‘In every generation the Irish People have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty' POBLACHT NA H EIREANN
In the context of the 1916 Commemorations here in Ireland, conflict and rebellion are topical subjects. We look back from a different perspective today and while we all mark the centenary of this event and know it has shaped us as a society, none of us would wish to see a repeat of violence as a means of resolving our problems. We have worked hard both as Irish citizens and Europeans to maintain and build peace and find new ways of resolving our differences.
I listened recently to a man on the radio talk about how he had lost his farm and cattle herd, which his family had built up over generations, to settle his bank debts. He felt we hadn’t escaped yet in this country from the colonialism we so desperately fought against in our past. Whether we believe this to be true or not, we can all agree that we still have what at times appear to be insurmountable problems to overcome. This is the case economically, socially, in health and now particularly in the aftermath of the recent election, in politics.
All of these macro problems become micro problems as individuals feel the consequences and often bring the personal impact of these problems and others into the workplace. What is this doing to our workplaces and how do we respond to these many challenges? Do concepts like freedom, sovereignty and peace have any relevance to our generation in our everyday lives and workplaces or are they distant lofty national political rhetoric?
We believe that causing further conflict and dispute, is not the way. Instead, there are many ways of responding to conflict that empower us and open up the opportunity that it presents, ultimately resulting in outcomes that are better than what went before. Engaging people in creating solutions is one way of responding constructively to conflict. We often spend so much time defending our position that we don’t give enough time and thought to exploring solutions.
In a recent Effective Conflict Management workshop we gave people the task of exploring constructive responses to conflict and to reflect them back in a creative way. In discussing the constructive response of ‘Creating Solutions’ one group came up with the acronym, PEACEMAKER, which I believe is very apt and necessary in our society and workplaces today:
E: motional M:anagement
When looking for solutions, it is helpful to approach situations through the lens of the PEACEMAKER. When peace is our goal, we behave differently in conflict.
If not PEACEMAKER, how would you describe how you approach conflict?
We’d love to hear your answers..