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Strategies for workplace dispute resolution

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Conflict is everywhere. The workplace simply provides a hothouse for good and bad workplace behaviour. The choice of how to deal with workplace disputes is yours. Learn some strategies you can use to calm the waters and provide leadership in this area.

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Strategies for workplace dispute resolution

  1. 1. Strategies forWorkplace Dispute Resolution Lisa Peckham CG Hylton & Associates Inc. Sept. 16, 2010 1
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  3. 3. Introduction Lisa Peckham: Lisa@hylton.ca ◦ Over 10 years experience ◦ Presented at other Infonex Conferences CG Hylton & Associates Inc. ◦ EAP ◦ Group or Individual Benefits ◦ CustomCare ◦ Human Resource Consultants ◦ First Nation Consultants ◦ Insurance 3
  4. 4. Agenda What is workplace conflict? Types of conflicts Why do we need to fix these issues? Strategies Steps to resolve What else can companies do? 4
  5. 5. Do you have any workplace issues we can try and solve for you in this session? 5
  6. 6. Why do Employees Fight? Any ideas? 6
  7. 7. What is Workplace Conflict? Any issues that arise between two or more people ◦ Ex. Between two co-workers, between a supervisor and a subordinate, etc. Conflicts are emotional or physical 7
  8. 8. Emotional Conflict Hurt feelings resulting from: ◦ Insults ◦ Gossip/rumours ◦ Arguments ◦ Favouritism ◦ Misunderstandings ◦ Sexism ◦ Abuse of power 8
  9. 9. Physical Conflict Physical conflict is caused by: ◦ Harassment ◦ Bullying ◦ Violence 9
  10. 10. Why is it important to fix these issues? Employers need to strive to make the workplace non-toxic A toxic environment creates: ◦ Higher absences ◦ Issues with retaining staff ◦ Uncooperative staff ◦ Lower productivity 10
  11. 11. Why is it important to fix these issues? Employees enjoy coming to work because they enjoy going to work A fun and happy place to work increases productivity! Higher productivity means better results 11
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  13. 13. Solutions for Workplace Conflict There are different types of conflict resolutions ◦ Competition ◦ Collaborative ◦ Compromising ◦ Accommodation ◦ Avoidance What is the best choice? What else can the company do? 13
  14. 14. Types of Conflict Resolutions Styles  Thomas-Kilmann Conflict ModeInstrument (TKI) helps you to identify which style you tend towards when conflict arises (http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_81.htm) 14
  15. 15. Style 1: Competitive Useful in an emergency or decision needs to be make fast Can leave people feeling unsatisfied and resentful when used in less urgent situations. 15
  16. 16. Style 1: Competitive People who tend towards a competitive style take a firm stand, and know what they want They usually operate from a position of power ◦ Ex. position, rank, expertise or persuasive ability 16
  17. 17. Style 2: Collaborative A collaborative style tries to meet the needs of all people involved Highly assertive, they cooperate and acknowledge that everyone is important 17
  18. 18. Style 2: Collaborative Useful when: ◦ Need to bring together a variety of viewpoints to get the best solution ◦ There have been previous conflicts in the group ◦ The situation is too important for a simple trade-off 18
  19. 19. Style 3: Compromising Try to find a solution that will at least partially satisfy everyone Everyone is expected to give up something and the compromiser also expects to relinquish something 19
  20. 20. Style 3: Compromising Useful When ◦ The cost of conflict is higher than the cost of losing ground ◦ Equal strength opponents are at a standstill ◦ There is a deadline looming 20
  21. 21. Style 4: Accommodation A willingness to meet the needs of others at the expense of the person’s own needs Knows when to give in to others, but can be persuaded to surrender a position This person is not assertive but is highly cooperative 21
  22. 22. Style 4: Accommodation Appropriate when: ◦ Issues matter more to the other party ◦ Peace is more valuable than winning ◦ Wants to be in a position to collect on this “favour” he/she gave but people might not return the favour Overall this approach is unlikely to have the best outcomes. 22
  23. 23. Style 5: Avoidance Seek to evade the conflict entirely This style is delegating controversial decisions, accepting default decisions, and not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings 23
  24. 24. Style 5: Avoidance It can be appropriate when victory is impossible, when the controversy is trivial, or when someone else is in a better position to solve the problem However, in many situations this is a weak and ineffective approach to take 24
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  26. 26. Is there a Bully Lurking About? How to recognize a bully Negatives Positives◦ Deceitful (great liars) ◦ Sweet◦ Overly critical of ◦ Charming others ◦ Clever◦ Manipulative ◦ Funny◦ Cheaters◦ Evasive 26
  27. 27. The Bully Criticisms and allegations are a projection of the bullys own weaknesses, shortcomings, failings and incompetence; every criticism or allegation is an admission by the bully of their misdeeds and wrongdoing, something they have said or done - or failed to do. It has nothing to do with you! 27
  28. 28. You are not alone It is rumoured that one in eight people have been bullied at work Don’t feel guilt or shame, it’s the bully’s way of gaining control Bullies are generally incompetent workers and work hard to make others look bad to cover their inadequacies You have done nothing wrong! 28
  29. 29. Types of BulliesTwo Headed Snake The Screaming Mimi
  30. 30. Types of BulliesThe Gatekeeper The Constant Critic
  31. 31. The Statistics - Bullying Men & Women bullied/bully in equal numbers Women bullies target women 84% of the time Men bullies target women 69% of the time Vast majority of bullies are bosses (81%) Source: Campaign against workplace bullying 2000 (USA)  New research from Griffith University estimates the cost to Australian employers is between $6 billion & $36 billion a year Source: HR Monthly February 2002 Kainai Family Services Workshop
  32. 32. What to do Bully’s are smart they won’t bully you when others are watching...so write everything down that is said or done. Do not keep this paper at work, it will be found by the bully. Watch for the pattern that will appear once you start journaling all incidents 32
  33. 33. What to do Its not each incident that counts, its the number, regularity and especially the patterns that reveal bullying A bully can explain and/or charm away an incident but it’s harder to explain a pattern or series of events 33
  34. 34. What to do Keep copies of all letters, memos, emails, etc. Get and keep everything in writing otherwise the bully will deny everything later Carry a notepad and pen with you to record everything that the bully says and does. 34
  35. 35. What to do Make a note of every interaction with personnel, management, and anyone else connected with the bullying Expect to be accused of "misconduct" and "unprofessional behaviour" and a few other things when you do this The bully will be angry and try to discredit you 35
  36. 36. What to do The bully will be angry and try to discredit you Ask the bully to substantiate their criticisms and allegations in writing by providing substantive and quantifiable evidence 36
  37. 37. The BullyDo not underestimatethe bullys capacity todeceive!! 37
  38. 38. The Action Plan Talk to your supervisor Share your notes Arrange a meeting with victim, bully and management or 3rd party mediator SOLVE THE PROBLEM 38
  39. 39. What`s the best strategy? Each situation calls for a different approach 1. Assess the situation 2. Strategize an appoarch 3. Pick the style or styles that suit the situation 4. Review and evaluate 39
  40. 40. 1. Assess the situation Find out what the root of the problem is How many people does it involve? Is it necessary for management to intervene and help? 40
  41. 41. 2. Strategize an approach Does the situation call for a specific approach? ◦ Can mix couple of approaches together to get the best solution 41
  42. 42. 3. Pick the strategy orstrategies that suit the situation If necessary bring a supervisor, manager or 3rd party to play referee Follow the strategy and ensure that the problem can be resolved Listen to what the other person has to say! 42
  43. 43. 4. Review and evaluate Did the problem get resolved? There should be no fear of retaliation when confronting and trying to find a middle ground Be aware that you might need to change your attitude towards that other person as well! 43
  44. 44. What else can companies do? Have a zero tolerance policy! ◦ No violence, no verbal abuse, no threats, etc Managers and supervisors need to play mediators in order to help resolve issues 44
  45. 45. What else can companies do? Offer workshops that build team cooperation Offer an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) ◦ This program allows your employees to speak to a counsellor about any issues ◦ Can be used as requirement to keep positions if attitudes or issues affect their work and the people around them 45
  46. 46. Is there a Bully Lurking About? How to recognize a bully Negatives Positives◦ Deceitful (great liars) ◦ Sweet◦ Overly critical of ◦ Charming others ◦ Clever◦ Manipulative ◦ Funny◦ Cheaters◦ Evasive 46
  47. 47. The Bully Criticisms and allegations are a projection of the bullys own weaknesses, shortcomings, failings and incompetence; every criticism or allegation is an admission by the bully of their misdeeds and wrongdoing, something they have said or done - or failed to do. It has nothing to do with you! 47
  48. 48. You are not alone It is rumoured that one in eight people have been bullied at work Don’t feel guilt or shame, it’s the bully’s way of gaining control Bullies are generally incompetent workers and work hard to make others look bad to cover their inadequacies You have done nothing wrong! 48
  49. 49. What to do Bully’s are smart they won’t bully you when others are watching...so write everything down that is said or done. Do not keep this paper at work, it will be found by the bully. Watch for the pattern that will appear once you start journaling all incidents 49
  50. 50. What to do Its not each incident that counts, its the number, regularity and especially the patterns that reveal bullying A bully can explain and/or charm away an incident but it’s harder to explain a pattern or series of events 50
  51. 51. What to do Keep copies of all letters, memos, emails, etc. Get and keep everything in writing otherwise the bully will deny everything later Carry a notepad and pen with you to record everything that the bully says and does. 51
  52. 52. What to do Make a note of every interaction with personnel, management, and anyone else connected with the bullying Expect to be accused of "misconduct" and "unprofessional behaviour" and a few other things when you do this The bully will be angry and try to discredit you 52
  53. 53. What to do The bully will be angry and try to discredit you Ask the bully to substantiate their criticisms and allegations in writing by providing substantive and quantifiable evidence 53
  54. 54. The BullyDo not underestimatethe bullys capacity todeceive!! 54
  55. 55. The Action Plan Talk to your supervisor Share your notes Arrange a meeting with victim, bully and management or 3rd party mediator SOLVE THE PROBLEM 55
  56. 56. Our offer to you Please call if you have any HR, or workplace issue that you are overwhelmed with We can help you We also are pleased to do Free Workshops for your organization (some limits apply) Let us know what your needs are and we will make it happen! 56
  57. 57. CG Hylton - Services HR Consulting  Benefits, Pensions, Job Descriptions EAP Salary Grids  Strategic Planning Wellness at Work  Drug and Alcohol programs Staff Morale  Dept re-orgs Training and Workshops  Leadership compensation Tel 403 264 5288 chris@hylton.ca 57
  58. 58. Thank you for the opportunity to meet today! Tel 403 264 5288 lisa@hylton.ca 58

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