(This guest post was written by Beth Myers, SBK Mediation, Inc.)
In my earlier guest post, Bullying: The Biggest Profit-Sucking Problem in the U.S. Today, I outlined the scope and impact bullying is having on the American workplace. Today, I will outline the 5 things every business can do now, innocuously to resolve workplace conflict:
~ The 8 Profit-Sucking Elements of Unresolved Workplace Conflict. Calculating the cost of conflicts in your workplace tells you when to take action.
2. Train to set a new tone. ~ From the C suite down through the organization train in good listening skills. ~ Only 2 % of the population receives education on building good listening skills, 60% of our communication day involves listening and most of us are not good at it, though we think we are.
3. Modify your annual performance review process. ~ If you use forms, complete the forms but when it’s time to meet – set the forms aside. Save
forms for the second part of the meeting. First, allow time for open discussion about why the employee stays, what they enjoy most about working with your firm, where they’d like to grow with the firm, what they see as areas for improvement outside of their own performance. LISTEN WELL and check your personal biases! Good listening doesn’t mean you agree with or like the person or, that you will change how you proceed with the review, though you might.
4. Role Model. ~ Be civil, genuinely respectful and listen: don’t engage or support open hostility or a blame and shame game. ~ Communicate with both-ways clarity. Unarticulated assumptions and expectations are the most frequent escalators of conflict.
5. Resolve your organization’s most difficult, long standing conflicts now! ~ Focus on the problem not the people. The problem is the impact of behavior, not the person. Deliberately articulate how each person defines a problem then ask “Where do we go from here?” ~ Retain an experienced professional neutral to mediate. ~ Confidential, professional mediation allows parties to explore options for resolving the issues between them without fear of leaving a “s/he said s/he said” trail that will be used against them.
~ In most cases one or two meetings is all it takes. Up to 90% of mediated disputes result in agreement.
~ Mediation is not a place to skimp or to focus on legal beagles! Mediation is not about preparing for a legal case – it’s about resolution of deeply personal, costly, workplace conflict, making cultural change and getting on with healthier, more productive work.
Of course there are more steps you can take, more details to address, but these 5 things form the essential first steps core to a more productive, bully free workplace.
Beth Myers works with organizations on their most difficult and costly people problems: Resolving Workplace Conflict. Beth is a professional mediator, mediating nearly 500 cases since 2010. For readers of Rick Dacri’s Uncomplicating Management Blog, Beth Myers is offering a complimentary, 1 hour consultation or small group training on the 8 Profit- Sucking Elements of Unresolved Workplace Conflict. Send an email to: Beth@SBKmediation.com Offer expires in April, 2014.
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