I agree with Suelin about having everyone list their top 5 values. That can help towards
having everyone work on solving the same combined problem (How do we meet
everyone's most important needs?) rather than being in conflict.
Some needs are easier to meet than others, so smaller needs also need
to be respected and considered and overridden only if necessary and with
expressions of regret.
One method that might or might not help is: whenever a conflict occurs, (a conflict of
needs, not necessarily a heated conflict; even if one person says that's OK
I'll do without it) you can list it on a log, with each person involved recording
the level of importance to them. Then, glancing over the log you can see if
someone has listed a lot of things as "very important", and later when they
say another thing is "very important" you can take it with a grain of salt,
interpreting it as equivalent to another person's "moderately important";
and conversely if someone has come out on top on very few conflicts or marked
very few things as important then you
can pay more attention when they do indicate something as important.
Knowing this is the purpose of the log, people will likely tend to only
mark something as "very important" when it really is.
(But you also have to consider the difficulty of achieving things.
If it's "very important" to stuff the whole house with 8000 linear
feet of books so nobody can move around, even that might have to be
Ideally most conflicts can be solved by creative problem-solving to meet
everyone's needs rather than having one person "win", though, so it might
actually be better not to start using this sort of method.
You can act as leader in the sense of chairing meetings and summarizing
what everyone seems to be agreeing on, without taking on blame for
the decisions! If a decision needs to be made you can propose a method
of deciding (ordinary voting, or a bunch of other possible methods:
more complex voting methods, using random methods such as dice,
or final decision going to the people who own the place. etc.) and if
nobody steps forward as leader and proposes a different method then
you can lead people through it and refuse to take blame for the result
because they will have acquiesced at the stage where you say
"So does everyone agree on using this method?"
Also if there's lots of creative problem-solving and trying to meet
everybody's needs, then people will likely accept decisions because
they can (theoretically at least) see that there wasn't a better way.
Most or all problems should be solved by creative problem-solving
and consensus decision-making.
You can use humour: using interesting names or phrases for the
various collections of stuff and activities (making sure the person
affected isn't offended by the name), using humourous methods
of decision-making such as a ridiculous contraption for random
decisions instead of dice, etc. or have joke-telling or
"laughter yoga" sessions before meetings or when you
need a break, or just laugh when the opportunities arise.
You're not just building a physical space: you're building moods
and ways of getting along,
and what's laid down during this period will tend to stick in people's minds
for a long time.
I find that use of random decision-making methods can
(under some circumstances) help lift the mood and have people
feeling more cooperative.