The Greater Vancouver Interactive Arts Society (GVIAS) is committed to creating a fun, friendly and safe work environment. Open communication is the only way to create such an atmosphere. Everyone helps create and shape our community; therefore, everyone involved should feel heard and be taken seriously without being penalized for voicing an idea. These guidelines are designed to facilitate open communication and provide some tools for resolving conflicts between members of our community:
Review this document and familiarize yourself with its goals, and the recommended approaches for conflict resolution.
1. GENERAL CONFLICT RESOLUTION
Remember that GVIAS is a community of individuals working together. If conflict occurs between community members, we urge individuals involved to first discuss the issues with each other. Issues are best resolved when those involved have a face-to-face conversation. Make time to talk sooner, rather than later.
Communicate in a non-confrontational manner by stating why the other person’s actions concern you, and/or how his or her actions make you feel. Engage in active listening and allow the other person to be heard. Don’t make assumptions about the other person’s motivations, keep an open mind, be curious about where they are coming from and you may be pleasantly surprised.
If you find yourself in a conflict, conduct yourself in a professional manner. These guidelines will help bring about understanding instead of animosity and misunderstanding.
If communication fails to produce a resolution, ask yourself if you have done your best to address the other person’s concerns. If the answer to this question is “yes,” it is likely time to seek third-party involvement, as outlined in part 2 of these guidelines.
Everyone needs to “vent” now and then. Sometimes this can alleviate a minor conflict. If you need to vent, choose the time, place and person carefully. Needing to vent more than once is a strong indicator of a need for face-to-face conversation to resolve the conflict. Repeated venting leads to gossip, animosity, and further misunderstanding and hurt, all of which make working together much more difficult.
2. INVOLVING A NEUTRAL THIRD PARTY:
Many conflicts will be resolved without involving a neutral third party. We encourage all participants and members to engage each other in discussion. Inviting a neutral third party to be present is the next step if direct connection fails to find resolve.
Conflict With Another Member Of Your Team:
When a team member or a group of team members finds it difficult to work with another member, and have been unable to resolve the problem directly with the individual or within the group (see section II. B. above), a neutral party may be asked to help facilitate a discussion. This may mean the third-party simply encourages or helps arrange a meeting. Or, this could mean that the individuals wish to involve the third-party as a mediator in their meeting.
Conflict With Your Team Leader:
If you are having a conflict with your team leader and the methods for resolving conflict prescribed in this document (see section II. B. above) are not working then consider involving another Team Lead or for more serious conflicts, a Production or Committee Team Member, or GVIAS Board Member. Use your best discretion when making this decision. If your conflict involves your Production or Committee Team lead, follow the above guidelines, and seek to have a GVIAS Board Member act as a mediator. If no GVIAS Board Member is appropriate or available to assist in dealing with the conflict, seek assistance from a neutral third-party.
Conflicts Between Committee or Production Team Members:
Conflicts between Committee members or Production Team members should be handled the same as other conflicts within teams (see III. A. above). In this case, seek to have a GVIAS Board Member act as a mediator. If no GVIAS Board Member is appropriate or available to assist in dealing with the conflict, seek assistance from a neutral third-party.
Conflict With a GVIAS Board Member:
If you are having a conflict with a GVIAS Board Member then you should approach one of the other members of the GVIAS Board for consultation on the matter, for support, or to resolve the problem. Each member of the GVIAS Board is committed to the fair treatment of members, volunteers and participants and hold high expectations for one another. If no GVIAS Board Member is appropriate or available to assist in dealing with the conflict, seek assistance from a neutral third-party.
Last Resort: Regional Contact:
If the prior avenues have not been fruitful then you should consider involving a Burning Man Regional Contact. The Regional Contact will initially inquire whether you have attempted all the appropriate options detailed in this guideline. If so, the Regional Contact may become involved by bringing the necessary individuals together to find a resolution. Please note that a Regional Contact should only be used for actual conflict resolution, and not for gossip or venting.
If you approach a third-party about an issue and you would like the issue to remain confidential this should be stated at the outset. Please note, however, that everyone has a duty to report issues of grave importance such as those involving sexual harassment, physical injury, legal issues, survival of an event or the Society, to the GVIAS Board immediately.
Additionally, members of the Production Team, Committee Leads, GVIAS Board and Regional Contacts are responsible for reporting the general nature of all conflict resolution activities in a monthly report to the GVIAS Board. The Production Team, Committee Leads, GVIAS Board
and Regional Contacts hold the health and welfare of all members in the highest regard. Conflicts brought to them for mediation may be documented and discussed.
Finally, remember that no one has the power to prevent others from communicating information which they may have learned inadvertently.
3. FURTHER RESOLUTION
If the above methods have been exhausted, proceed according to the Grievance Policy.