Workplace Conflict & Mediation
Conflicts engender both positive and negative responses depending on the way we treat them when they arise. Conflict is a social process (therefore inevitable) which is a common and essential feature of human existence. Conflict situations arise when individuals or groups pursue positions, interests, needs, or values that may lead to actions that come up against the interests, needs and values of others when they also want to satisfy their goals. Workplace conflict can have a negative impact with research showing that on average we spend approximately one day a working month dealing with conflict in some way. (CIPD/OPP 2015)
Mediation simply refers to the process of resolving conflict in which a neutral third party (mediator), assist the disputants to resolve their own conflict. The process is voluntary and the mediator does not participate in the outcome of the mediation process (agreement). The disputing parties themselves have control over the agreements to be reached.
There are so many advantages to using mediation as a conflict resolution mechanism;
- The process is non-adversarial, rebuilding relationships and helping to reduce stress and increase productivity
- It’s less expensive and non-legalistic; leaving a situation to escalate to formal procedures can drag on, becoming very time consuming and expensive
- It assures confidentiality, impartiality and neutrality and for an employer this emphasises the commitment to being fair and constructive with approaches
- Mediation builds self-awareness with the parties involved so there is less likelihood of future situations arising
Besides this, the process provides the disputants (parties) the opportunity to find solutions to their own conflicts. The process therefore ensures acceptance of the outcome by both parties, thereby enhancing sustainable peace not only for the parties, but also for those who have felt uncomfortable around them while the dispute has been going on.
Challenging Conversations for Clinicians
- Giving bad news
- Relatives and patients challenging your professional opinion
- Colleagues with different cultural backgrounds and values
- Giving feedback when things are not as we wish them to be
Why do so many of us avoid these conversations? Fear of saying the wrong thing and making the situation is often a key reason, as is lacking both the confidence and/or skills.
Simple everyday approaches to avoid getting into conflict include:
- Staying calm – conflict arises from escalation
- Listening to understand – what are the underlying interests?
- Accentuate the positive and reflect it back
- State your own case tactfully and objectively – stick to facts and give examples
- Avoid the blame game
- Attack the problem not the person
- Focus on the future not the past – you can’t turn back the clock so move on
- Ask the right questions to get more information to help you understand
- Pick your battles – take time out to review what is happening
- Be creative and mutually problem solve – being collaborative not combative
Linked Dedici courses to build your skills:
Personal Power and Influence
Assertiveness for Healthcare Professionals
Learning from Mediators; managing clinical hostility
Understanding Workplace Bullying (0.5 day)
Coping with Workplace Conflict
Our new Mediation Service
In addition to our new workshop entitled “Learning from Mediators; managing clinical hostility”, Dedici also offers a professional mediation service for interpersonal workplace situations – please ask for more information.
Contributed by Dedici Managing Director: Marion Parris