The Basis of the R.e.S.T. Method of Conflict Resolution

The word “rest” denotes “taking a break”. The reality of the R.e.S.T. Method of Conflict Resolution is that your break comes after a lot of work is done. The break you get is when the same conflict doesn’t occur again because you will have given this tool to someone else to use. By empowering people now, you can put your feet up later.

The R.e.S.T. Method is usually applied from the outside (i.e. as the mediator) but can also be applied from the inside as well (i.e. we are part of the conflict) if we can remember to create and maintain an atmosphere of Respect, Safety and Trust. Why?…

R

Respect.

Respect creates buy-in. A person who is respected is well-liked and feared –they have leverage. Your goal is to get each party to respect you as well as each other. They don’t have to like each other. They don’t need to shake hands at the end of it. They do need to respect each other.

Respect is something taken for granted. You’ve heard the colloquialism “dis”. When someone says I’ve “dissed” them, it means that I’ve disrespected them. I’ve done something that another person has an issue with.

Mediating should only be done by a person that both parties can respect and who holds mutual respect for those they are mediating. You may need to create that on the spot in a heated conflict. You may be angry at someone for crossing a line in the sand but you will get nowhere by shouting in someone’s face, blaming them for doing wrong or taking sides because you witnessed something. Chances are, you don’t know the whole story behind a conflict. Anyone trying to mediate, needs to leave their feelings behind about who’s right and who’s wrong.

S

Safety.

People in conflict exhibit aggressive and fearful behavior. They are being asked to come face-to-face with the other person. How is this safe? People who are exhibiting aggressive or fearful behavior are expressing anxiety. Anxiety and depression are said to be two sides of the same coin. If you think of the person in conflict as in a state of depression, you tend to have more compassion and sympathy for them. By creating a safe place you will lower the amount of anxiety between the two parties. Lowering the anxiety allows for each person to regain some true self-respect.

Also, in cases where one person is more aggressive or stronger than another, the other party will not feel safe. This could lead to a false resolution where the weaker person goes along with what the stronger person wants. Both parties will not be 100% satisfied with the outcome unless an atmosphere of safety is ensured.

T

Trust.

As a mediator, the trust you develop with each person involved brings them into a state of willingness. The more you act in a manner which they can’t trust, the less likely they are to cooperate towards the end goal of resolving the conflict. You develop trust by taking a non-threatening, non-authoritative posture.

These three concepts of Respect, Safety and Trust are the foundation which supports effective communication. Without the foundation, the communication between parties will be ineffective.

The first goal of the R.e.S.T. Method is to create an atmosphere of Respect, Safety and Trust so that the two parties in conflict can resolve their issue. (emphasis on their issue)

Watch for more topics such as…

What is the small “e” for in the R.e.S.T. Method?  
How do I create and maintain an atmosphere of Respect, Safety and Trust?

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