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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My question to you: Have you ever been in any kind of position of authority, and if so, how did you handle conflict?

Anyone may feel free to skip my life story to just answer that question if they wish. It just seems to help me to write stuff down instead of just keeping it to myself.

I started going to a university when I was 24. I was considered a junior. I had gone to a community college off and on for five years prior to that and had obtained an associates degree in mass communications. I needed money, and before I started the semester I received an e-mail about being a resident assistant. I had never heard of it before, but I thought it would work out well for me since I was going to move out there anyway.

I was assigned to a freshman dormitory. My floor happened to be one of the rowdiest of the building. They were RIM students (Recording Industry Majors). They irritated me like crazy at first. There was also a kid from another floor that liked to bother me all the time. He thought EVERYTHING was funny. He had a very loud and annoying laugh. I wrote him up several times, but mostly he just had talks with the area coordinator (my boss), which of course he just found more hilarious.

-One of my residents was found dead in his room; he had diabetes and couldn’t afford any more medication.

-We had to deal with a schizophrenic resident who was an air force major that was eventually kicked out of school.

-A girl was stabbed; she barely survived.

-Another resident messed around with the pipes and flooded three floors of the building. We had to clean up a lot of the damage. We had to bag several clothes that were soaked because so many residents just left them scattered all over the floor.

-I didn’t really like to conduct floor meetings- mainly because it was hard to get anyone to show up- but I did ok with that. For some reason, I’ve never had a problem writing speeches. I made an A in speech class, but I don’t really like giving them.

I had a hard time dealing with conflict, and unfortunately, there was a lot of it. However, I think that overall it was a good experience for me. I was good at the job as long as nothing was “happening” and I could just joke around with the kids on my floor. A lot them liked me, and many of them are still on my facebook friends list. I got along great with the staff after I warmed up to them. One of them is now my best friend. He and I rented an apartment the following year. We lived there for two years. He lives with his girlfriend now, and I still go visit him from time to time.
 

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Handling interpersonal conflict, in general, has been the most difficult and challenging thing for me (second to accepting and loving myself).

I'm actually on my way out to dinner (yayyyy) so i wont go into detail, but handling conflict in authority was even more difficult than handling conflict on a peer to peer basis. This was because a lot of responsibility fell on my shoulders and every action or word had to be carefully examined, because i would ultimately have to accept the consequences, even if it wasn't my fault.

Ultimately, I think that facing conflict has been the number one thing that has allowed me to grow personally and also become more confident and accepting of myself (I know, weird combination). During the period of conflict, I would feel emotionally distressed and whatnot, but I also found myself becoming more disciplined during those times. And after that time had passed, I looked back and saw how much I was able to grow and learn how to deal with people, which has been really tough for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I realize after writing this that my math has been wrong in some of my posts. (I hate math. :crazy:)

My self-improvement Era only lasted a year, although it seemed longer. I was still at very low self-esteem when I had that job, but I did my best anyway.
 

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Wow, Dave, those were some intense experiences you went through - character building, certainly.

Not liking conflict has actually made me good at dealing with it, especially if it doesn't really involve me - I'll just wade in there and sort it out. I'm happy to play the scapegoat, even, if it means that the two sides will stop warring. I've learnt to do that so that I can get back to my peace as quickly as possible :happy:

I've appointed myself as a leader in certain situations, but it is never a permanent thing. I just step in if there is a leadership vacuum, get the group on track and then retreat. I'm generally anti-authoritarian; I believe in the power of the commune and I wish to be included as "one of the guys", not be looked up to. I don't want to be thought of as any different to anyone else, it just doesn't sit right with me.

The other problem I have with being in a position of authority is that I detest telling people what to do. I pretty much have an "each to their own" attitude unless someone is encroaching on someone else's freedom to be who they want to be and do what they want to do.

I was a senior library assistant a few years ago and I didn't have enough work to do myself to make me feel comfortable telling my subordinate what to do. It was kinda "Do what you will, so long as together we get all the work done in time". That "subordinate" became my best friend. When I left she actually took over my position and she's much better at creating work for herself and bossing other people around - she's an ENFJ.
 

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Wow, Dave, those were some intense experiences you went through - character building, certainly.

Not liking conflict has actually made me good at dealing with it, especially if it doesn't really involve me - I'll just wade in there and sort it out. I'm happy to play the scapegoat, even, if it means that the two sides will stop warring. I've learnt to do that so that I can get back to my peace as quickly as possible :happy:

I've appointed myself as a leader in certain situations, but it is never a permanent thing. I just step in if there is a leadership vacuum, get the group on track and then retreat. I'm generally anti-authoritarian; I believe in the power of the commune and I wish to be included as "one of the guys", not be looked up to. I don't want to be thought of as any different to anyone else, it just doesn't sit right with me.

The other problem I have with being in a position of authority is that I detest telling people what to do. I pretty much have an "each to their own" attitude unless someone is encroaching on someone else's freedom to be who they want to be and do what they want to do.

I was a senior library assistant a few years ago and I didn't have enough work to do myself to make me feel comfortable telling my subordinate what to do. It was kinda "Do what you will, so long as together we get all the work done in time". That "subordinate" became my best friend. When I left she actually took over my position and she's much better at creating work for herself and bossing other people around - she's an ENFJ.
Same as me. Except I do not mind bossing people around.

I have been a leader many times... at work, on youth group trips, etc. I am emotional and I deal with conflict pretty well. I don't like it, but I think it's part of life and needs to be dealt with (and not in a 'bury head in sand' sort of way). Being direct is effective and refreshing. And actually solves more problems than it creates (long term).

that said - the examples you list in the original post are ABOVE AND BEYOND what I've ever dealt with as a manager. that's like a crash course in leadership, not your typical. hats off to you to surviving that!

P.S. i hope it doesn't scare you off from challenging yourself in the future!
 

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Overall, being in leadership is something that I'm constantly struggling with. I've been appointed to these positions by others "above" me because they trusted me to be responsible for the position and knew things would be in good hands with me.

However, this is when things bother me. I feel that once everyone has their assigned tasks, they should be able to self-motivate themselves and initiate progress on their own, without me having to check up on them and be a mommy. As a leader, I would consider myself firm, but gentle, and I think people take advantage of the latter. Once they see I'm not too authoritative/commanding, they start slacking off on their responsibilities. And then it becomes a case where I will have to check up on them, ask them to finish things, and then in cases where they get busy with other things, they'll end up not doing it.

And that's a really subtle type of conflict.

By the time it reaches this, I guess they expect me to be a pushover but I'm really firm. And I'll say calmly and clearly what the expectations are. And then they see this as hostile or problematic, and completely ignore me.

I know im generalizing by the way, but this refers to some experiences i've had. I feel like I am bad at "laying down the law" because i'm not too authoritative or commanding. I enjoy working with coworkers who are though. I feel like it's a good balance of being firm, gentle, authoritiatve, and effective.
 
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