The Wheel of Conflict
The Wheel of Conflict (Moore and Mayer) helps to explore the various factors that contribute to a dispute arising and to how it may then evolve. It can be helpful to apply to any conflict because it widens thinking about the different aspects that are often involved.
There are five particular segments to the wheel with a central focus on ‘needs’.
What result do you want? Understanding the needs and requirements of everyone involved will be crucial to progressing through the dispute.
Feelings and emotional responses and how they may shift over time are important to acknowledge. The dispute may have begun here if emotions were out of control.
Understanding the background to the dispute can reveal contributing factors. When those involved have a long relationship it may be the case that biases have been formed and perceptions created about what is “really” happening.
Tuning into the dynamics of the group involved will reveal whether anything that’s happening here is fuelling the conflict. Organisational structure is also relevant, for example where teams can have competing targets and priorities or where time and resources are different.
The values that we hold are shaped from our early years. They are those things that are important to us that we will choose to prioritise in our lives. Values form part of our identity and are deeply personal to us. If they are contradicted, then we may feel threatened. In a dispute with others we may find that we hold different, conflicting values; we might also discover some that we share that will help find common ground.
We are always communicating. Ineffective communication is a common trigger of conflict while good communication will help to move a dispute forwards. Listening is important. The words we use, our tone of the voice and, of course, our non-verbal communication will be telling.