Don’t treat the symptoms of conflict, get to the root causes!
Conflict will occur even in the most solid workplaces. People often have different viewpoints or beliefs about a situation and become stuck in their positions. Conflict arises from;
- Threats to employment status
- Unmet needs
- Broken trust
Conflict becomes destructive when it is unmanaged. Conflict costs employees and organizations substantial amounts of money and time.
Conflict isn’t the problem. The problem is how we manage and resolve the conflict. If we begin to understand its underlying causes and our responses, we will have more successful resolutions. With the right guidance, the effective resolution of conflict can actually strengthen workplace relationships.
Our services are designed to improve relationships, increase productivity, improve satisfaction, save time and resources, and to arm the campus with tools to prevent and deal with conflict effectively.
Coaching is an opportunity for staff, whether an employee or supervisor, to work with a third party conflict resolution specialist one-on-one to help build competency in conflict management, communication, management best practices, and/or career development. The coaching session allows you to analyze your conflict/issue in a safe environment to help you identify its source and impact, and allow you to take a closer look at your own role in the workplace dynamic. Through this process, you will be coached on how to have productive interactions that may deescalate emotions and lead to problem solving. We will generate options and work on a game plan to achieve your goals.
Mediation is a facilitative process used to resolve disputes and conflicts.
- Informal yet structured process
- Led by trained mediators who serve as impartial third parties
- Parties decide substantive issues
- Promotes honest and open discussions in a safe environment
- Empowers parties to design solutions
- Focus on the future and how to improve relationships and issues moving forward
- Express emotions, work through problems, and generate solutions.
- Active listening and respectful, collaborative communication
- Mediator does not act as a judge, take sides, or determine who is right or wrong
- Parties are empowered to develop mutually acceptable solutions.
- Agreements are mutual, can be formal or informal, and are limitless in their scope and creativity
- Mediated agreements statistically have greater adherence because parties create and have buy-in
When to try it:
- Poor communication has led to misunderstandings and different expectations
- Maintaining an ongoing relationship with the other person is important
- Parties want to retain control of the outcome
- Need assistance in communication and presentation of information
- Desire to resolve the issues at the lowest-possible level
- Willingness to be candid and negotiate in good faith
- Avoiding publicity either within or outside their unit
Any staff member can request mediation. Prior to scheduling the joint mediation session, a pre-mediation individual session is generally scheduled with each party in the dispute.
Similar to mediation, facilitation is a problem solving process guided by an impartial third party. The primary difference is that the facilitator is more likely to involve the parties in making decisions about the content, including the development of ground rules and the agenda. Facilitators do not contribute to the substance of the discussion nor do they have decision-making authority. Such meetings often help clarify misunderstandings, work expectations, and helps to foster positive interactions.
Conflict-management training is offered for managers and employees to develop basic concepts, skills, and processes to assist in understanding the sources of conflict. We explore the psychobiological effects of conflict, your own response to conflict, and how to communicate with someone who has a different approach. These workshops are offered through UTLearn (requires login) under the categories of professional development for conflict management, personal development, supervisory skills, and communications. Customized training and education for groups and departments is also offered.
The Office of Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution is a resource to the entire staff population. Other valuable resources are provided to employees during consultations. Other helpful resources: