Dealing with Negativity and Conflict

During my 11-year tenure as a department head, it became clear to me that most of us enter administration because we are optimistic individuals who want to help our academic units to grow and develop, change with the times, and thrive despite obstacles. We see our faculty and our budgets as valuable resources to help us achieve greater student success. We want to believe that everyone in our unit is tugging the rope in the same direction. We hope to spend minimal time with negativity and in conflict. And yet problematic exchanges occur—sometimes when we least expect them and sometimes when they are predictable.

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