Conflict Management for Student Orgs

Conflict Management for Student Organizations

  1. Story of Orange: Focus on Interests and not Positions. Getting to Yes by Fisher & Ury
  2. Explain passive/aggressive/assertive: we have right to express our feelings as long as we do it in respectful manner. Be specific and clear about the matter (no “always” language)

A Tale of 3 Organizations: 

  1. Conflict between seniors & sophomores within org

Seniors want to meet in crowded room during COVID but sophomores disagree;
if PASSIVE, then failure to communicate and no management of conflict.

  1. Conflict between an organization and the administration; 

VOTE NOW org wants a big endorsement from the Board of Trustees as well as a public forum with classes cancelled, complete with campus police presence; admin is slow to respond:
AGGRESSIVE response, then there are demands & disrespect; could ramp up to negative social media; no management of conflict; no advancement of goal

  1. Conflict between 2 different orgs who each want trying to host an event  

Kadima org and Words with Friends org are each trying to get more members; want outdoor event in same space/same time.
; they discuss common interests; coordinate and probably can help each other advance organizations because they are different; work together = stronger.

  1. Kim Scott’s framework for giving feedback to people (e.g. in your org) from her book Radical Candor – encourages us to care personally & challenge directly rather than responding with obnoxious aggression, ruinous empathy or manipulative insincerity.  

Example of conflict sr/soph where soph is screaming & you’re a cabinet member:

Obnoxiously aggressive: “you’re a jerk" (makes them defensive)”

Ruinous empathy

Manipulative insincerity

Radical candor: “I can understand your frustration with the Senior and think that with your screaming you’re alienating them – you might have more luck if you discuss it calmly and try to come up with a reasonable solution, perhaps compromise, because it would serve us all better; I can role play.” (this leads to growth, trust, positive change)

Good Practices: Within org:  have clear mission, expectations, type/method of communications, consequences for ignoring it, open lines of communication, “call in” and do not “call out;” 

Be an active listener; build trust. Make sure meetings are well planned, inclusive, time for “socializing” and don’t consist of leaders “telling” everyone else what to do; Be other-focused and inclusive.

Consult Ombuds website for resources