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We get the call… fire fire, fire fire!
“Please help – there’s a relationship breakdown requiring emergency intervention.“
Whilst mediation is a brilliant means of resolving disputes in the workplace, we should be asking, what lies behind the need for mediation? When two adults in a place of work are not able to talk with each other and resolve differences or misunderstandings, then something is wrong:
- It could be the organisational culture is averse to addressing conflict and would rather turn away.
- It could be a weak HR department not leading the strategic management of conflict.
- It could be the management style maintains silos, hierarchic divisions and cliques.
- It could be the individuals are not able to have a ‘courageous conversation’ and speak with each other about their workplace relationships.
One way of another you’ve ended up with a deteriorating situation that has reached crisis point: ‘fetch the engines – pour on water!’
Becoming fire resistant
How wonderful it would be if an organisational culture could exist where individuals acknowledge their differences, benefit from the creativity healthy conflict can bring, and show one another compassion and understanding. What steps would we need to take?
- set a culture of respect
- develop leadership from the top
- create value driven behaviour frameworks
- up-skill employees to be more self-aware
- create a culture of feedback on personal working relationships
- embed diversity and, more importantly, the inclusion of everyone
- encourage courageous conversations to receive and give feedback
- develop policies to underpin requirements that are known about and understood
The path to fire resistance may be a challenge and take time, but the rewards will touch all aspects of the organisation creating a happier workplace for everyone; and a happier workplace is a more efficient and productive workplace.
Employee friction and conflict is inevitable, and fires will start – but there is much that organisations can do to lessen the ‘999’ calls for a mediator.
STILLHR can be your ‘4th emergency service.’ We can not only send in the fire engine to dampen down the flames of employee conflict, but we can also help put in place a cost effective ‘sprinkler system’ to stop any sparks of conflict turning into an HR inferno!
To learn more about STILLHR’s responsive services call Robert Still for an initial informal confidential chat on 07932 762448.
By Robert Still FCIPD of STILLHR