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Ombuds 20:3 / One Sided Conflict Resolution

For the latest Ombuds 20 virtual meeting (4/1/20), with staying home the current norm to battle covid-19, it seemed fitting to focus inward, on one sided conflict engagement / resolution. However, before we addressed conflict tools, Alexis Steptoe from Wellness and Recreation, led us through the STOP meditation practice to connect us with our resiliency and wisdom. S – stop and take stock T – take a breath O – observe P – proceed After describing this practice, Alexis led a short breathing exercise to help us get grounded and take a moment in this hectic time.

The idea of dealing with a conflict from one side, your side, was the emphasis of a pre-conference workshop I attended several years ago at the IOA annual conference. Taught by neuroscientist Nicole Gravagna, principle of NeuroEQ and author of Mindset Your Manners, she walked us through this self help concept. Gravagna explained that our brain gathers information as sensations, emotions and thought that come together in the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC) part of the brain. The ACC allows us to manage our behavior and the more developed, the stronger our ACC, the better we are able to evaluate and decide whether and how to act. The uncertainty of conflict lives in our ACC. So if we can strengthen it, we are better able to navigate, and to make choices about how to proceed.

We strengthen our ACC by noticing and not acting. For example, when you feel the need to do something and notice the feeling instead of acting on it. A stronger ACC makes us more resilient, able to work with our emotions, and make informed decisions. Gravagna’s direction was to do things to take care of ourself and, thus, to make our ACC stronger. We all can do this from home, building up our ACC to further weather the storm of the coronavirus.

Another framework for building resiliency comes from Catherine Mattice Zundel, the lead trainer for Civility Partners, a consulting group that helps organizations build a positive work environment. Zundel outlined four steps including:

  1. Build and maintain relationships – even while at home, make some calls, zoom some meetings, and stay connected.
  2. Make a plan – get as clear as you can on what you need or want to do right now and make a plan. I also added that building flexibility into your plan is key.
  3. Take care of yourself mentally and physically.
  4. Self-discovery – reflect on how we are responding in this challenging time and consider if it provides insight into who you are as a person. Take stock and then consider next steps.

There were 20 attendees for Ombuds 20:3 and we’ll move on the next meeting on Wednesday (4/8/20). Feel free to join and hope to see and talk with you this week. And, if you are having a conflict or dealing with an issue and want some help, contact the ombuds.