What’s been cropping up in our mediation and investigation service in terms of what business practices are leading to negative conflict?
Does any of this sound familiar?
- Lack of clarity about what constitutes appropriate behaviour. Knowing and keeping on the right side of the difference between bullying and strong management, banter and offensiveness, taking responsibility for ourselves and taking the micky out of the organisation.
- Inconsistent approaches to inappropriate behaviour. This means high-value talent like Professors, Surgeons, Sales Directors, R&D specialists, who seen to get away with behaviours that more junior people are called up for. Talent management should not be an excuse of obvious preferential treatment.
- Poorly explained changes of role and task. There’s little ‘explaining’, just ‘telling’. People arrive at work to be told things have changed – there’s not enough consultation. For some people, changes to their work life impact hugely on their personal life – how will they manage their childcare, their journey to work? Who will their colleagues be? These are the things that make or break employee engagement.
- Misuse privilege, status and rank. The surgeon who always leaves early on Friday; the sales manager who takes his clients off to the lap dancing club. The senior manager who never lets others know where s/he is going. Just because it’s hard to raise these things, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do so. The daily impact of this type of behaviour on the staff below, is significantly negative, and will quickly turn to loss of engagement.
- Leaky communication. It’s good to talk – but not when something is supposed to be private! So often we hear parties and clients say that their organisation is a leaky sieve when it comes to confidentiality.
- Hiring or promoting a new manager. This can cause havoc. A new manager who starts managing a team which previously went untroubled by performance management, appraisals, feedback, and the like, may soon end up on the end of an unjustifiable grievance for ‘bullying’. A manager who comes from outside the business, or who is younger or older or a different ethnicity to the previous incumbent or the team, can really struggle to find their authority.
You can mediate your way through these situations, but it’s far better to skill people to prevent this kind of conflict arising in the first place.
- Train staff to understand what’s expected and what they can expect.
- Give managers the courage to have those essential conversations they’ve been avoiding or doing badly – use our eLearning if you don’t want to lose the down-time involved in classroom training.
- Consult over change. Then consult again. It may seen labour intensive but some people move very slowly and need lots of reassurance.
- Keep your own mouth closed, even when you know something juicy. Breach confidentiality and you’re doing your organisation no good whatsoever
- And naturally – use the best when you’re trying to manage or resolve these situations – contact CMP!