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Referee or Team Builder?

by Yvonne Jeffries
November/December 2004
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/referee-or-team-builder/5016068/

Nine blind men encountered an elephant. Each walked around the elephant, rubbing, studying, and talking to it before announcing, with confidence, his conclusion. Each offered one of the following descriptions: A big city, a giant snake, a flexible spear, a tree trunk, frayed rope, a big fan, a thick rug, a mighty pillar, a solid wall, a wide sail.
â€" A tale from the oral tradition

There are as many different definitions of conflict as there are reasons for conflict. For the purpose of this discussion, I offer the following definition:

“Conflict is the struggle for something that is scarce or thought to be scarce. In a group, it may be attention, power, status, influence, the right to fill a role, and so on” (Johnson, 1992).

Do these scenarios sound familiar?

• Barbara and Claire can’t stand each other.

• Sarah has the children in her classroom bless the food before they eat.

• Management wants this today and that tomorrow.

• Before Donna can do something, she has to ask a million questions.

• Four months ago, you scheduled the conference room for 2 p.m. today. A red “Do Not Disturb” sign hangs from the doorknob.

• Jennifer makes you uncomfortable because you ...

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