Conflict Resolution Resources
Just like any group, there will periodically be conflicts in our chapters; among a few members,
among whole groups, within pledge classes, between pledge classes and sometimes within
council. It is not possible to completely prevent conflict, but there are many things that
chapters can do to prevent conflict and handle it effectively and efficiently when it does occur.
Below is a handout based on the conflict resolution presentation given by Kappa Delta
Alumna DeDe Guest at NLC 2006.
Conflict Resolution- – It is not just “Getting Along”
What is conflict? Webster’s dictionary defines conflict as a struggle, a battle; a state or condition
of opposition: antagonism; emotional disturbance due to opposed and contradictory impulses;
dissention, strife or friction
What are positives that can be gained from resolving conflicts in our chapters?
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Trust
Increased communication
Increased knowledge of differing situations
Better skills to deal with future conflicts
Better problem solving
Better solutions
We can achieve our SMART goals
What are the negatives of unresolved conflict?
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Trust is damaged
Many times, members will not work as hard as they should
Communication lines are not open
Time is wasted – long chapter meetings where everyone goes away disappointed
Decision making process is stalled/stopped – table the discussion/conflict rather than solve it
Perception as it relates to conflict
“Filters” allow us to perceive situations based on prior knowledge sometimes known as gossip; prejudice
and our own pre-judgment of a situation; many times we judge the situation based on the person who
shares the information with us – Shoot the messenger
Conflict has causes:
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When the sisters feel that the leadership is not communicating effectively
Decisions are made and not explained to the members
Members don’t have a say in the decision making process
Members misunderstand the meaning because of improper communication
Interested individuals do not understand what they need to do to resolve the conflict
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Opposites attract – in other words, you may not work well with someone who is “like” you – both
of you think you are the smartest person in the room
Anticipating Conflict:
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What are some key sources of conflict in the sorority?
Do they tend to occur at particular times – spirit week, recruitment, MSS, other
Are there times during the semester that more “fusses” occur?
How do the sisters conduct themselves when conflict occurs? Gossip with roommates, speak in
hushed tones during chapter, go to the source for additional information
How do we address problems and how can we prevent them in the future?
Do chapter members feel their voices are heard?
Preventing Conflict:
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What can chapter members/council members/CAB members do to prevent conflict?
A good sisterhood program is always a plus in a chapter – the better the members know one
another, the easier it is to talk to someone when something is not going well
“Bad news does not improve with time”
Conflict Resolution Strategies:
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Avoidance - If we ignore it, it will go away. (lose/lose)
Compromise - Give up something to gain something. Neither side may be completely satisfied.
(lose/lose)
Smoothing Over – Nice girls don’t fight. Concern for the other person but not for yourself.
Satisfy the other person’s concern’s but not your own. (win/lose)
Arbitration – bring in an impartial person when a decision can’t be reached. Must agree that the
decision of the arbitrator is final. One side will most likely be favored over another. (win/lose)
Dominance - The reverse of smoothing over. Focuses on your own needs at the expense of the
other person. The ability to do this may come from your position. (win/lose)
Integration - The goal is to satisfy both needs. Recognize the importance of the issue and the
participants. (win/win)
Getting a win/win resolution:
1. Define the problem for yourself before confronting the other person.
2. Communicate your understanding of the problem assertively to the other person
3. Based on your own and the other person’s perspective, arrive at a definition of the problem and a
mutual, shared goal.
4. Communicate your cooperative intentions.
5. Generate solutions to your shared problem
6. Evaluate potential solutions and select the best one.
7. Check on how the solution is working.
Dealing with Difficult People
• The Complainer: complains constantly but does nothing. Llisten to the complaint and let
her blow off steam. Make her take responsibility for doing something about it.
• The Know-It-All: has the right answers to everything, therefore never has to listen to
what anyone else has to say. Ask questions rather than make statements. Acknowledge
her input and ask her what should be done.
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The Hostile-Aggressive Person: bullies her way through and when that doesn’t work
throws a fit. This is often an insecure person, prone to shouting. Make your points and
avoid the tendency to shout back.
The Clam: never participates, so you never what she thinks or feels. Give up trying to
figure out what the silence means ask open-ended questions that can’t be answered with
one word.
The Wet Blanket: thinks things not completely in her control will never work out and
thinks others don’t care about her feelings. Pessimistic about the ability of others to do
their job. Discuss the problem and don’t offer solutions until it’s been discussed.
The Blamer: things that go wrong are never her fault. Ask questions like “Why do you
think it happened the way?” “What could have been done to prevent this?” How can
things be made right?”
The Agreeable Person: wants to please so much that she will take on tasks she can’t
handle. Has a strong desire to be liked. Work with her to understand that you will still
like her if she says no. Don’t accept commitments that are unrealistic.
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Conflict Resolution Resources