Resolving conflicts

Whenever people are working together in a group, there’s a possibility for conflict. It’s a good idea to consider how you’re going to handle conflict before it happens. Remember, if handled properly conflict can drive new ideas and form new opinions. It’s OK for group members to challenge each other’s opinions. It’s when a conflict is handled poorly that it becomes a problem.

Be open

It’s best to approach your group with an open mind. Part of working in a group is learning how to both receive and give feedback. Make sure you actively listen to everything that the group is saying and consider your responses. Make sure your feedback is considerate and constructive. The key is to ask plenty of questions and to take in the group’s answers.

Be respectful

Always be respectful of other people’s opinions. Give people time to express themselves and don’t interrupt when they’re speaking. You also need to make sure that you’re not monopolising the group’s time. Make sure everyone has a chance to speak.

Discuss

A large part of working with a group is about figuring out a way to work with others. This means you’ll be doing some negotiating and working on your interpersonal skills. It’s a good idea to have an open discussion in your group where each member describes what a good group dynamic looks like to them. How do they like to be spoken to? How do they like to speak to others? Do they prefer a structured session with an agenda or a something loose and casual?

Take a break

When a conflict happens and the discussion stops being constructive the group should take a break. Take some time to process the situation, look at it from a view different points of view, and then reconnect.

Reporting inappropriate behaviour

Students using Deakin Buddies are required to treat each other with respect and to follow the Student Code of Conduct. If you feel that a student is acting inappropriately you can report their behaviour.