Because I have quite a high locus of control and I can’t stand moaning about something while not trying to make it better, I’ve joined forces with the other residents in my block of flats, to form a Residents Association. To be accepted formally by the housing company who manages the building, we have to submit a constitution, which includes a code of conduct, an example of which is provided by the housing company. I was horrified.
It seems to me that most of the points of the code of conduct have not been included to resolve conflict but to suppress it. The one that worries me most is:
“Avoid naming individuals.”
Right, so we are back to the old “some people” which tends to go unnoticed by those it refers to and pisses off those who are tired of hearing the same indirect criticism. And so nothing is resolved as resentment continues.
If I am doing something that annoys someone else, I like to be told. And I don’t want to be included in a “some people” directed vent that has nothing to do with me. I know it’s hard to let someone know you disapprove of something they’ve said/done etc, but if you don’t talk about it, and find out their reasons for it, you cannot move on!
I’ve seen conflict being suppressed by venting and gossiping, building up resentment over months – when what really needed to be done was tackle the problem head on, suffer for a bit while trying to find a solution and then move on.
If you work with groups where you encounter conflict frequently, I recommend you read The Skilled Facilitator. Its “ground rules” are based on a principle of transparency. As such, it is an exposing process, but one that should deliver long-term results.
I leave you with the link to the book as I have been distracted by the snow. Please post any avoidance conflict stories or other suitable literature my way.