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Conflict Management In The Workforce Presented by Kim Coleman Chief Executive Officer, Employment Ventures www.employmentventures.org.

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Presentation on theme: "Conflict Management In The Workforce Presented by Kim Coleman Chief Executive Officer, Employment Ventures www.employmentventures.org."— Presentation transcript:

1 Conflict Management In The Workforce Presented by Kim Coleman Chief Executive Officer, Employment Ventures

2 Introduction In today's society, there exists a common reluctance to "get involved" in a conflict situation. Who doesn't feel uncomfortable at the thought of an unpleasant and possibly emotional confrontation? We usually hope the problem will work itself out. Unfortunately, individual conflicts are rarely "self-healing" conditions. This presentation will address common workplace conflicts and lend helping suggestions and methods of overcoming them.

3 Conflict & Cooperation In The Workplace Conflict & Cooperation In The Workplace One topic that is of interest to most people in the workplace is conflict; how it works, how to avoid it, and how to deal with it when it occurs. It is indeed the rare organization that doesn't have to face the issue of conflict, and how to harness it so that it produces positive results rather than destruction. We are going to look at some important elements of conflict, how it escalates over time, and suggest a few general strategies for dealing with it.

4 Two Types of Conflict Two Types of Conflict Substantive Conflict Substantive conflict can occur on just about any issue, but its moving force is that the two parties simply disagree about an issue. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. Handled correctly parties in conflict can create, for themselves and those around them, the ability to resolve an issue with something creative, something better than either party's original position. Personalized Conflict Personalized conflict is almost never a good thing. First, personalized conflict is fuelled primarily by emotion (usually anger, frustration) and perceptions about someone else's personality, character or motives. When conflict is personalized and extreme each party acts as if the other is suspect as a person. Second, because personalized conflict is about emotion and not issues, problem solving almost never works, because neither party is really interested in solving a problem...in fact, in extreme cases, the parties go out of their ways to create new ones, imagined or real. Third, personalized conflicts almost always get worse over time, if they cannot be converted to substantive conflict. That is because each person expects problems, looks for them, finds them, and gets angrier.

5 Solution Strategy #1 Solution Strategy #1 Identification When involved in a conflict situation, it is important that you are aware of whether you and the other party are dealing with a substantive conflict or a personalized one. It isn't always easy to tell them apart, and it is difficult to look honestly at oneself. Ask yourself the following questions: Do I dislike the other person or get frustrated with him/her? Do I see the other person as untrustworthy, and undeserving of respect? Is my emotional reaction to the conflict appropriate to it's seriousness or lack thereof? Do I really want to "win"? yes If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you may be setting yourself up for a personalized conflict that nobody can win in the long term. With respect to the other person, one good indicator of a personalized conflict situation is that the person will try to counter your substantive point on the issue with a series of DIFFERENT reasons why you are wrong.

6 Solution Strategy #2 Move To Substantive Issues Even in situations where both you and the other party have personalized the conflict, you can work to focus on specific issues. You have not direct control over another person, but you have control over yourself. By moving to the issues, and staying there, you will also encourage the other person to do so. It isn't easy, of course. The trick is to try to put aside your negative perceptions about the other person, and not to dwell on them. That's an internal thing. Every time you think to yourself "what an idiot“ (or all the other negative things), you make it that more difficult to stay focused on problem- solving, rather than winning, or getting your own way.

7 Solution Strategy #3 Work To Prevent Personalization The easiest of all to manage. It is rare that personalization occurs just on the basis of two incompatible personalities. Usually, personalization occurs because conflict on substantive issues is handled badly. That is, one or both parties behaves in non-cooperative ways.

8 Solution Strategy #4 Using Positive Language Language is an exceedingly powerful tool. Whether you communicate orally, or in written form, the way you express yourself will affect whether your message is received positively or negatively. Even when you are conveying unpleasant news, the impact can be softened by the use of what we call positive language. Use I Messages for positive communication- I think - I feel - I believe Avoid using- I don’t - I wont – I can’t You don’t – You won’t – You can’t

9 Mediation Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution that may be offered by your employer. Mediation is an informal process in which a neutral third party assists the opposing parties to reach a voluntary, negotiated resolution. The decision to mediate is completely voluntary for the charging party and the employer. Mediation gives the parties the opportunity to discuss the issues raised in the charge, clear up misunderstandings, determine the underlying interests or concerns, find areas of agreement and, ultimately, to incorporate those areas of agreements into resolutions. A mediator does not resolve the charge or impose a decision on the parties. Instead, the mediator helps the parties to agree on a mutually acceptable resolution.

10 Advantages of Mediation Mediation is an efficient process that saves time and money. Successful mediation avoids a time consuming investigation and achieves a prompt resolution of the charge. The majority of mediations are completed in one session, which usually lasts for one to five hours. Mediation is fair. Mediators are neutral third parties who have no interest in the outcome. Their role is to help the parties resolve the charge. Mediation is a confidential process. The sessions are not tape-recorded or transcribed. Notes taken during the mediation are discarded. Settlement agreements secured during mediation do not constitute an admission by the employer of any violation of laws enforced by the EEOC. Mediation avoids lengthy and unnecessary litigation.

11 Grievances and Complaints Because this process is varied according to the employer, it is best to always learn the grievance process offered by your employer. Always follow the process as outlined. Don’t skip levels. This may negatively affect your outcome. Should this type of informal resolution be unsuccessful, you may choose to initiate a formal grievance or complaint. Find out what the next levels above the grievance process outcome are with your employer.

12 Things To Remember for Personal Development Fix the problem not the blame Tell people what you want, not how to do it Manage the function not the paperwork Get out of the office Lead by example Learn from the mistakes of others Offer and receive positive criticism Work on your weakness first Don’t limit yourself Be on time for all appointments Stop and smell the roses Manage your stress You are not smarter than everybody Get involved Do your homework It’s not how hard you work, it’s what you get done Practice time management Focus your energies

13 GOOD LUCK! Remember to contact Kim if you need any further assistance.


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