May 21, 2007
Why Do We Avoid Conflict?
Adapted from: Conflict Resolution, a website of the Office of Quality Improvement and the Office of Human Resource Development, University of Wisconsin-Madison, by Harry Webne-Behrman: http://www.ohrd.wisc.edu/onlinetraining/resolution/index.asp
Negotiating a solution to conflict, or even just talking about it, is something most people approach with fear and hesitation. We fear that the conversation will be worse than the conflict, and so we talk ourselves out of any dialogue:
"Why should I talk to her? She'll bite my head off and not listen to anything I have to say!"
"Maybe I should talk to him about this problem... but maybe it will go away on its own. There's no sense stirring up something that makes us both uncomfortable."
"If I go to him, it’ll look like I’m apologizing. No, that's his responsibility - he should come to me and ask me to talk!"
Each person’s response to conflict is made up of behaviors, feelings, and thoughts as well as physical responses such as stress. Most of these responses make us extremely uncomfortable, and therefore reluctant to approach the other person. Thus, we follow the pathway of avoidance. In addition, if we have history with the other person in this conflict (e.g., we've tried negotiating with them in the past, without success), that further filters our perceptions of the situation. We become even more reluctant to negotiate.
Combine all that with this fact: our society tends to reward alternative responses to conflict, rather than negotiation. People who aggressively pursue their needs, competing rather than collaborating, are often satisfied by others who prefer to accommodate. Managers and leaders are often rewarded for aggressive, controlling approaches to problems, rather than taking a more compassionate approach that would appear less decisive.
On the other hand, those who respectfully raise issues and concerns with a view to negotiating a solution may instead be labeled as "problem" clients or staff members, and avoided or minimized. Our society, in other words, does not openly value negotiated solutions. One teacher of negotiation skills illustrates this by asking, in a deep, slow voice, “Pilgrim, would John Wayne negotiate?”
Because of all this, negotiation requires profound courage on the part of all parties: It takes courage to honestly articulate your needs, and it takes courage to sit down and listen to your adversaries. It takes courage to look at your own role in the dispute, and it takes courage to approach others with a sense of empathy, openness and respect for their perspective. Collaborative approaches to conflict management require us to engage in dialogue in profound and meaningful ways --- something for which few of us ever have any training. No wonder so many of us avoid conflict so often.
So, here’s the challenge: how will you develop skills to model peaceful negotiation for others – not only at work, but in your family as well?
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Eldercare Resources – Spring Programs and Presentations
The Work/Life Resource Center offers an information and referral service for those with eldercare needs, locally and nationwide. As part of this service, a feature with eldercare articles and local events will be included in Resolutions.
In this issue:
Turner Geriatric Clinic is offering two memory improvement courses that will meet in the spring and fall:
1. A three-session course for older adults
2. A two-session course for baby boomers
Please call 764-2556 for more information.
Senior Housing Awareness Week, May 11 - 20
The only annual event that brings together the people who provide senior housing and vital supports with the seniors who need them! Each year Senior Housing Awareness Week is organized by the Housing Bureau for Seniors.
Visit www.med.umich.edu/seniors for more information and to register.
Successful Aging Education Program
Aging with Attitude: A New Stage of Life
Tuesday, May 22, 12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
Turner Senior Resource Center 2401 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor.
Presenters: Mary Rumman, LMSW, Turner Geriatric Clinic, and Althea Rooks Jordan, UM Volunteer Services.
Are you thinking about retirement, or has someone close to you recently retired? As with any transition, planning can make the change easier and more enjoyable. Through this presentation, learn retirement strategies so that you can expand your knowledge, explore your creativity, and enhance your life. Light lunch provided.
No cost, but registration is required.
Call 734-998-9353 to register.
Co-sponsored with Blueprint for Aging.
University Eldercare Resources
The Work/Life Resource Center
Eldercare information and referral service available to all faculty, staff, and students.
Phone, email, or face-to-face consultations can be scheduled.
Turner Senior Resource Center
The Center has a wide variety of programs for seniors and caregivers.
Housing Bureau for Seniors
HBS has housing counselors available to assist with locating housing resources in Washtenaw County, and with resources to help your loved one stay in her home.
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Towsley Children's House Slated for Construction
The Board of Regents approved a proposal to replace the Towsley Center for Children with a new facility that will increase the University’s capacity for child care.
The new building will be located within the same footprint as the current Towsley Center on S. Forest and will combine the U-M Children’s Center for Working Families (UMCCWF) and Pound House — both built before 1915 — into a single new center, tentatively called the Towsley Children’s House.
Read more in the University Record:
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Interested in a Parenting Teenagers Support Group?
FASAP is exploring the possibility of offering a four to six week educational support group for parents of teenagers in the fall of 2007. Effective parenting skills and tools would be explored along with coping strategies for parents. Suggestions and tips for parents struggling with teen behaviors would be explored. If you would be interested in this series please contact FASAP at 936-8660 or email email@example.com. This will help us determine if there is enough interest in offering this series.
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NEED TO WAVE OFF DISTRACTIONS?
Tom Waldecker, Director, FASAP
A to-do list will work if you follow it! Although many of us fight constant interruptions that prevent us from crossing off what we set out to accomplish when our day begins. One helpful tool is to deflect distractions by breaking down big assignments into five- minute “mini-tasks,” and these will serve as stepping-stones to completing the larger project at hand.
If an emergency or a “must do now” request comes in, try to finish the mini-tasks first so that later you can cleanly advance to the next stage. In addition, keep your to-do list in front of you and in sight all day and then check off each assignment as it is completed.
There are times when we just get overwhelmed with all of the tasks and responsibilities we are facing. If you find yourself getting too stressed out and easily distracted often consider contacting FASAP to discuss some options for reducing your stress or time management contact FASAP at 936-8660 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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FASAP Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Eligible to use FASAP services?
All active or retired faculty and staff (including temporaries) members are eligible to use FASAP services. In addition, their immediate (benefit eligible) family members are eligible to (may also) use FASAP.
How much time should I plan for my appointment with FASAP?
Plan on up to an hour and a half for the first appointment. Subsequent appointments typically last up to one hour. Special arrangements for appointment times can be made.
What are the qualifications of FASAP staff?
FASAP counselors are highly qualified with diverse professional backgrounds as therapists, educators, and consultants on mental health issues. All of them have educational backgrounds at the Masters Degree level or above and at least ten years of post graduate experience.
Is my visit with FASAP truly confidential?
FASAP counselors adhere to strict professional and ethical guidelines pertaining to any faculty, staff, retires or others who use FASAP services. You are assured that all information is held in confidence except in those circumstances legally limited (i.e., imminent risk to life and court ordered reporting for child or dependent adult abuse). No other information is released without the signed consent of the client.
Do you see adolescents/children (dependents)?
FASAP provides assessment and referral services to eligible children of faculty and staff. In the majority of such cases a FASAP counselor will conduct an assessment and recommend referrals to a clinician specializing in behavioral health services for children and/or adolescents. It is FASAP’s general practice to conduct the initial assessment with the parent(s) of minor children and determine if it is appropriate to also see the child/adolescent prior to the referral.
Will participation in FASAP counseling services jeopardize my position?
No! Faculty and staff will not be penalized for participation. In fact the Standard Practice Guide (SPG) allows for the first visit to FASAP to be on work time if prearranged. Please call us to discuss this.
Will I be immediately referred to an outside party?
Initially FASAP conducts an assessment of a clients concern in one or two sessions. After that about 30 to 40 percent of those seen are referred to a specialized referral resource. The remainder, (60 to 70 percent) are assisted with our short-term solution focused counseling service (up to five sessions).
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Staff Profiles:David Perrotta & Kim Schemansky
Work/Life Programs Welcomes Two New Staff Members
Work/Life Resource Specialist
David Perrotta is the newest member to join the U-M work/life program. David began on February 19, 2007 and is serving as the Work/Life Resource Specialist. Some of David’s responsibilities include: locating local and nationwide resources for eldercare, registering individuals for the KidsKare program, providing information regarding leaves of absence, and presenting brown bags on a variety of topics.
David earned his Master’s in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Michigan (1998-2000). David’s practice area concentration was Adults & Elderly with a practice method concentration in Management of Human Resources. David also double-majored as an undergrad at the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus (1994-1998). His majors were Psychology and Communications-Journalism track. David continues to take a few academic classes every year.
Since the year 2000, David has worked as a case manager for the developmentally disabled and worked as a medical hospice social worker.
Having played piano since the age of 6, David also plays piano professionally at Salon Scappare´ in South Lyon on Saturdays. David has also played professionally at Laurel Park Mall in Livonia and Holiday Inn-Livonia.
In his free time, David likes to read books on psychology and biographies. He always makes time to spend with friends either going to dinner, going to a movie, or seeing a live band or musical.
Work/Life Childcare Referral Specialist
Kim Schemansky joined the Work Life Resource Center in September of 2006 as a Child Care Referral Specialist. If you are a faculty or staff member or a grad or undergrad student who needs help finding child care, Kim can assist you. Kim helps maintain a database of all licensed child care providers in Washtenaw County and is able to get a list of referrals put together for you based on your individual needs: whether you want care close to home or work, full or part time, or even just need care on a drop-in basis, she can help.
Kim received her Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education at Western Michigan University and is near completion of a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education at Eastern. Prior to joining us at the Work Life Resource Center, Kim taught preschool in her hometown of Hartland where she lives with her husband and two children and is an active member in the community. In her free time Kim enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with her family.
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FASAP AND THE WORK/LIFE RESOURCE CENTER WANT TO SPREAD THE WORD
A representative of FASAP and the WLRC can come to your department or staff meeting and make a short (10 to 20 minute) presentation on the range of services that are offered by the two programs.
To arrange a presentation please call 936-8660 and speak to a program representative.
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