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Ombuds 20:2 / Reframe to Us v the Problem

Thanks to all who joined the second weekly virtual Ombuds 20 meeting yesterday as we had 20 participants. Some had their video feed on and others attended by phone. All are welcome! 

It was also exciting to welcome Alexis Steptoe from the ThriveWell team at university Wellness and  Recreation to start the meeting with a short mindfulness exercise. Alexis is a Nationally Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach and did a great job to get us grounded with some mindful breathing. Here are a few resources from Alexis to learn more about wellness and mindfulness – WellRec at Home / /  Headspace  Alexis will join us each week to get the meeting started and help us take a few deep breaths in this stressful time. 

Next participants heard a short overview of faculty and staff ombuds services. The ombuds role is designed to help people navigate their NC State experience, to empower them, to connect them with resources, and to coach them through conflicts. The office is independent, confidential, informal and impartial. Give the ombuds a call if you have any issue you’d like to discuss – 919-935-0922.

The conflict engagement / resolution strategy presented focused on changing or reframing a situation from you versus me to us against the problem. The idea is to turn your “adversary” into a partner to explore the problem and solve it together. Often the first step in any such a process is for you to listen first to the other person’s perspective. This serves two purposes. You model the listening you want when you share your perspective and there are also research findings that when people feel listened to, then their blood pressure goes down and they feel calmer. Someone who is calmer is more receptive to listening to another point of view. And, being open to hearing your view is part of shifting the thinking on the situation.

One comment from the Chat box added:  “Active listening (and not approaching a problem with already “having a story in your mind”) helps. Also, making sure not to reflect negative energy with negative energy helps in resolving conflict.”

Additionally, one participant shared that they previously had a supervisor who approached all problems with a focus on finding solutions together. Of course, not all managers and supervisors use this approach, yet you may be able to partner with them on some issues to shift to a more joint problem solving framework. Give it a try on a “smaller” issue.

Thanks to all who joined in and hope to see and talk with you next week at Ombuds 20 !