Like the saying ‘a job worth doing is worth doing together’, the CEES Principal on May 13, set out to call on his staff to put their differences a side and work together for the development of the college. The staff had gathered for a leadership and team building exercise. The Principal, Prof. Anthony Muwanga Mugagga called on the members present to work together, learn to agree to disagree and to make amends with one another so as to build a winning team. The Principal cautioned against personal conflicts, saying they are a source of stress which is dangerous to one’s health.
He emphasized that everyone is needed at Makerere if we are to succeed but hastened to add that institutions will go on without us, long after we are gone, so it is important to play our part when we can. “It is therefore important for all of us to relate well with colleagues, avoid stress and stay healthy,” Prof. Mugagga said. “I pray that during my tenure as principal, we will have more people working together for the development not only of the university but also the individuals,” he said.
The facilitator of the day, Dr. Naboth Coole, shared with the team some sources of conflict, and some tips on conflict resolution. He cited lack of respect for other people’ opinions as one of the biggest sources of conflict, an ‘I know it all attitude’, management issues such as favoritism, unfair treatment as well as perception. “We all perceive things differently, this may in many instances cause conflict,” Dr. Naboth said. Other courses of conflict identified included unfair treatment of others, poor communication, micro-management and lack of adequate training for supervisors.
Dr. Naboth advised that if we are to solve conflicts, we must identify the source of the conflict. He hastened to add that when solving a conflict, don’t pick on one individual because a conflict cannot be caused by one person. He further advised staff to be open to divergent views. “we may not agree on many things but we can agree to work for one common good,” Dr. Naboth emphasized.
Participants discussed conflict resolution measures that can be undertaken, which include identifying the source of conflict, asking the right questions, aligning the goals of the institution to the needs of the individuals in so doing people will know who is responsible for what, the when and the how. The facilitator advised that it’s important to create bridges among the different schools and departments of CEES and create one family. Addressing issues directly with people is another way of resolving conflicts.
The participants undertook a session of self-evaluation, which is one way of resolving conflicts. The participants were able to identify their strengths and weaknesses and through the open discussions, they were able to identify how their weaknesses could be a cause of conflict in their work environment. Quoting Socrates, the Prof. Mugagga emphasized that, “Life unexamined is not worth living”.
The participants took part in outdoor activities whose intension was to open our minds to the importance of working together, mentorship, empathy, sharing, strong leadership and knowing that we all have a part to play in the development of the institutions we work for.
The team building exercise was concluded in agreement that coming together is the beginning, working together is success and beautiful orchestras aren't played alone.
Written by Betty Kyakuwa