The City of Everett recently held its Lunch and Learn for the month of August at City Hall. This month’s program was titled “When the Only Way Out is Through: Gaining Comfort and Competence Addressing Conflict.”
Lunch and Learn is a monthly program created and moderated by the City of Everett’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Cathy Draine. It allows City employees to come together, share ideas and experiences and discuss new topics while enjoying lunch from a local business. The series is a part of the City’s commitment to engage, educate and elevate.
This month’s lunch was provided by Everybody Gotta Eat, Inc.
The special guest speaker was Antonio P. Castro Aranda. He is the director of Metropolitan Mediation Services (MMS). As director, he provides mediation and conflict resolution services and trains, recruits and mentors mediators in courts, workplaces, schools, prisons and communities.
Aranda has a law degree from the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) in Madrid, Spain, and a master’s in Public International Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law at Tufts University. He also has experience supporting immigrants in Massachusetts.
During the program, Aranda had City employees create groups of two. The purpose was to share a story about a conflict they faced in the past and how they dealt with it to each other. After they were done sharing their stories, Aranda asked attendees to share words that describe the feelings they might have felt in those conflict situations. Many words like anger, sadness, frustration, stress, fear and more were shared as he wrote them down on a whiteboard using a red marker.
After the attendees shared those words, Aranda asked them to share words that maybe could have helped when they were in a conflict with another person. Words like understanding, communication, learning, happiness, closure and more were shared and written in blue marker on the whiteboard. After this exercise, Aranda asked attendees to think about the different options one can choose when dealing with a conflict with someone else. He drew a graph showing the complexity of conflicts and how it is a balance of the issue and the person’s relationship with the other individual.
Based on the two factors – the issue and relationship to the other person – there are five ways one can choose to deal with conflict. These are avoidance, accommodate, compromise, collaborate and compete. Avoidance means no way, accommodate means your way, compromise means halfway, collaborate means our way and compete means my way. These are representative of the five options someone can choose when dealing with conflict with another individual.
City employees learned how to better face conflict through becoming more knowledgeable on the subject and recognizing the different ways one can handle it.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria and the City of Everett would like to thank Aranda for speaking to City employees for August’s Lunch and Learn program.