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Maryellen Nash
USF Tampa Library
LIB 112J

Managing Conflict

Disagreement and differing views isn't always bad - it can lead to creative ideas - but conflict is harmful to the group when it becomes personal and aggressive.


  • Stay as objective as possible - focus on the issue that you disagree on, not on the personal qualities of people in the group.

  • If everyone starts shouting at once, introduce a system of going round the group asking each person their ideas or opinion in turn.


Try to use language which doesn't single out people and blame them, but instead makes it clear that you are offering your own feelings and thoughts. Rather than, "You're annoying and always speaking…" instead, "I am hurt because I don't think the group listens to my ideas."


If the group really can't agree on something, discuss the pros and cons of the idea, then have a vote and go with the majority decision.


Borrowed from the University of Reading: 


Offering Constructive Feedback

It doesn't take much to stop people engaging in a group - if they suggest something and get knocked back, they may just withdraw. Think about how you would feel if someone criticised your ideas, and keep this in mind when giving feedback.

  • Find something positive to say, "That was very interesting. I never thought about it like that before…"

  • Let people know when you agree with their point and why, "So do I…", "Yes, that's true…"

  • If you disagree with something, instead of rejecting the other person's ideas, explore them, "What makes you think that…?" Have you thought about…?"

  • Be constructive and specific. If you don't agree, explain why and give evidence or examples rather than just saying no.


Borrowed from the University of Reading: 


Soft Skills for Business Students

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