Conflict resolution in the family :-)

Hari Srinivas
Management Tools Series E-046. May 2015.

In any conflict situation, different people behave differently - depending on the situation, their view of themselves, their ability to contribute to the situation, and the behaviour/participation of others in the conflict.

A simulation game was organized as a part of the training session on "Leadership for the Local Environment" held at the United Nations University from 6 to 9 July 2000. During the simulation, three groups, representing three urban stakeholders, the local government, business and industry, and NGOs and the community, attempted to resolve a potential conflict situation - a unilateral decision of the local government to build a waste incinerator - through dialogue, debate and discussion.

The objective of this slide show is to present, albeit humorously, the different 'roles' played by the participants during the simulation exercise.

What did we see? It was interesting to observe, even within the three stakeholder groups that the participants played, how individual characters and behaviour patterns played out to understand and resolve the conflict!
During the simulation we saw the "Fair Mother", who always wanted to make sure that everyone participated in the discussion. She was flexible, fair and open to all, without exception!
There were a few "Absent Father" - this person was not interested in what was happening - he usually felt that the problem did not concern him (even though it did!). He just sat at the back, detached and sometimes bored!
The "Wise Grandma" was a happy person, who observed the proceedings with a sharp eye, but spoke only when necessary, and only when there was something significant to be shared to the discussion!
This was the difficult one - the "Tough Mother-in-Law" These were the loud ones, who were pushy, always wanted to speak. They were inflexible, quickly rejecting other's ideas and overriding suggestions
Unlike the Absent Father, there were the "Scared Kids" who were watching everything happening and probably had something to positive to contribute, but were too quiet and shy, and didn't like the sound of their own voices!
Some played the role of a "Nice Uncle" who always made jokes, generally kept everyone happy. While not quite contributing to the actual discussion, he did attempt to smooth disagreements, and brought chocolates for everyone!
And then, in the end, there was the "Good Leader." This was the person who wanted to listen, who wanted to make sure everyone spoke, and generally helped keep an even keel to the discussions

After seeing the above 'roles' that they played, the participants agreed that, in a real conflict situation, a good leader will have to use all his or her skills and info at hand, to handle these different kinds of people. In fact, a good leader will probably be a combinations of all of the above types, to be able to lead different kinds of people.

Based on observations during the training session on "Leadership for the Local Environment" Simulation Exercise held at the United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan from 8 E9 July 2000

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