Are you a facilitator? Have you ever been in a situation were you’ve tried to help two parties resolve a conflict and it just didn’t work. Not despite several meetings? At least one of the parties was probably too far down Glasl’s Stages of Conflict Escalation. It’s a model for how conflicts can get out of hand to a point were the conflicting partners dehumanize each other.
Facilitation can only help when the opponents can still recognize good qualities in each other. A win win solution is possible then. After that you need mediation and on the lowest stages you need the intervention by someone more powerful such as a boss or judge. The parties are not able to help navigate towards a resolution, anymore. I find this model helpful to recognize cases in which facilitation will not help so that we can look for more advanced help.
Are you a budding Product Owner? Check out our compilation "Skills for Successful Product Owners"
Content of 1-Pager:
Glasl’s Stages of Conflict Escalation
Conflict is normal. It becomes a problem if it spirals out of control. Friedrich Glasl’s model can help you figure out, what stage each conflict party is on and what type of involvement might help. The model applies to all kinds of conflicts such as fights at work, divorce, and wars.
Conflict isn’t voiced at this stage as it’s
often not recognized as conflict yet.
Parties start to talk, trying to convince
each other. Black and white thinking.
- Actions replace words
No more discussions. Actions underline
each parties’ stance. Empathy shrinks.
At this level the discussions are mostly factual. When asked, parties can still name positive qualities of the other party.
Parties look for supporters. Original issue
became unimportant. It’s about winning now.
5. Loss of face
Opponents are disparaged, including
exaggerations and lies.
Parties try to gain control
At this level the conflict is about the relationship.
7. Limited Destruction
Opponents not seen as human. Damage them!
Own losses okay if hey lose more.
Opponents and their supporters are annihilated with all means.
Personal annihilation acceptable as long as oppenents go down too.