| BOARDS AND COMMITTEES:
They are volunteers, too!
~ April 2005 ~ Topics
Conflict Can Be Constructive and Civil
Have you ever spoken up at a meeting, maybe even reluctantly, to have someone say stridently, "You're wrong," or, "You're not thinking," or, "When you've been around as long as I have, you'll understand the issue better." It's pretty hard when that happens because most of us dislike conflict and basically want to be appreciated and liked.
Well, think how much we hate these kinds of retorts, and let's figure out how we can react ourselves in ways that don't put the other person down but make the point that we know needs to be made.
Instead of, "Youre wrong," how about, "I dont think that answer is in accordance with our by laws, (our mission our principles, our policies, our core values, our priorities, our strategic plan or last month's minutes)."
Instead of, "You're not thinking," how about, "I hear what you're saying, but remember the last meeting when we adopted a policy statement that said..."
Instead of, "When you've been around as long as I have, you'll understand the issue better," just point out why the idea isn't in accordance with agreed upon policies, procedures, history or organizational ethics.
Don't attack the person; rather deal with the idea expressed in terms of principle, policies and mission. These are objective criteria and can bring a group together as a team.
Remember the person whose answer seems very wrong to you can be your staunchest ally another time. If you attack his or her ego, you may destroy that possibility.
Jeanne Bradner can be reached at Jeannebrad@aol.com.
See our online bookstore for Jeanne Bradner's book on boards: The Board Members Guide: A Beneficial Bestiary and Leading Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today, and Passionate Volunteerism.
Jeanne H. Bradner
Jeanne H. Bradner is an author, consultant, trainer and speaker on volunteerism, board development and leadership. She is the author of three publications, The Board Member's Guide, A Beneficial Bestiary and Leading Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today and Passionate Volunteerism. She served as director of the Illinois Governor's Office of Voluntary Action, Midwest Regional Director of ACTION, and Executive Director of the Illinois Commission on Community Service. She is the volunteer program specialist for Illinois' Harper College Volunteer Management curriculum.
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