Re: Types of conflict in cohousing -- did I miss any? (Mariana's questions)
From: Mary Baker, Solid Communications (marysolid-communications.com)
Date: Sat, 23 Jan 2016 08:27:37 -0800 (PST)
Thanks, Mariana. Your comments and questions are very helpful. Let me try to 
answer your questions as best I can.

Re the topic of consequences, I was not referring to the levying of punishment 
toward people that don’t cooperate or “fit in”. Just the opposite, in fact. I 
am referring to a lack of consequences for established residents who for some 
reason give themselves permission to target, bully and insult others. This ties 
into conflict avoidance because people don’t want to take a stand when this 
kind of thing happens—not even a mild, “hey that’s not okay”. But these are two 
sides of the same coin, aren’t they?  I’ll mention them both the workbook.

Re compelled behavior: I was actually thinking of pressure to conform to 
unspoken and unspecified behaviors—like expecting everyone to be very social 
all the time. 

Re non-transparent communication: I think F2F is the heart and soul of a 
community, but I do believe that vilifying technology and those who like to use 
it is intolerant, not to mention positively Luddite. I also believe that 
communities are complex structures and that there should be clear, archived, 
and non-edited communication. For one of our more complex general meetings, I 
took my mp3 recorder and was glad I did, because several people specifically 
asked to have their comments included in the minutes, and yet ... they were 
not. The mp3 file is now available on our website as a link to cloud storage 
(it’s rather large). 
Another example of transparency: I was on the security team and we had a rash 
of petty thefts, and of course the predictable hue and cry. However, not only 
did everyone have an opinion, some were speaking for the community, as in “We 
don’t want this,  no one wants that, we talked about that years ago.” But we 
have quite a few new families with young children, so I knew I wasn’t getting a 
good sampling. I used SurveyMonkey.com to craft a survey and sent it around, to 
give the team some guidance and insight into what people really want. I ended 
up doing a follow-up survey, at the request of some residents. And then a 
neighboring coho asked me to do one for them, which I was pleased to do. 
Meanwhile people in my own community were anonymously leaving insulting 
comments about me on the survey form. Now we are installing more lights and 
some security cameras, and the surveys and decisions are stored on the team 
page. I chose to withdraw from the team after that because it was clear that 
people were targeting me with their displeasure and fear of change, instead of 
addressing the real issues—mainly that we’re in a Bermuda Triangle between 
three drug rehabs and crime here is on the rise. (Well, we ORDERED a camera but 
when it arrived the new team leader couldn’t figure out how to use it so she 
sent it back. Sigh.)
Without this kind of archived information, the loudest voices in the community 
hold sway, simply because they can shout down everyone else. 
Btw, I’m 60 years old and find all these tasks extremely easy to perform, so 
age is not an excuse!

Re: Old Guard elitism – yes an unwillingness to change or even discuss new 
ideas. As I mentioned, we have some new families (and newborns!) which is 
refreshing as our first flock of chicks are grown and have flown the nest. Some 
people are still clinging, however, to the most ridiculous things, from how 
people refer to the community buildings (the gym must always be called ‘MPR’) 
to a brown, crusty, disgusting first aid kit. Anyway, it’s not the details that 
are the issue—it’s the intolerance of change.

Thank you again for your questions and comments!
Mary


From: Mariana Almeida 
Sent: Friday, January 22, 2016 1:58 PM
To: Mary Baker, Solid Communications 
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Types of conflict in cohousing -- did I miss any?

I like your list, Mary. This is potentially a very useful list for groups!




Here are some thoughts, below. 


A workshop I took talked about these as the main sources of conflicts in teams: 
 


Roles
Goals
Expectations
Style

For ease of remembering, I might group the ones you mention into these 
categories, plus I added one called "Lack of skills"

Roles

Here, I might add: Unclear expectation for committees, leaders in committees, 
that sort of thing...as you mention below: team tsars

Goals:
Confusion of where cohousing is social and where it is a business-like thing - 
so not knowing what is the goal for specific activities. As you said: For 
instance, some people like everything to be quantified (work hours, etc) and 
others like things to be inspirational. Some of the problems mentioned are that 
team leaders set themselves up as Team Tsars and never relinquish control, some 
people harshly judge others for not participating socially, and so on. 


Expectations 
* Absence of normal consequences — the absence of consequences you find in 
"real world" scenarios like businesses, non-profits, social organizations -- 
What is that consequence you're thinking? Cohousing has social consequences of 
someone becoming isolated, but they can't be fired...
* Compelled behaviors and expectations - -- I would clarify as: lack of buy in 
for agreements and its attendant lack of follow through

Style: 

* Conflict avoidance, instead of real conflict resolution

* Culture clashes — most often seen in team leadership, turf ownership, and 
participation. Often related to differing management styles.  Sometimes people 
of different nationalities approach management and participation with very 
different expectations.

* Non-transparent channels of communication — often caused by fear of 
technology and digital communication. Leads to proliferation of gossip, 
cliques, and manipulation -- My comment on this one is that it idealizes 
digital communication a bit much. A cohesive group can run well without digital 
communications, but it's more laborious. Can you restate this in a more neutral 
manner? Is it about non-inclusive communications rather than the media type? Or 
a style of communication?


Lack of skills: 
* Lack of sensitive conflict management — some communities that do have 
conflict resolution processes only apply them to material disputes, and not to 
emotional hurt
* Over-reacting to minor skirmishes – trying to enforce new rules for everyone 
instead of negotiating a minor dispute  -- I would comment this is a lack of 
skill related to "right-sizing" the intervention, plus a dash of conflict 
avoidance. 

* Old Guard elitism -- what is this one about? Unwillingness to change? Not 
sure where to slot it. 


The only unique one to cohousing is probably the lack of consequences for bad 
actions, though some workplaces also share this characteristic. 

Your book sounds interesting! Let us know when it's ready!

Best, 
Mariana
Berkeley Cohousing, Calif




------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  From: "Mary Baker, Solid Communications" <mary [at] solid-communications.com>
  To: cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org 
  Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2016 1:14 PM
  Subject: [C-L]_ Types of conflict in cohousing -- did I miss any?



  I'm very close to finishing the DIY Conflict Resolution Workbook! Shooting 
for publication next week! 

  Meanwhile, I have a section at the end called Notes for Cohousing Communities 
in which I talk about problems specific to these types of communities. Here is 
a list of problems that can generate conflict, culled from my own experience 
and submitted by others. Can you think of any that I have not included?

  * Conflict avoidance, instead of real conflict resolution

  * Absence of normal consequences — the absence of consequences you find in 
"real world" scenarios like businesses, non-profits, social organizations. 

  * Culture clashes — most often seen in team leadership, turf ownership, and 
participation. Often related to differing management styles. For instance, some 
people like everything to be quantified (work hours, etc) and others like 
things to be inspirational. Some of the problems mentioned are that team 
leaders set themselves up as Team Tsars and never relinquish control, some 
people harshly judge others for not participating socially, and so on. 
Sometimes people of different nationalities approach management and 
participation with very different expectations.

  * Compelled behaviors and expectations 

  * Lack of sensitive conflict management — some communities that do have 
conflict resolution processes only apply them to material disputes, and not to 
emotional hurt

  * Non-transparent channels of communication — often caused by fear of 
technology and digital communication. Leads to proliferation of gossip, 
cliques, and manipulation.

  * Old Guard elitism

  * Over-reacting to minor skirmishes – trying to enforce new rules for 
everyone instead of negotiating a minor dispute 

  If you have any comments or examples, please feel free to share! 

  Read more: 
http://thecohousinglife.proboards.com/thread/44/types-conflict-cohousing-any#ixzz3xupdBYEF

  Warm regards,
  Mary Baker


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