When six people share only 600 square feet of living space on board, regardless of how much they all like one another and how well they get along, problems will arise. And if two of these people have incompatible personalities, the problems grow exponentially. Oftentimes captains are pulled right into the middle of knockdown, drag-out battles between crewmembers.
When two snarling coworkers are pitted on mutual destruction, there is only one solution: peaceful conflict resolution. Palm Consulting Group offers this acrostic to help remember the steps of peaceful conflict resolution.
R – Respect the right to disagree
E – Express your real concerns
S – Share common goals and interests
O – Open yourself to different points of view
L – Listen carefully to all proposals
U – Understand the major issues involved
T – Think about probable consequences
I – Imagine several possible alternatives solutions
O – Offer some reasonable compromises
N – Negotiate mutually fair, cooperative agreements
Now, let’s break this down letter by letter.
Respect the right to disagree. Opinions are like…well, you know; everyone has them. It’s important to remember that while you don’t have to agree with one another, you do have to respect one another…even if you feel their opinion is complete rubbish.
Express your real concerns. Oftentimes when arguing, anger can combine with emotions and cause irrational thoughts. It’s important to lay down the real issue that is being argued over rather than bringing in other matters that will further complicate the situation.
Share common goals and interests. Generally, the common goal is working together to accomplish tasks on board and create a great environment for guests and owners. Remember that while you may not like and agree with all of the crewmembers, you must be civil to achieve your common goal.
Open yourself to different points of view. This is a tough task as opinions and emotions run deep, but taking a step outside yourself to realize that someone else may have a point is important when trying to resolve an issue.
Listen carefully to all proposals. Listen before you speak. Carefully assess what you hear rather than coming up with a response in your head as the other person makes their point.
Understand the major issues involved. After listening, take time to consider all of the issues and why they are or have become issues.
Think about probable consequences. Before coming to a conclusion, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of the decision you’re about to make. Could it mean leaving a job or having someone else fired?
Imagine possible alternative solutions. As with thinking about the probable consequences, propose several alternatives in order to give options when coming to conclusions.
Offer some reasonable compromises. As those involved in the conflict come together with their solutions they should take both sides into consideration to decide if it is possible to combine solutions in order to make everyone involved happy.
Negotiate mutually fair, cooperative agreements. Once both sides have proposed their solutions and looked at compromises, decide on the best course of action for all parties involved to create the fairest solution. You never want to burn bridges in the yachting industry so it is important to find a peaceful resolution that doesn’t leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth.