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Ombuds 20:4 / Conflict Styles

Physical distance – Ombuds connection. That’s the idea behind Ombuds 20, a weekly 20 minute virtual meeting with the NC State Faculty & Staff ombuds. Along with the ombuds Roy Baroff introducing ombuds services and sharing a conflict engagement tip, the meeting also includes a meditation led by Alexis Steptoe from NC State Wellness and Recreation ThriveWell team (check out the new WellRec at home program).

Last week, Alexis started the meeting with a Riverbank meditation. We imagined ourselves sitting on the bank of a river and “watching” the traffic flow by. We named each boat or idea that floated by and then let it keep on going! It’s important in this very challenging time to give ourselves some time on the riverbank. Thanks Alexis!

The ombuds office is set up to help NC State employees navigate their workplace experience, to help empower, connect, and coach them. The ombuds does this work in a confidential and independent manner wih a focus on informal approaches and from an impartial perspective. If you want some help and not sure where to turn – Go Ombuds!

Next we warmed up thinking about conflict via the chat box. How does it feel? (angry, frustrated, sad, disappointed) What’s a one word definition of conflict? (disagreement, fight, battle) Taken together, we don’t like conflict! So, What’s a one word definition of conflict that is positive? (opportunity, solution, growth, progress)

Avoiding Conflict

Then we shifted gears to a conflict engagement idea focused on the different approaches we take to dealing with conflicts, also called “conflict styles.” (based on work by Ken Thomas and Ralph Kilman’s Conflict Mode Instrument and Ron Kraybill’s Style Matters). We each have one that is our “default” (we use more often than not) although we may use all at different times and places. Here are the five main approaches – Avoid, Accommodate, Compromise, Compete, Collaborate. Each of these have a time and place when they are a great choice and other times when not so good. The challenge is to analyze and consider your situation and match it with a positive choice. And, that’s the simple idea of conflict styles – be aware and make choices.

Next Ombuds 20 is on Wednesday, April 15, at noon eastern. Hope you can join us and best wishes from the ombuds office.