Even at a nonprofit where every employee has great respect for each other, conflict is going to happen; it’s just the nature of the group dynamic. The key is to make sure the disagreement is resolved in a swift and concise way.
Successful conflict resolution in a nonprofit involves more than effective individual communications, according to Marci Thomas and Kim Strom-Gottfried. In their book “The Best of Boards,” they wrote that a climate that supports respect, transparency, and straightforward treatment of differences is also required.
One way to create this type of environment is to create a code of ethics. According to Thomas and Strom-Gottfried, these serve multiple purposes: They display an expectation of integrity and they enhance an organization’s image. They cited Nancy E. Algert and Christine A. Stanley’s “Code of Cooperation for the Management Team,” from their article “Conflict Management” in Effective Practices for Academic Leaders, as a good example of a code that will lead to quicker conflict resolutions during discussions:
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