At university, we often have to collaborate on projects and presentations, and it’s normally the tutor who decides who we’re working with. Early on, there were times when I really felt let down by other people who clearly hadn’t proofread their work for grammar and spelling mistakes. It was usually me who had to fix things up for them. And then I also heard that some people thought I was a control freak. In retrospect, I don’t think I handled things very well as I used to get upset and storm off. Probably not the most effective approach.
There are four ways that people tend to react when conflict occurs, often as a result of their temperament or their upbringing.
A) Some students may feel resentful towards someone in their group — perhaps about the amount they contribute, or the quality of their work — but never talk to them directly. They may think that by saying nothing, they are keeping the peace; but in fact, through this non-action, the overall group assessment may suffer.
B) Saying that ‘everything is fine’ when you don’t feel that way at all is just as ineffective as avoiding a conflict situation completely. When you give in to a more dominant personality in the group, and none of your suggestions are incorporated into a project, the outcome may be negative for the whole group.
C) If you’re so narrowly focused on your own ideas, and immediately rule out the suggestions of others, you may end up in a deadlock. No tutor wants to hear “But we can’t agree on anything.”
D) A win-win situation is clearly the best outcome for both sides, but it doesn’t simply mean have a chat and ‘meet in the middle’. There are some practical steps that will allow you to reach a compromise.Gateway C1