts
Interest conflicts arise when choices have to be made due to a scarcity of resources. This can pertain to both material (space, finances) and immaterial matters (safety, social climate). Because choices have to be made, there will always be parties disappointed – and that can lead to conflicts.

Power conflicts.
Power dynamics can be skewed, especially when certain expectations exist. The challenge with a power conflict is that the subordinate party, who is subordinate to the party in power, often struggles to engage in the conflict. This leads to many ‘silent frustrations’ that continue to grow and can ultimately lead to escalation.

Socio-emotional conflicts

Socio-emotional conflicts revolve around how people interact with each other and the norms and values they hold. The personal and psychological aspects of such a conflict often come to the forefront.

Within this type of conflict, we can distinguish the conflict forms of value conflicts and relational conflicts.

Value conflict
eople can prioritize different values and attach varying degrees of importance to them. When there is a difference in this regard, it can lead to a conflict. What one considers good, may be considered worthless by another.

Relational conflicts
These conflicts relate to relationships with others. For example, it could be that you have been betrayed by a friend or that your partner has cheated on you.

How does a conflict arise?

A conflict arises when two people clash because they differ in their truths. Because emotions and clashing personalities often play a role in a conflict, especially in socio-emotional conflicts, it can be challenging to find a solution. Such clashes or battles make it difficult for many people to remain calm, maintain kindness, and continue to listen to the other person. Nevertheless, for most conflicting parties, the intention is always to resolve the conflict as effectively as possible.

How can you resolve a conflict?

You can become physically and mentally ill from conflicts, both literally and figuratively. This is avoidable. At Merlijn Advies Groep, we have developed four conflict resolution methods aimed at preventing, guiding, and resolving conflicts (the prevention method, the guidance method, the mediation method, and the settlement method). With the right method and customized guidance and support from our professionals, you will always come to a resolution.

Do you want to read more about conflicts? There are books written on this subject. One of the most recent ones is ‘De conflictadviseur, wegwijzer in het conflictlabyrint’. For consultations or information, you can always contact the editorial members.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a mediation process between two conflicting parties. The goal of mediation is to find a solution to the problem that the parties have with each other while preserving their relationship. Both the history of the conflict and the emotions of the parties are addressed during mediation. Once the air is cleared, both parties work together to find a suitable solution.

What is important in mediation is that there is room and willingness for negotiation. This means that conflict parties should still have enough trust in a positive outcome. The conflict should also not have escalated too far. Mediation often occurs in the case of a difference of opinion.

Why choose mediation?

There are several reasons why people choose mediation:

  • They want to have control over the resolution of their conflict and prevent (possible) litigation.
  • They want to resolve the conflict in a faster and more cost-effective manner than, for example, through legal proceedings.
  • There is a common interest, making it important now and in the future to resolve the dispute.
  • They want to maintain a good relationship with each other and truly reach a solution.

Mediation also involves both parties learning to listen to each other and increasingly understand each other’s perspectives – something that is very important in resolving a conflict. This is also an important reason for many parties to choose mediation.

The mediator

The mediation is facilitated by a mediator. The literal meaning of mediator is mediator, and that is exactly what a mediator does: mediate. A mediator is impartial, neutral, and has no stake in the outcome of the conflict. The mediator is involved with both conflict parties. He or she helps people in a state of conflict to thaw and become creative.

The first conversation with the mediator

The first conversation with the mediator is often focused on getting acquainted. The mediator gets to know both parties and their positions. He or she will also explain what the mediation process looks like and what the parties can roughly expect from the conversation. Agreements are made regarding confidentiality, for example, and a mediation agreement is signed. Once that is done, the mediation can begin.

Does mediation help with every conflict?

No, mediation is not a miracle cure.” If the parties do not have confidence in a positive outcome, it may be necessary for something else to happen first. It may also be the case that another method of resolution is ultimately better. Are you uncertain about mediation? Or do you want a better understanding of how mediation works exactly? Just contact one of our conflict advisors.” They will be happy to assist you!

What can a mediator do?

The qualities of a good mediator can be summarized in four words. He is knowledgeable, neutral, businesslike, and decisive.

  • Expert mediator

A mediator can ‘read’ a conflict. He is a professional communicator who knows how to act in every stage of a conflict. He has built a solid theoretical foundation and coupled it with his practical experience. The mediator acts in accordance with the Regulations and the Code of Conduct of the MfN, the Mediators Federation Netherlands, formerly known as the Dutch Mediation Institute. And he has sufficient knowledge of the legal aspects of mediation as a method, as well as the specific legal context within which a conflict occurs.

  • Neutral mediator

Neutrality is a mindset, an intrinsic inner attitude, and an absolute prerequisite for gaining and maintaining trust. A good mediator has learned what to do with their own neutrality tests. Even with people who usually push his ‘red button’.

  • Balance of the mediator

The mediator may have to deal with highly emotional situations and disclosures. It is an art to balance between staying businesslike and responding empathetically. Establishing a constructive working relationship with clients is necessary. However, both less and more than that is not appropriate and undesirable.

  • Decisive mediator

That doesn’t mean the mediator rushes his clients to a solution. It means that the successful mediator is responsible for maintaining momentum in the mediation process. Of course, clients need space for their emotions and their story. But as much as necessary. Not more and not less. In the end, it’s about making clear and achievable agreements.

How and where can he/she apply what has been learned?

The mediator does not necessarily have to complete the entire training and build a practice as an MfN registered mediator* to benefit from their education. Often, we hear from a large part of our student groups that they consider the Mediation Training as acquiring an additional skill to practice their basic profession more effectively. This group is very diverse. The group includes HR professionals, consultants, team leaders, social workers, coaches, managers, etc. Finally, the home front can also benefit from the newly acquired skills. At the end of his training, a student could bring this statement to the evaluation: ‘A huge thank you for the fantastic training, … also on behalf of my wife.’

* This title has replaced what was known as a few years ago as NMI certified mediator. The current title may in turn change to legally registered mediator after the implementation of mediation legislation.

What can you expect from a coach?

The coach is entirely there for you. The coach listens sincerely and with complete openness, helping you figure out what you truly want in your life or work and how to achieve it. The coach listens without judging you and helps you to organize (parts of) your life or work. The coach moves at your pace. The coach prompts you to think about your issue through questions. This leads to new insights and the coaching process develops step by step.

Can coaching also take place online?

“Merlijn offers the possibility to conduct all types of coaching online as well. This way, coaching can always continue. In consultation with the coach, coaching can take place via Zoom, Teams, Skype, WhatsApp, or other applications.

Where do the coaching sessions take place?

Depending on the type of coaching and the preferences of the coachee/client, coaching takes place in consultation with the coach at the coach’s practice space, at an employer’s location, online, or at one of our Castle locations.

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