Conflict Management for Creative Collaborators

Compatibility Assessment

As a mediator, I focus on conflict management for creative collaborators – writers, musicians, filmmakers, and other artists of various sorts.  I also work with couples and business associates since a relationship with a significant other, as well as with a business partner, is a creative collaboration.  My focus is not on administrative disagreements or contractual breeches, but on what can be explored, pursued, and actualized as a reasonable positive option for healing the relationship when the spirit of partnership has been broken. Just as a bone is made more strong by proper mending, a goal is to return the relationship to healthy functionality, and in so doing, make it even stronger.  Our work ends with all parties returning to an open heart, going forward with awareness that has been made more sensitive, skillful, and responsive.

Before going forward with this work, I make an initial assessment to establish viability of the relationship based on compatibilities.  Regardless of the history that existed prior to the conflict, I want to determine the fundamental grounds for collaboration.  Often, some common excitement, whether over a product, process, or shared pleasure can lead to a hypnotic “honeymoon” stage in the relationship, in which one or more parties are entranced into not noticing a presence or lack of something that will inevitably be trouble down the road.  Sometimes people come to me when the trance wears off, ofttimes wakened by an instance of programatic, circumstantial, or emotional disagreement. When there is sufficient alignment on the fundamental levels of style and substance, of behavior and values, the work of mending is not only worth doing, but real healing is more likely.

At this stage, we need to determine if the necessary elements of a healthy collaboration are sufficiently present and, if not, if the lack of them exists to a significant extent and on an intrinsic level. Fortunately, I mostly find people who come to me to have the fundamental ingredients of a sustainable, productive, meaningful, rewarding and pleasurable relationship, but because this is not always the case, I consider the inquiry represented by the following assessment to be very important.

The assessment is composed of statements that enable you to report on how well they describe you and, separately, your partner.  In the first column at the front of each statement, score yourself on a 1 to 5 scale, with 1 being low and 5 being high.  After going through the entire list for yourself, go through the list a second time, this time scoring your view of your partner in the second column, using the same 1 to 5 scale.

After you’ve completed filling out the form, look at the score you gave yourself and your partner and note the difference in your view of yourself and your partner.  Item by item, notice the way you feel about the difference per item.  There will be opportunity to share your thoughts and feelings about this difference.  Additionally, we will talk at our next meeting about what the similarities and differences in the forms you and your partner fill out say about your compatibility. If you’re not filling it out online, please print 1 copy of this form for each of you and return the completed forms to me 1 to 2 days prior to our next meeting.

Here’s the form.  Please give yourself about 15 minutes to focus on it without distraction, being reflective and giving honest responses.

__  __  I value being fair above getting what I want
__  __  I engage in processing what needs to be addressed when my partner’s feelings are hurt
__  __  I stay in the process until both my partner and I feel complete
__  __  I like to hold people accountable for what they agree to do
__  __  I like to hold people accountable for what they need to do
__  __  My thinking is grounded and reality-based
__  __  I take responsibility for the needs I see around me
__  __  I hold myself accountable to live up to what I say
__  __  I see and respond to what I should take responsibility for
__  __  I respond graciously when I am held accountable
__  __  I have a clear vision for this partnership
__  __  I have communicated with my partner my vision for the partnership
__  __  I understand my partner’s vision for the partnership
__  __  I am aware of fears I have regarding my partnership
__  __  I have discussed with my partner my fears regarding our partnership
__  __  I understand and am responsive to my partner’s fears regarding our partnership
__  __  I am a team player and value collaborating over pushing my own agenda
__  __  I look for and welcome feedback
__  __  I am easy to get along with and to work with
__  __  I look for ways to compromise
__  __  I admit when I am wrong
__  __  I learn from my mistakes
__  __  I am honest
__  __  I admire humility in people and in myself
__  __  I am a straight shooter and don’t have hidden agendas
__  __  I am sensitive to and respectful of the needs of others
__  __  I don’t take advantage of people even when I see how I can gain
__  __  I am flexible
__  __  I am a good listener
__  __  I will go out of my way to respect my partner’s needs
__  __  I am good at demonstrating support to my partner’s thinking, approaches, and ideas
__  __  I have and feel respect my partner
__  __  I easily and effectively express to my partner my respect for him/her
__  __  I am good at determining what my partner’s feelings, needs, and experience is
__  __  I am good at validating my partner’s feelings and needs
__  __  In general, I like talking with people
__  __  I am fine with loaning out tools or other things
__  __  I’m fine with loaning things out as long as I stay on top of their return
__  __  I get things done on time
__  __  I am more of a planner than I am spontaneous
__  __  I am more spontaneous than I am a planner
__  __  I like being on time
__  __  I treat wait-staff, salespeople, and other attendants with respect
__  __  I look for verification that I understand what my partner is talking about
__  __  I look for signs that my partner understands what I’m talking about
__  __  I respond effectively when I see my partner doesn’t understand what I’m talking about
__  __  I don’t get angry much
__  __  When I am angry I don’t communicate from rage
__  __  I’m effective at expressing my needs
__  __  I’m satisfied with my partner’s response to my having expressed my needs most of the time
__  __  In general, I clearly communicate my expectations

For couples, click here for some additional statements to score.


Copyright © 2014   Jim Lehrman