How We Can Help

Harvard yard in autumn

Resolving Problems

A visitor may be concerned about retaliation, loss of control or loss of privacy. In a work or teaching environment that is team oriented and/or highly competitive, coming forward may risk damaging important relationships, impacting career opportunities or bringing into question one's loyalty to the organization. Because the Office is informal and confidential, the visitor and ombudsman can assess risks and explore options about how addressing an issue might be done safely and effectively.

Visitors are often concerned about career management. These concerns include advancement, loss of one's position, performance management, and compensation and benefits. It is not uncommon for a visitor to report inappropriate behavior of a manager or colleague that is intimidating or disrespectful. When weighing options, the visitor will consider how his or her decision will impact ongoing relationships.

Each situation is different and it is the visitor's decision about what next steps may be feasible. If efforts have been unsuccessful in resolving conflict, often new communication strategies (both verbal and non-verbal) can be effective. Setting appropriate professional boundaries often improves difficult relationships.