Andrew began the final day of the workshop on Conflict Transformation by stressing that we need to view conflict through multiple lenses. Figuratively, he said we need to view conflict through a window and not at a mirror. This means that we seize the window of opportunity where we change the way we operate so that the outcome is different.
He explained that when something in the past is affecting us in the present, we often are suffering. This is also true of events in the future where the anxiety of what might happen causes us to suffer in the present. Hence, the challenge to live in the present.
Often the waters of conflict are muddied by our emotions, and the challenge is to allow the mud to settle so that we see clearly! As we begin to see more clearly, we can understand how we have contributed to the conflict and/or we can see how the other person was not fully aware of what they were doing.
So, in conflict transformation we can learn to use the various styles that Kilmann devised: competitive, avoidance, compromise, accommodation and the collaborative style, this latter being the most satisfactory in transforming conflict.
To achieve transformation we need to discover the ‘third eye’ where we move even beyond the win-win situation and beyond the differences to respond to both parties’ needs.
In moving towards transformation, therefore, we need to have a wider perspective where we see the big picture. In doing this, we realise that there is no real conflict but simply misunderstandings that can be dealt with as we begin to know ourselves, others and increase our mindfulness of each situation and person.