Conflict Resolution and Mediation

Created by Sam Baran, Modified on Mon, 29 Jan at 3:52 PM by Sam Baran

Conflict is an active disagreement between people with opposing opinions or principles, its not the end of the world!

When Can Conflict Resolution Help?

  • You are experiencing conflict with other members or committee in your society.
  • You want to communicate your problems to anyone but you need to feel listened to and understood.
  • Conflict has arisen which you have tried to resolve but now feel that you do not have the ability to work things out on your own.
  • You are keen to try and find some sort of resolution that all parties can live with.

The majority of conflict arises from: 

  • Poor communication 
  • Unfair/unclear expectations 
  • Different personalities 
  • Loss of trust 

Poor communication

Poor communication is the most common cause of conflict; thinking others will know what you’re doing, and your reasons without you explicitly explaining.

How can I prevent this?: 

  • Don’t assume people know what and how you’re doing something. 
  • Keep all committee updated with planning.
  • Make sure people are clear what their role is and how they fit within the committee.
  • Communicate regularly with members and try keep them informed and involved with the decision-making process.


Unfair expectations can arise from: 

  • Expecting others to do things you wouldn’t do yourself 
  • Giving a disproportionate amount of work to some, whilst side-lining others 

For example: Asking a committee member to take on extra work when they have deadlines approaching, even though others on the committee have more time. 

How can I prevent this? 

  • Communication – ask during committee meetings if everyone is able to achieve their tasks or if they will need help. 
  • Set realistic expectations and check in with each other throughout the year to see if they are coping. 

If you need any further support/ guidance contact the union:


People come from different backgrounds & life experiences so may not always see eye to eye. 

How can I help? 

  • Accept each other’s differences – you will not always agree, and that’s OK! 
  • Don’t take things personally – encourage open discussion as soon as conflict happens so problems don’t worsen. 
  • Find a way to compromise – for example let each person do it their way at different times, so they feel they are being heard. 


Loss of trust can take many forms, these could include but are not limited to: 

  • Not believing someone will keep their part of the agreement. 
  • Not believing others' motives. 

How can I help? 

  • Do what you say you’re going to do, when you said you’d do it. 
  • Don’t gossip about other committee members. 
  • Be honest with your reasons for doing things. 


If you believe you have taken all these steps, and the conflict is still not resolved you may consider mediation as an option. 

The Students' Union has trained Mediators. For further information please reach out to the Advice & Support Centre or

Some of the steps the mediator may take are:

  1. Agreement to take part 
    • Mediation only works if all parties agree to mediate, want to find a solution & are willing to compromise. 
  2. Allow for story telling & points of view 
    • Ensure all parties are allowed to give uninterrupted version of their version of the story. 
  3. Identify what each party wants to get out of the mediation 
    • Ensure interests & needs of each party are clarified; do they have common reasons? 
  4. Mind map/outline possible solutions 
    • Create a list of multiple solutions that take each parties’ interests into account. Each possible solution doesn’t need to benefit both parties as you will be evaluating each one individually to see if they work well. 
  5. Evaluate each solution 
    • Go through all solutions one by one and consider; Does this solution benefit both people? Which solution benefits both the best? Is this realistic? 
  6. Create an Agreement 
    • Once you have chosen the solution that works best, create action points to help put the plan into action. If you think it would be helpful, you can write a formal agreement that all parties will sign. Consider another meeting to check how effective the agreement has been. 

Persistent Conflicts

If you feel you have gone through all the steps to resolving conflicts and are still having issues, then please get in touch with the Student Groups Team by emailing

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