Revised: 19 May 2016 by @GreatJackal
Don’t fear conflict; embrace it – it’s your job
Conflict is a natural part of human nature. Put two people in a room together for long enough and they’ll have a disagreement about something. Increase the number of folks and that chance raises exponentially.
In a gaming clan of 100s of members there can be arguments every day from basic bickering all the way up to rage quits! The main thing to remember is bolded in massive writing above. Conflict is nothing to fear and as officers it is all of our responsibility to deal with it immediately.
For example, Bob and Harry in your division have a small disagreement over who is the better gamer. Though it starts off friendly, voices begin to raise and insults creep in. If no action is taken worst case it escalates, they start avoiding each other and in the end Harry rage quits because Bob kills him in a match a month later. However, had you stepped in and resolved things early they would both still be happy members working together for the success of DI.
So how does one go about solving conflict? In the following order in most cases:
Don’t just sit back and watch; leadership is not a spectator sport. Take control of the situation. Depending on severity levels of the discord there are multiple things you can do from changing the subject, separating the participants, mediating on the spot to even banning one/both/all temporarily from ts/forums for a time out.
Identify the issue
What is really going on here? Its important to understand the root of the problem so you can tailor your response accordingly. Learn and practice active listening – the art of rephrasing what someone has just said to you for the purpose of confirming understanding. This is where you are listening 90% of the time and are talking 10% of the time.
Don’t take sides
It can be easy to get pulled into things, lose objectivity, perspective and even your cool. Remember you are there to mediate and solve problems not create them. Calm, patience and respect are three invaluable principles. If you find yourself losing any of the three walk away, set a time in the future (and keep it!) to re-address the issue and consider taking it to the chain of command for support.
When intervening you take responsibility of the situation along with that control. At this point it is now up to you to work with the parties involved and make sure there is a solution to the issue. That can mean anything from simply monitoring for a short time to make sure no hostilities break out again up to involving the justice system for official mediation. This is where you are talking 90% of the time and listening 10% of the time.
In closing, conflict is normal. How we deal with it is important because left alone small resentments can breed into massive drama bandwagons that rip apart communities. An understanding of that and proactive attitude towards resolving issues quickly and respectfully will ensure DI remains a fun and safe environment for us all.