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Ombuds 20:10 / Conflict Positive

The final ombuds 20, the10th in a weekly virtual meeting series (20 minutes) with the faculty and staff ombuds, started with a meditation body scan. Led by Alexis Steptoe from NC State Wellness and Recreation, we took some deep breaths together to get grounded. Then a quick explanation of the ombuds role and services. The ombuds is independent, confidential, informal and impartial. We help people navigate their workplace experience, support empowerment, identify and connect people to resources, and coach people through conflicts. Then on to the tip of the day.

When I first planned this final Ombuds 20, I was going to share the FUD based on a fellow ombuds’ post. Lisa Neale, Associate Director, University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Ombuds Office explained the FUD (Fears, Uncertainties, Doubts) as a useful tool to combat anxiety. With covid-19, she started thinking about the characters in the “Walking Dead” TV series – were zombies on our horizon? She used FUD to compare her fears, uncertainties, and doubts with facts (see her chart below). By doing so she was able to understand that a zombie apocalypse was not headed her way! Here’s a link to Lisa’s full post. With zombies still in mind, I wanted the final Ombuds 20 to have a more constructive and even hopeful frame and, thus, decided to explore positive conflict.

Lisa’s Zombie FUD 
FUD (Fears, Uncertainties, Doubts) FACTS
Covid will wipe out my family   Our science & technology are on this
People will mutate into zombies We are taking sensible precautions to mitigate this
The world will look like The Walking Dead Zombies do not exist

Several weeks ago, in Ombuds 20:4, as a warm up, I asked those attending to define conflict in terms of how it feels (angry, frustrated, sad), to how we typically think of it as negative (fight, battle, disagreement) and how to shift it to a positive definition. Conflict as positive may be defined as growth, opportunity, catalyst, potential, and progress to name a few constructive ways to define conflict. Make your own list!

And, that’s the final Ombuds 20 message. Conflict can be positive if we chose to frame it in that manner. I asked attendees to share any positive outcomes so far from dealing with covid-19: Have more time because no commute, walking my dog more, some co-workers are getting more comfortable with technology when they resisted using it in the past. Thus, even as we navigate covid-19 and all its challenges, if we stop and think and reframe, we can find the positive – Conflict Positive.

Want some help reframing to Conflict Positive? Go Ombuds!