Whenever people have differing approaches to problems, conflict may arise. Most people can resolve or put their disagreements aside and move on. But sometimes, especially if a person feels a loss of respect or perceives another’s actions as threatening, conflict can escalate.
Signs of Unresolved Conflict
- People who harbor grudges against one another.
- Name calling.
- Arguments that are disruptive and that don’t lead to resolution or agreement.
- People who talk about a person behind his/her back.
- Finding yourself anxious about the situation you will face when you encounter an individual.
- Being fearful about another person’s behavior.
- People going out of their way to avoid each other.
Assess your Situation
While conflict can be “one-sided,” as when a bully decides to pick on a person who is perceived as weak, responsibility for conflict is often shared. Resolving conflict typically requires the participation of all of the parties who are involved*. Think about what you can or might be willing to do to improve your situation. If you are concerned about the behavior of another person, think about what changes might make the situation better from your perspective.
*The exception to shared responsibility for conflict is if someone is in an abusive or unhealthy relationship and conflict is used as a means of control. In this situation the conflict is not the responsibility of the victim to solve.
Recognize that no matter how legitimate you feel your concerns are, others may see the situation differently. Resolving conflict can depend on the parties being willing to acknowledge and accept these differences in perspective without establishing “who’s right” and “who’s wrong.”
Be prepared to describe what would make the situation better from your perspective. Recognize that some goals like “having the other person fired” or “being assigned to a new job in another organization” may not be realistic.
If you don’t feel able to resolve the situation yourself, consider getting help from one or more of the following resources.
- Call us at206-685-SAFE (206-685-7233) if you are concerned that the situation has the potential to become violent.
- Talk to the University’s Ombud.
- Consider the services of the UW School of Law’s Mediation Clinic.
- Call 911 if you have been threatened with violent behavior.
SafeCampus is the central reporting office if you are concerned for yourself or a friend. We have trained specialists who will take your call, connect you with resources, and put safety measures in place to reduce the chances of violence occurring. We are available 24/7.
UW Office of the Ombud
Welcome to the Office of the Ombud. We serve the entire University of Washington community by providing a collaborative and confidential environment to discuss your situation, consider options, and develop a plan for the future.
Hall Health Mental Health Clinic (available to UW community)
Hall Health Mental Health Clinic provides mental health services to students, faculty and staff, including assessments; individual, couple, family and group therapy; medication evaluation and management; and referrals when appropriate to other campus or community resources.
UW Counseling Center (available to UW students)
The UW Counseling Center supports students in all aspects of their development, providing personal and career counseling, study skills assistance, and other services to those currently enrolled. The Center is ready to respond to students in crisis situations. Consultations with faculty, staff, and parents who have concerns about a student are also available.
UW Human Resources Consultants (available to faculty and staff)
Your department’s assigned HR Consultant can help you with information about leave eligibility use, planning time away from work for legal reasons etc.
UW CareLink (available to benefits-eligible faculty and staff)
- TTY/TDD: 877-334-0489
The UW CareLink program offers short-term confidential counseling services for faculty and staff at no cost. Master’s-level counselors are available to take your call, any time day or night.