Hi @reeflings, I’m speaking on behalf of Team Conflict Management (TCM).
As TCM we’ve been mandated to make The Reef more capable in dealing with conflict in order to be more resilient as a group. How? Through making us structurally better equipped to deal with tensions and conflict.
In this post:
- what TCM is about
- what we have done & will be doing
- which things you can look to us for
TCM’s focus: interpersonal conflict
As team conflict management we will be focused on interpersonal conflict. We will be developing strategies to:
- prevent, defuse and tackle interpersonal conflict
- detect tensions that could give rise to interpersonal conflict
When should / could you reach out to TCM?
We will always call on individual Reeflings to take personal responsibility first. The preferred route for resolving personal conflicts? That would be the people involved resolving their conflict directly, unmediated by TCM. Your first step should always be: try to talk directly to the person you’re having conflict with.
- Not avoiding conflict can be difficult. But facing conflict within The Reef is crucial to stay connected to our shared dream of building a co-housing. Having trouble taking steps towards resolving your conflict? You can reach out to TCM to help you explore your options, figure out how to go about this.
- Did trying to resolve it directly fail? Has your conflict already escalated? TCM can help with / find options for mediation.
What will TCM be doing exactly?
We have been discussing and working on some strategies.
4 things we have already decided to implement:
1. Closing conversation with Reeflings who decide to leave The Reef
Part of making The Reef as strong and resilient a project as possible, is recognizing threats as early on as possible. To make sure we don’t miss any, TCM will be offering people who decide to leave the project a closing conversation. This is a confidential 1-on-1 conversation between the person stepping out and one member of TCM.
The conversation is an informal one. Its aim: offering the person who’s leaving a chance to give their honest feedback. In this way we can pick up signs of conflict and potential threats to the project we might not have picked up before. A closing conversation is optional for the person leaving the project. TCM will reach out to them proactively.
2. Individually reaching out to people when we observe (potential) conflict
When TCM senses (potential) conflict, we might reach out to the Reeflings involved via PM. These are confidential 1-on-1 PMs. If we decide to reach out, we will always reach out to Reeflings on ‘all sides’ of a conflict situation.
When we reach out, TCM does not delve into the actual topic of discussion/conflict and the individual team member will not discuss their own personal opinion. The aim is to check in on how the Reefling is feeling. How are they experiencing things? Was TCM right in sensing conflict? If so, does the Reefling feel equipped to manage it themselves? Are they wanting or needing anything from TCM or the Reef?
3. Being available to be reached out to (see below)
Just like TCM can reach out to you, you can also reach out to us. How this works? See below.
4. Mailbox to flag problematic situations
Have you noticed repeated problematic behaviours or situations within The Reef? You can flag situations by dropping them in our ‘mailbox’ (Google form). The entries will be confidentially handled by a member of TCM (currently: Nic).
5. Asking continual feedback & evaluation
These strategies are a starting point. You can count on us to:
- keep having our ear to the ground
- be open to your feedback
- regularly evaluate and (where needed) adjust our chosen strategies
- test and implement new strategies when it could be beneficial for The Reef project
There are some other ideas still in the pipeline as well.
Who’s in TCM, how can I reach out & what can I expect?
Currently TCM is:
- Chris (coordinator)
Reach out to us via a PM on edgeryders.
- Preferably send your message to our entire team. This way it can be followed up most quickly. Address your message to @reef-conflict.
- Feel more comfortable reaching out to a specific team member? That’s fine! You can reach out to them directly via PM on edgeryders. Do note: In this case a quick response cannot be guaranteed as it will vary on the personal availability of the specific team member.
What to expect:
- TCM does not aim to solve your problems for you. We will listen to you. We can help clarify things that are unclear, guide you to resources, explore your options together, …
- Everything that gets shared with TCM is treated as confidential, unless explicitly agreed upon and consented to it being made public. Any conversation you have with us will be between our team and yourself. No personal info will be disclosed to the group at large without your consent.
- Within TCM we work with shared confidentiality. Nothing leaves our team unless agreed upon, consented to and evaluated as necessary. Within our team, it might happen that we need to discuss conversations we had 1-on-1 in our capacity as members or TCM, to improve our conflict management strategies. Within our team this type of info will be shared on a strictly need to know basis.
Big picture: collective responsibility
Tensions and conflict can and will arise in many places in The Reef. For instance: between Reeflings, regarding our governance processes, in our ways of communicating and planning. Every team will experience some tensions around their topics (governance, building, finance, etc.). Dealing with these tensions surrounding specific team related topics is not TCM’s task.
In the same way it’s not TCM’s role to create clarity and openness for the entirety of The Reef. Building and sustaining a pleasant and healthy environment will require collective, team and individual efforts. Everyone plays a part in making the Reef work. We all bear some responsibility for this. For instance:
As a group:
- do not accept violent communication and hold people communicating in this way accountable
- be willing to acknowledge tensions and conflict, do not avoid them or sweep them under the rug
- be willing to make time and space for tensions to be discussed
- commit to sitting with difficult feelings in order to then work through tensions and conflict as a group
- make explicit which rights, obligations and expectations are connected to being a Reefling (exploring vs. associate vs. full members)
As a team:
- communicate in a clear and transparent way about your team’s work
- be open for and appreciative of feedback
- be responsive when approached with questions or ideas regarding your topic by Reeflings outside of your team
- be attentive to signs of distress around your topic, from the group or individual Reeflings
- do not wait for help to come spontaneously. Ask for help proactively when you are in need of it
As an individual Reefling:
- commit to communicating non-violently
- be brave enough to (continually) speak up, even when this feels difficult to do
- get familiar with our working methods and governance type if you aren’t yet. This can already bring clarity on which moments are suitable or unsuitable for open discussion, brainstorming, etc.
- be proactive and ask for the suitable place for your question / idea / feeling to be discussed, if it’s not clear to you where to go for this. For example: You can reach out to your buddy.
- alternatively, reach out to any team to bring up whatever idea / issue / feeling connected to their team’s expertise. You are fully entitled to. How? Address the relevant team via edgeryders. Do this via their team group (@reef-TEAMNAME). This way you reach all team members at once. This works for mentions in topics on edgeryders and for PMs on edgeryders. There’s an overview of all Reef groups.
- be honest about your general availability. Are you able and/or willing to manage your time so that you can participate in and contribute to the Reef project in a way that fulfills the minimum expectations for Reeflings? It is essential that you communicate this.
- take on an active role in the project. The Reef is not a conceptual exercise. It is a matter of everyone, including yourself, putting in the time and work on a regular basis to make our shared dream materialize.
Of course you can expect TCM to keep the importance of clarity, openness, non-violent communication, etc. on everyone’s mind. We will also keep having our ear to the ground and where needed bring unspoken tensions and conflict that concern the group into the light so we can address and work through them as a group.
Feedback on or feelings about the actions in post?
Let us know!