Winners and finalists of the 2022 Indigenous Governance Awards talk about the importance of developing the next generation of leaders and how succession planning takes place in their organisation...
- 01 Understanding governance
- 02 Culture and governance
- 03 Getting Started
- 04 Leadership
05 Governing the organisation
- 5.0 Governing the organisation
- 5.1 Roles, responsibilities and rights of a governing body
- 5.2 Accountability: what is it, to whom and how?
- 5.3 Decision making by the governing body
- 5.4 Governing finances and resources
- 5.5 Communicating
- 5.6 Future planning
- 5.7 Building capacity and confidence for governing bodies
- 5.8 Case Studies
- 06 Rules and policies
- 07 Management and staff
08 Disputes and complaints
- 8.0 Disputes and complaints
- 8.1 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous approaches
- 8.2 Core principles and skills for dispute and complaint resolution
- 8.3 Disputes and complaints about governance
- 8.4 Your members: Dealing with disputes and complaints
- 8.5 Organisations: dealing with internal disputes and complaints
- 8.6 Practical guidelines and approaches
- 8.7 Case Studies
- 09 Governance for nation rebuilding
- Governance Stories
- Useful links
- Preview new Toolkit
Managing controversy or disputes in meetings
All organisations run into controversies about issues or changes under consideration. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but the way it is handled can determine whether an organisation will emerge from the discussions bruised and divided, or healed, confident and united.
The following tips for managing controversies in meetings are drawn from Eli Mina Consulting.
- Meet with the individuals before the meeting. Contact potentially disruptive individuals or factions before the meeting and try to resolve any legitimate concerns. Reassure them that the meeting will be run fairly and ask for their support.
- Set a constructive tone for the meeting—don’t assign blame. Try opening the discussion by saying “The issues before us today are not easy. At the same time I am confident that we can work together, debate the issues and reach positive outcomes for our organisation and community”.
- Remind members of the organisation’s vision, goals and values. At the start of the meeting—and again if things become heated—say “It would be helpful to remind ourselves of our purpose and goals for the future, which are: ____. If we want the best for our organisation and community, then we need to ask ourselves: Are we on track right now?”
- Remind people about guidelines for meetings. Introduce or remind people about the meeting guidelines at the beginning and have them approved/confirmed by the members. You might say “Let’s remember before we start the meeting today that we should speak when recognised by the chair, focus on the issues and not people, be respectful and behave properly”.
- Try to modify contentious proposals. When the issue is being discussed, see if the contentious proposal can be modified (without compromising it) to take into account valid concerns. Integrate constructive suggestions.
- Intervene if necessary. Intervene decisively if members are disruptive. Try saying “Please focus on the issues and not the personalities” or “Please give others the same respect that you want when you are speaking”.
- Use positive language. Convert criticisms into options and interests. Instead of “You sound unhappy with our leadership” say “You seem to be suggesting that we could be more inclusive and better tuned to the needs of the members that we serve”.
- Set up the room for consensus. This can be as simple as replacing parallel rows with round tables. See if you can break adversarial patterns by mixing the group’s various factions.