Any politician, NHL referee, or divorce lawyer can testify to the inevitability of human discord. In this new world of work, expectations, priorities, and egos clash more often than senators Boxer and Helms. Regardless, the show must go on, and conflicts simply must not clog the flow of business.
Still, even the most advanced industry leaders often lack the soft knowledge needed to deal effectively with internal strife, feuds, and deadlocks. In an economy that values technological advancement above nearly all else, human conflicts are often permitted to fester and undermine real progress.
In the following Q&A discussions, Fast Company collected conflict resolution doctrines, methods, and survival techniques from four leaders in four diverse fields: environmental protection, education, psychology, and community dispute resolution. Read on to learn how they facilitate peace and understanding.
Greenpeace Toxics Campaign
"The media isn't entirely accurate about Greenpeace. (During negotiations) we are able to show companies a side of Greenpeace that they're surprised by. Then we just honor our word."
Language Arts and Social Studies teacher
Lee Mathson Middle School in San Jose, California
"I'm a doctor, nurse, psychologist, advisor, mother. A lot of the kids just come to me and say, 'Can I have a hug?'"
International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors
"In my experience, the biggest single problem that causes youths today to act out is a lack of respect for adolescents and children by their elders, parents, and schools."
Founder and Administrator
Los Angeles City Attorney's Dispute Resolution Program
"Even if there is no agreement reached in mediation, people are happy that they engaged in the process. It often opens up the possibility for resolution in ways that people had not anticipated."