System Meeting Follow-up: Conflict in the Workplace

On, Thursday, July 21, 2016, Mary Fellow of the Upper Hudson Library System presented her workshop:

Whistle While You Work and They’ll Poke Your Eyes Out: Conflict Among Coworkers and How to Deal With It


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Description of the program:

Conflict in the workplace is inevitable . . . and tricky to manage! Mary discussed the importance of communication when working together collaboratively with different personalities and work styles. She also explored how people deal with conflict not only with our coworkers from time to time, but also when we work with the public.

The main focus on Mary’s talk was talking about key conflict resolution skills. These included choosing a response, communicating effectively, and going over active listening skills.

It is easy during a tense or heated conversation to become upset, but if you take a moment to think of it in terms of using “I” statements, you might have a more meaningful conversation.

Mary suggested using sentences starting with “I feel ____ (name the feeling) when ____ (describe the behavior) because ____ (provide the reason). I need ____ (to tell what would make it better for you).”

Also helpful was learning about different listening styles, such as comprehensive listening, where you listen in order to organize information, or discerning listening, where you listen to gather information and get a complete picture of the conversation.

Mary Fellows is the Manager of Youth and Family Services at Upper Hudson Library System in Albany, New York.  In addition to having a library degree, Mary considers herself a graduate of the School of Hard Knocks with an advanced degree in conflict management. Mary has furthered her education by navigating workplace dissension in multiple previous library administrative and youth services jobs. She believes that conflict precedes growth, and she especially enjoys helping others become more adept at managing their own work conflicts.

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