CONFLICT RESOLUTION CORNER | Nothing beats team work
Welcome to another instalment of the Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF) School Intervention Programme (SIP), Conflict Resolution Corner. This will run over six weeks as we provide tips on dealing with conflict, particularly among children.
Having gone through two of the Dispute Resolution Foundation's core values for effective conflict resolution already, affirmation and communication, today we will be looking at cooperation.
Cooperation is the act of working together to accomplish a set task. This enables people to set aside their differences and arrive at a mutual solution for achieving common goals.
It leads to team morale and a generally good working atmosphere, and can make the difference between success and failure. No system/institution can function effectively without cooperation.
Cooperation in relation to conflict resolution
Remember that conflict is a disagreement between two or more individuals, so how does cooperation helps in resolving conflicts?
Take, for instance, your group was given a task but you and some of the team members are not in agreement with how the task should be done. How can you help to resolve this conflict?
You can start by asking the following questions; what is the task to be completed? How important is this task to the team's personal and professional development? What are the negative ramifications of not working together to complete this task? Are we disagreeing because of selfish reasons, our diversity, or are there other underlying issues? How will not completing this task affect my personal andfamily/school/ organisational goals?
Asking yourself and others these questions, and answering as honest as possible provides the opportunity to resolve the conflict by determining the problems, generating and evaluating alternatives, selecting the appropriate alternative, then working together to complete the task.
While it is important to cooperate with others to get a task done, it is also important to note that cooperative negotiation does not mean that the situation will end with a win-win scenario, but that the situation was dealt with in a fair and just manner and done with the main goals and objectives in view.
Cooperation makes life easier for all
Cooperation allows for more time to be spent on empowering each other rather than resolving conflicts. Less conflict will be at home, in schools, and in the workplace if tasks are completed on time, rules are adhered to, and persons are aware of, and are in agreement with, the goals and objectives of the family, school, and workplace.
The more time spent on the importance of getting the task done, the less time will be spent on why I don't like working with so and so.
Diversities, different views, likes and dislikes all provide an opportunity for growth. Instead of seeing them as a barrier and use them as an excuse to not cooperate, you can see them as a means of learning new things, overcoming personal challenges and resolving conflicts.
"It is through cooperation rather than conflict that your greatest success will be derived"
- Ralph Chavell
- Sandria Watkis-Madden is a youth peace facilitator/ mediator based at the Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF), head of the DRF School Intervention Programme in Clarendon. Feedback: email@example.com or, firstname.lastname@example.org or, email@example.com