Introduction to Mediation and Conflict Management for Student Organizations

Being in an IC student organization is without a doubt a rewarding experience that proves beneficial to all the members involved. Sadly, it is not always fun and games, as members might find themselves in a position where their ideals are in conflict with one another. This resource is to give your student organization the best ways to resolve conflicts constructively and in a way that helps both opposing parties. 

It is important to remember when dealing with conflict resolution, the leader of the organization should only present his or herself as the mediator when asked, or prompted to. It is important that every member understands these skills, so that the organization leader is not always tasked with fixing conflict. 

  1. Finding Common Ground - even when members disagree, there might be points to their argument that are in relation to each other. When mediating conflict, it is important to look for this common ground in order to develop an effective compromise.  

  1. Listen - not just as a mediator, but it is important to encourage the members who are at odds with each other to really listen to each other’s arguments. It is also key to listen actively, rather than passively. 

  1. Respect - it is key to stress that even if there is a conflict of ideals, the two parties should still try to respect what the other is proposing. This can prevent issues from growing out of control, and keeping compromise cordial.  

  1. Compromise - this is always an effective way to mediate a conflict, as an effective compromise oftentimes makes both parties happy in the end.  

  1. Agree to Disagree - sometimes, the two members may never see eye to eye, and the two might need to agree to disagree when it comes to resolving the conflict.  

  1. Walking in the Other’s Shoes - it is important to imagine yourself in the position of the member you are in conflict with, as it could make it easier to sympathize with their stance.  

  1. Remember the Overall Goal - emotions can sometimes get out of hand when two members are in conflict over an idea. It is important to remember the goals of the organization, and to stay true to that with your ideas. Every org has the goal to be a fun, constructive space for students outside of class, and it is important to keep it that way with minimal internal conflict 

  1. Reflect - it is important to reflect on the conflict that happened after it has been resolved. You might have learned new ideas, built new relationships or you might have grown as a person. This happens after most conflicts, just look at the movies! Conflict comes with learning and growth, and even the bond in the club might grow stronger as well.