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13th March 2013

Mediation and Managing Conflict in the Workplace

Individuals and organisations are currently facing enormous and, at times, unprecedented changes. Effective change management skills are crucial to supporting people through transitions which may highlight performance issues. Conflict may result and be a challenge for managers who have not had development in dealing with this area.

When individuals and services face competitive arenas, there are skills and tools that we offer so that managers will be equipped to successfully manage and resolve conflict. We will enable participants to identify and defuse potential areas of conflict.

If unresolved the implications for service delivery, staff morale and future working can be negative. Resolving conflict can benefit the organisation in terms of productivity, absence levels and complaints. Conflict can bring out the worst in people, so we provide tools and techniques to contain and effectively handle it. As conflict can escalate, we help to identify early signs and identify key actions. The Organisational Behaviour Audit (OBA) is an instrument that we have developed which explores challenging behaviours and helps us to target positive change.

People need to recognise and consider all the options available to them, to take actions based on principles worked out by them, so they feel they have control over the situation and can maintain their integrity and protect themselves. We provide a safe environment to discuss and address these issues.

Why Does Conflict Occur In Changing Environments?

• What are the specific causes of conflict or factors that can increase conflict during change?

• What happens when conflict is escalated?

• What are the useful strategies for reducing and managing conflict?

We have been running workshops in conflict resolution which have helped managers to address these issues. Where this has not been sufficient we have offered mediation.

Mediation

We have recently been engaged by several organisations to carry out mediation when the managers had been unable to resolve the conflict between their employees. These situations arose as a result of grievance and disciplinary processes that had recommended mediation rather than punishment. Shelly Rubinstein Chartered Psychologist has led on this work and has been successful in enabling colleagues who were unable to work together to find new ways of working collaboratively through understanding each other’s personal style and preferences using personality instruments. Each individual identified specific actions that they committed to taking forward and considered the following questions:

• How we want to work together

• What influence do we have?

• What do we do next?

The outcomes have been positive and the organisations* have reported a marked improvement in productivity.

*The anonymity of the organisations has to be protected due to confidentiality.