MSD competency C1

Relationship building

Build relationships and manage conflict with people from diverse backgrounds

MSD Competency Framework

Competency definition

Practitioners build relationships by recognising and understanding people’s differing worldviews and avoid being judgmental. In tense situations they inquire into underlying issues and find solutions that diffuse conflict.

Knowledge areas

Practitioners with this competency will be knowledgeable about concepts and ideas described and explored in these resources...

Skills and experience

Practitioners with this competency will have acquired qualifications, skills and practical experience that may include:

  • working and collaborating with diverse and multi-disciplinary teams
  • coaching, mentoring and counseling roles
  • community development or social work, experience working with vulnerable populations

Guidance for teaching this competency

Facilitated discussion
Ask team members to share personal stories of difficult or challenging interactions they are having with market actors. Share tactics or approaches related to developing trust and shared understanding.

Scenarios & role plays
Exercises that give different people roles, instructions and constraints which ultimately develop empathy across the group. For example The Last Straw board game and The City Game group role play.

Field practice
Workshops where practitioners debate and compromise on issues where there is disagreement. Structured reflection that allows practitioners to internalise and feel comfortable with compromise.

Coaching & mentoring advice

  • Prompt practitioners to debrief ongoing field work in relation to a market actor - discussing with staff possible similarities and differences in world views and how that may influence interactions or partnerships.
  • Take time in team meetings to check-in on people’s personal lives beyond the day-to-day work. Use this as a means to building greater empathy for where people are coming from and why they are acting the way they are.
  • Encourage or deliberately mandate staff with different points of view to work together. Foster a friendly debate culture where staff call each other out on their assumptions and present different perspectives.

Guidance for assessing this competency

Traditional questions
Ask candidates to talk about challenging past relationships and how they handled different perspectives. Probe for their ability to compromise and to see other people's’ points of view.

General advice on traditional interview questions

Direct observation of practice
Provide a prompt for a situation where practitioners have to interact with a person whose behaviours are easy to judge negatively - for example predatory business behaviour or spending family money on drinking. Get them to role play that interaction. Observe how much they are able to empathise and inquire as opposed to being judgmental and jumping to conclusions.

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