How to Start Managing Workplace Conflict

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A Few Key Pointers

The cost of workplace conflict is eye-wateringly high. Many of the costs are also hidden or difficult to calculate because of the unpredictable or unknown impacts that conflict can have on almost every aspect of a business – see The Unassailable Business Case. There are obvious costs such as legal bills for advice and representation, but in addition, there is a whole array of other costs, some of which can be calculated and others that can only be guessed at. These ‘hidden’ costs include (but are certainly not limited to) the following: Continue reading “How to Start Managing Workplace Conflict”

Creative Mediation Solutions

Combatting the Einstellung Effect

The Einstellung Effect (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einstellung_effect) describes the marked tendency of humans to attempt to solve a new problem by approaching it in the same way as other problems that they have solved successfully in the past. This is something that we seem to do instinctively and can lead us to fail to find or to ignore simpler or more effective solutions – see the fascinating Luchins Water Jar Experiment (below). Interestingly, research shows very clearly that the more stressful the situation, the more prone we are to exhibit the Einstellung Effect. Of course, conflict is a notorious source of stress. Continue reading “Creative Mediation Solutions”

Managing Workplace Conflict

Think... is there a better way to do this? Collaboration

Fifteen Top Tips for Managers

1.                Conflict is normal and unavoidable

Conflict is a normal and unavoidable aspect of human relationships. The really important thing is to be able to recognise conflict or the potential for conflict early enough to be able to avoid or minimise its capacity to cause damage.

2.                Some conflict is positively good

If handled early and positively, with good communication skills the conflict situation can be harnessed to provide a whole range of potential benefits such as: Continue reading “Managing Workplace Conflict”

Workplace Bullying – Strategies for resolution and avoidance

Workplace bullying is more common than you might think. The ACAS Helpline receives tens of thousands of calls every year about workplace bullying and that is almost certainly just the tip of the iceberg. It is often said that people leave their boss and not their job and bullying (actual or perceived) is undoubtedly a factor in many cases. Surveys and research consistently show that bullying in the workplace is widespread and endemic. Continue reading “Workplace Bullying – Strategies for resolution and avoidance”

A Pragmatic Approach

Staff turnover, absenteeism, loss of good people, time spent on people problems: dealing with staff issues frustrates most managers and is a major cost to any business. One of the main causes of disruption in the
work is conflict – between employees, between business partners, between managers and staff. A recent survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) revealed that 72% of HR managers said that employees contact them to resolve a workplace conflict and 72% to raise a grievance. (People Management January 2016 p.37) Continue reading “A Pragmatic Approach”

The Unassailable Business Case

This article was originally published in the first edition of the UK Mediation Journal

I am going to stick my neck out and suggest that workplace mediation offers perhaps the largest untapped opportunity for cost-cutting and improving profitability in business in the UK today. The many benefits of a mediation culture, including lower levels of conflict, improved morale, improved staff retention and even improved relations with suppliers and customers are really important and are a big part of that business case, but are outside the scope of this article. I am going to focus here just on the cost savings in terms of management and HR time. Continue reading “The Unassailable Business Case”