ManKind Project USA – The Door

Responding to Disruptive Behavior

Some conflict or disruptive behavior may need attention at an Area or Society level. The solution usually involves a need to clarify, change, or enforce Area/Society expectations or agreements.   Sometimes the best approach is simply to interrupt the meeting and address the behavior or conflict directly.  But often the situation is too complicated for that; in that case, however, the Area/Society should address it as soon as possible.

Response Teams

The best approach is for the Area/Society leaders to convene a response team. The team should include neutral warriors who command respect and have skills in mediation, facilitation, intercultural competency, or conflict resolution. The response team represents the community’s needs by determining expected behavior and agreements.  The response team’s goal is to hold space and gather the best individuals to bring the matter to a successful resolution. 

To determine the necessary response, the following points should be considered:
Causes: Why is the disruption occurring? Is it a conflict between the individual and others in the Circle or Community? Is it due to a professionally diagnosed condition of mental illness? Is it a cultural difference?

History: What is the frequency and degree of disruption caused by this person in the past?

Probability of change: How likely is it that the problem behavior will diminish in the future?

MKP USA and Area/Society agreements and policies: What is the agreement or policy that is involved? Is there a need for a creation of a new one or change in one? What levels are at play: Personal, Interpersonal, Group, Institutional, Multicultural.

Best Practices

  1. Identify who needs to meet – Allow for an advocate or support person for anyone who needs one.
  2. Create the intention of the meeting – an open to learning attitude, curiosity, sharing of impacts and intentions, and exploration for solutions. It helps to review MKP USA core values. A good resource is Good agreements and intentions for resolving conflicts
  3. Create a closed container – Issues and resolutions are easier to achieve when they are done in a closed container. This process is not meant to be transparent. Final resolutions and sharing of any part of this process with larger Email Lists, stewardship councils, or the community should be carefully considered and when possible agreed to by all parties involved in the resolution process.
  4. Facilitate the meeting by neutral inquiry – Stay focused on the goal of mutual resolution and what are the institutional, group, community, area agreements/expectations. What is the community safety concern? What is the expected behavior/agreement? Does there need to be a new community agreement or policy?


  1. Avoid having the person or people who brought the concern be targets in this process – Their role is to state the concern, present the data, and share how the behavior is a threat to the community?  The response team’s role is to determine if there is a legitimate concern for the community and if so to address it.
  2. Many levels are often at play during a conflict – Being mindful of what level is being worked on can help. Problems often occur when members of the group are switching between many levels too quickly. Also there is a tendency to move interactions to a personal or interpersonal level. Requirements for personal or interpersonal work like clearings may not be appropriate or can cause harm.  It is nice when things can be cleaned up at these levels, but usually by the time it has gotten to this level of involvement we are dealing with institutional and group expectations and agreements.

MKP USA Resources

Mental Health Resource Team:  when a mental health issue may be affecting the situation.
Intercultural Advocacy Committee:  when there are significant multicultural issues involved.
Safer Circles & Core Values Team:  Safety resources.
Reconciliation Team:  Conflict Resolution Resources and Facilitators.

​Taking Action Absent Resolution

Sometimes mutual resolutions are not achieved and action needs to be taken to restore safety. In that case, at least one member (preferably the team leader) of the Response Team should submit a formal Concern to the Ethics & Right Relations Committee (ERR).  If an immediate, temporary suspension is warranted, the Area Steward or Society Chair may issue a suspension in writing, copying the ERR lead and