Conflict is inevitable. We can help.
Conflict can be healthy and valuable. The ways in which conflict is managed and addressed can have a significant impact.
In any vibrant, diverse community there are bound to be disagreements and misunderstandings. Direct, open, constructive, and cooperative dialogue, in which all parties acknowledge and understand their contributions to a conflict, can lead to a fuller understanding of the situation and a satisfactory resolution. The clear preference of MUIH is that any resolution of concerns, complaints, or conflicts proceeds in the spirit of interconnectedness, reconciliation, and healing. This possibility is enhanced when the parties can come together and develop an agreement. Any efforts that serve to achieve reconciliation are therefore encouraged.
Our Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution serves as a valuable resource for students seeking assistance with managing conflict. Our team is available for consultation and facilitated dialogue, as needed. If your conflict involves a faculty or staff member, our University maintains a grievance policy for formal or informal resolution.
We offer the following tips for managing conflict:
- Conflict can be mitigated through effective communication. Working on a group project? We recommend discussing expectations from the start. Share your ideas, strengths, and concerns. And do your part to follow through on your responsibilities based on the timeline that you agreed to. When meeting, put your plan in writing so that everyone in the group is clear on what each member is going to do and by what deadline(s). This can minimize stress and lead to greater productivity within the group.
- Ground yourself. Do not react when your emotions are heightened. This is the time to practice self-care. Take a moment to center yourself before you respond. Breathe deeply. Reflect. Talk to someone you trust when necessary. And, prepare to have the conversation in a respectful manner.
- Feeling overwhelmed? Please ask for help. If you are experiencing distress due to conflict, reach out to our Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution to schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns and explore strategies for addressing the behaviors that are upsetting to you. The earlier you recognize that you need support, the better we can help promote healing. Consult about conflict resolution strategies and gain emotional support too.
- Be mindful of behaviors that may amplify the conflict. If you choose to discuss your concern with others, ask yourself what is motivating you to do so. Is it to process so that you can have a productive conversation? Or to recruit others to reinforce your perspective?
- Take time for self-reflection. Both before and after any conversation, it is important to reflect upon your experiences and views that could be influencing your perception of the issue(s). What unconscious assumptions and bias need to be examined? Continually learning is a lifelong process, and taking time for self-reflection will help you be more aware of your impact.
- Approach the conversation with an open heart and an open mind. Engage in conversation in a private, comfortable setting. To facilitate reconciliation and healing, focus on deep listening and seek mutual understanding. When sharing, use “I statements.” At the end of the dialogue, summarize your plan moving forward to ensure that you are in agreement.
- Follow-Up. In addition to taking time for self-reflection and putting strategies in place to follow-through on any commitments that you may have made, we generally recommend a general check in after a conflict resolution conversation.