Dealing with conflict in the workplace is a difficult task, but one that most managers will encounter at some point in their careers. No matter how successful a team or organisation, difficulties in communication are almost inevitable. Differences in beliefs, values, and life experiences all have the potential to contribute to misunderstandings. Although most problems can be resolved with relatively little intervention, it is all too easy for conflicting perspectives and expectations to escalate into something much more difficult to deal with. With ever-changing working environments and increased presenteeism, people are under increased stress and teams can become fractured. It is now more than ever that organizations today need managers who are skilled in conflict and dispute resolution.
These are a few reasons why it is imperative that managers master the art of Mediation.
The blame game and finger pointing happens in most disputes. A manager with mediation training can help the parties involved in the dispute get past that and focus on the behaviour that’s causing the problems, as opposed to engaging in character assassinations. The individuals involved as well as the organization can pay a high price for conflict that is not managed in a proactive and effective manner. Managers who acknowledge and deal with conflict effectively can bring great value by reducing the high level of tension, associated costs of hiring external mediators and creating a more harmonious, healthy, and productive workplace environment.
When you think about any relationship whether it’s personal or professional the ability to communicate effectively and the ability to resolve conflicts effectively are the two things we always look for. Effective communication therefore solidifies relationships. Managers as trained mediators facilitate open communication to resolve differences in a non-adversarial, confidential manner. The manager as mediator role is to bring together the opposing groups to formulate constructive communication and reaching mutually acceptable resolutions.
Conflict negatively impacts the emotional and physical well-being of involved and affected by it. Workplace conflict takes an incredible toll, not only on the individuals themselves, but on the work and teammates. Managers trained in conflict management skills can restore and maintain the work relationship wherever possible, focusing on contented employees and productive work dynamics.
Forward-thinking employers are using mediation as one tool for creating a more productive, collaborative workplace. Mediation should be considered not only in cases where the potential for legal exposure and expense are evident, but also in any case where a successful working relationship is threatened by conflict, and in any case where the disputants are willing to work together to resolve their differences. By creative use of mediation, the employer can turn workplace conflict into an advantage for the whole organization.
Dispute Resolution Centre is T&T’s #1 alternative dispute resolution agency dedicated to giving individuals and companies the necessary tools for a resolving problems through the use of mediation skills.
Contact us at 632-4051 or 637-2642 for more information about how you can become a certified mediator or to learn more about our services.