Grace, Amanda, Tyler and Lulu are working on a group project at the moment. Unfortunately none of the group members are enjoying the experience. Let’s hear what’s been happening from Grace’s point of view.

Let’s have a look at Grace’s story and see if we can identify the facts, the feelings and what’s really important for her.

1. What are the facts?
What does Grace actually know?
  • Everyone in the group will receive the same mark
  • The group is supposed to meet regularly
  • The other person who turns up regularly to group meetings is Amanda
  • In her opinion some completed work by other students is below standard
What has she assumed?
  • Some group members intend to be freeloaders
What evidence does she have?
  • Experience at group meetings so far
  • Some completed work
Could anyone else have other information that might change things?
  • What information might the other group members have?
  • What information might her lecturer or tutor have?
  • Is there anyone else relevant to the situation that may have information?

Next you could consider what are the feelings involved in the conflict.

2. What is Grace feeling?
  • Under pressure
  • That the situation is unfair
  • She’s stressed out by the whole thing
  • She doesn’t have time for it

It is useful to figure out how you are feeling when you are in conflict as it can help you understand what is really important to you. What you’re feeling and how strongly you’re feeling it may also influence the choices you make.

3. What’s really important?

Sometimes people get focused on a particular outcome and don’t realise that it is not actually the most important thing to them. A useful question to ask yourself is “why do I want this particular outcome?”

In this situation Grace has said that she really cares about her mark but it’s not clear why that’s really important to her.

If we asked her to consider why she wants that particular outcome she may say that it’s important to her that she receives a good grade because:

  • She wants to maintain a high GPA in order to be accepted into an honours program the following year
  • She’s on a scholarship and needs to maintain a high grades in order to continue receiving funding
  • She has sacrificed a lot to return to university and has high expectations of herself and would be personally devastated to receive a low mark

We have put together a worksheet that you can use to get clearer about what’s going on? in your own conflict.