Dudley Weeks, PH.D. is widely commended as one of the world's leaders in conflict resolution. He lives in Washington, D.C., has worked in over sixty countries and has counseled thousands of businesses, families, and communities in the United States. Dr. Weeks has twice been nominated for the Noble Peace Prize. Dr. Weeks is now teaching conflict resolution at the American University School of International Service and gives workshops throughout the world.
Dr. Weeks basically tears conflict resolution into eight steps. The first step is to create an effective atmosphere. The second step is to clarify perceptions. Third is focus on individual and shared needs. Fourth is build shared positive power. Fifth is look to the future, then learn from the past. Sixth is generate options. Seventh is develop "Doables." And the last step is make mutual benefit agreements. Dr. Weeks also touches on topics such as handling anger, dealing with people who only want things their way, and dealing with conflicts that involve an injustice.
The first step is about Creating an Effective Atmosphere. Creating an effective atmosphere is a very important step in the conflict resolution process. It is more likely for mutual agreements be reached when the atmosphere is given careful consideration. When thinking about atmosphere remember these ideas; personal preparation, timing, location, and lastly opening statements. Personal preparation is doing all you can to ready yourself in positive ways to approach issues honestly and openly. Timing means that choosing a time that is best for all parties involved, a time in which no one is feeling pressed to move on or pressured in other ways. Location suggests that where you meet is as important as when you meet, it is best to pick a place where all parties can feel comfortable and at ease. Lastly Opening statement has to do with trying to start out on a good note. Good openings are ones that let others know you are ready and willing to approach conflict with a team-like attitude that focuses on positive ends. They should also ensure the trust confidentiality of the parties involved.
Clarifying Perceptions being the second step has to do with clarifying individual perceptions involved in the conflict. You can't solve a problem if you don't know what it is about. First to be done, is sort conflict into parts. Then avoid "ghost conflicts," get to the heart of the matter and avoid side issues. Clarify what, if any, values are involved. Then recognize that the parties involved need each other to be most effective. Finally, clarify your perceptions of the other party by avoiding stereotyping, listening carefully, recognizing the other's needs and values, empathize by asking why they feel the way they do, and clear up misconceptions you may have of them.
Step number three has to do with focusing on individual and shared needs. This section points out that one needs to expand shared needs. Realize that you need one another in order to successfully resolve conflicts. Be concerned about meeting others needs as well as your own. When you take the time to look, you will recognize that individuals often share needs in common.
Step four allows you to build shared positive power. Power is made up of people's outlooks, ideas, convictions, and actions. A positive view of power enables people to be most effective. A negative outlook on power proves to be a lot less effective. Instead of "power with," it encourages "power...