Conflict Management

Learn from Experiences

  • The next time an individual or group approaches you for help with a conflict situation, challenge them to use the process outlined in this article to guide their thinking. Work with them through the process and offer support. Working on the situation together using a structured process will help you develop your skills, and will give them a process to use while providing them the assistance they need.
  • Identify a conflict situation (e.g., a difference of opinion, disagreement about a path forward) that you know will be challenging for your department. To prepare, complete the planning questions in the Conflict Resolution Tips and Worksheet. Use the steps it outlines as you work through the situation. Be sure to discuss your lessons learned with the dean or a colleague after to help you identify what worked and what you would do differently.

Learn from Others

  • Find an experienced department chair who manages conflict effectively. Ask that person to help you work through a difficult situation. Schedule at least two brief meetings to discuss how their approach and experiences may benefit you.
  • Carefully observe how others handle conflict. Note those individuals who you think practice effective conflict management skills and ask them for quick tips.
  • In a departmental meeting, show this TED video as a way to start a productive conversation about conflict and how to get “good at it” Margaret Heffernan says.
  • Read the article "The Leader’s Role in Coaching Employees through Conflict," and discuss the concepts with a trusted colleague. This article will help you ​think about how you can help others navigate difficult situations and what you can do to improve how you handle conflict.