Career Services

Problem Solving and Conflict Resolution: Owl, Fox, or Bear?

Here at Menlo College, we recognize the importance of conflict resolution, not only in daily life, but also as a useful and adaptive skill valued by potential employers. In fact, “problem solving skills” are listed in Menlo’s Resume & Cover Letter Guide as the number 1 most desired attribute in a prospective hire, according to the employer survey conducted in 2018 by the National Association of Colleges and Employers! You heard right: valued even above quantitative skills, leadership skills, strategic planning, computer or technical skills, and even organizational ability, lies PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS.

If you think about it, it makes sense. We live in a world where conflict is a daily occurrence—whether it be dealing with a close family member or friend, strangers in line at the grocery store, managers, supervisors, or even in what we ingest through Netflix, television, or online, conflict is pervasive. It’s not always bad; in fact, in most cases conflict can help to push us to positive solutions and inspired outcomes that we never imagined possible (…wasn’t it Plato who said, “Necessity is the mother of all invention”?), but that doesn’t always make it easy.

In a recent article, featured on The Chronicle of Higher Education, author Alexander C. Kafka showcases the need for conflict resolution on college campuses as a preemptive action against the standard cause and effect approach: “Consultants say that when conflict-resolution programs are brought to college students, it’s usually in reaction to a crisis, often a hate incident. Far better, they say, to teach those skills early and pre-emptively, before the arguments over schedules, the academic emergencies, the drunk roommate, or worse.” In light of this ever-present need for conflict resolution, grade schools, high schools, and even colleges are turning towards curriculum or training programs to instill daily doses of helpful practice into the lives of young students.

But at what point do the exercises and hypotheticals become a fun game or icebreaker played at orientation as opposed to useful skill building? And how do we assess success or attainment of said skill sets when individual personalities remain such an ingrained part of identity and therefore action and approach? Kafka illuminates this challenge when he discusses the different conflict resolution personalities that have been established. He writes, “Are you the owl who collaborates? The turtle who avoids? The shark who competes? The teddy bear who accommodates? The fox who compromises?” Depending on your innate approach to conflict resolution, handling issues as they arise can range from “easy-peasy” to intimidatingly difficult.

The debate on the value of developing problem-solving skills can be put to rest. We all know they’re valuable, but what do we do with that information and how do we ensure that individuals are incurring these imperative abilities? Perhaps the place to start is with self-understanding. Is your starting point at the level of an owl, fox, bear, turtle? Or are you a different animal altogether? Take this conflict management quiz to find out, then post your answer below!

P.S. Looking to improve your writing or oral communications skills, including conflict-resolution or salary negotiation? Meet Dr. Marianne Neuwirth, Director of the Oral Communication Programs! Dr. Neuwirth, who has a PhD in Communication, has been teaching conflict resolution strategies and skills for several years with various organizations. Here at Menlo she conducts a series of conflict resolution workshops for multiple athletic teams to help foster cohesion and collaboration among team members. This is the third year she has been doing the workshops, and coaches have noticed improved communication and willingness among their players to engage constructively with others during conflict incidents. One of the most important aspects of the training is learning what one wants from the other party, and how to express that without alienating the other party.  Two of Dr. Neuwirth’s mottos include: “the best way to resolve conflict is with your ears,” and “you cannot truly resolve conflict unless you tell the truth.” Students express themselves with greater ease after these sessions, and see the benefits that conflict can bring. Click here to learn more about Menlo’s Writing & Oral Communication Center or schedule an appointment with Marianne or one of her esteemed colleagues today!

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    I found this article very interesting…please read!

    Do you remember the blockbuster hit film The Matrix that was released in 1999? You may not know this, but it has deep spiritual implications concerning the times we are living in and Bible prophecy.

    It tells a story of how these “agents” are trying to turn us into machines. We are closer then ever before for this to become a reality when they cause us to receive an implantable microchip in our body during a time when physical money will be no more.

    You may have seen on NBC news concerning the implantable RFID microchip that some people are getting put in their hand to make purchases, but did you know this microchip matches perfectly with prophecy in the Bible?

    “He (the false prophet who deceives many by his miracles) causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name…

    You also may have heard of the legendary number “666” that people have been speculating for possibly thousands of years on what it actually means. This article shares something I haven’t seen before, and I don’t think there could be any better explanation for what it means to calculate 666. This is no hoax. Very fascinating stuff!

    …Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666″ (Revelation 13:16-18 NKJV).

    To see all the details showing why the Bible foretold of all these things, check out this article!


    GOD is sending out His end time warning:

    “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name'” (Revelation 14:9-11).

    In the Islamic religion they have man called the Mahdi who is known as their messiah of whom they are waiting to take the stage. There are many testimonies from people online who believe this man will be Barack Obama who is to be the biblical Antichrist based off dreams they have received. I myself have had strange dreams about him like no other person. So much so that I decided to share this information.

    He came on stage claiming to be a Christian with no affiliation to the Muslim faith…

    “In our lives, Michelle and I have been strengthened by our Christian faith. But there have been times where my faith has been questioned — by people who don’t know me — or they’ve said that I adhere to a different religion, as if that were somehow a bad thing,” – Barack Obama

    …but was later revealed by his own family members that he indeed is a devout Muslim.

    So what’s in the name? The meaning of someones name can say a lot about a person. God throughout history has given names to people that have a specific meaning tied to their lives. How about the name Barack Obama? Let us take a look at what may be hiding beneath the surface…

    “And He (Jesus) said to them (His disciples), ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven'” (Luke 10:18).

    In the Hebrew language we can uncover the meaning behind the name Barack Obama.

    Barack, also transliterated as Baraq, in Hebrew is: lightning

    baraq – Biblical definition:

    From Strongs H1299; lightning; by analogy a gleam; concretely a flashing sword: – bright, glitter (-ing, sword), lightning. (Strongs Hebrew word H1300 baraq baw-rawk’)

    Barak ‘O’bamah, The use of bamah is used to refer to the “heights” of Heaven.

    bamah – Biblical definition:

    From an unused root (meaning to be high); an elevation: – height, high place, wave. (Strongs Hebrew word H1116 bamah baw-maw’)

    The day following the election of Barack Obama (11/04/08), the winning pick 3 lotto numbers in Illinois (Obama’s home state) for 11/5/08 were 666.

    Obama was a U.S. senator for Illinois, and his zip code was 60606.

    Seek Jesus while He may be found…repent, confess and forsake your sins and trust in the savior! Jesus says we must be born again by His Holy Spirit to enter the kingdom of God…God bless!

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