Mediation and conflict resolution
Michelle Biggs, Employment Relations Consultant
12 February 2020
Do your line managers feel ‘stuck in the middle’? There is balance between achieving performance targets and corporate expectations as well as being aware of, and responding to, team members’ needs, aspirations, highs and lows inside and outside of work. That’s where mediation and conflict resolution comes in…
Often when grievances are raised, it is the line manager who is seen as ‘the problem’, the cause of tension or oppression in the workplace. There can be a fine line between robust management and bullying. There is also a fine line between keeping team members motivated and ‘on board’ and them feeling alienated, disempowered and resentful about how they are being, or are perceived to be, treated.
The CIPD’s new report into workplace bullying and harassment found that line managers were most likely to be accused of bullying, with 40 per cent of the 2,000 respondents reporting that their boss was responsible.
Are managers progressing in their career based on their professional expertise without their people management skills being supported and developed? The CIPD report concluded that line managers don’t get the most support when it comes to people management development. Around 60 per cent of line managers surveyed said they’d not received any people management training.
A further finding was that more than half of those who had experienced bullying hadn’t reported the problem to their employer. A quarter believed bullying and harassment was ‘swept under the carpet’.
CIPD found that staff needed to have greater confidence in how their line manager would handle their grievance – firstly informally showing empathy, maturity and, self-awareness – the ability to admit when their own manner or behaviour has contributed to a problem.
Quite often an acknowledgement that the manager could have reacted differently, or an apology with some self-reflection on both sides, goes a long way to mend built-up tensions. Informal steps such as mediation can help to structure those conversations without resorting to formal grievance or disciplinary processes.
“Mediation is a very effective way of resolving conflict in the workplace and is highly recommended by Acas in the resolution of grievances and other workplace conflicts.”
Mediation is a very effective way of resolving conflict in the workplace and is highly recommended by Acas in the resolution of grievances and other workplace conflicts. So if you’re just starting out on your journey towards introducing mediation in your organisation you might find our research paper and case studies helpful in drawing up your business case.
The next step on your journey might be training some in-house mediators. We offer a range of courses from a one-day refresher to a three-day ILM accredited Mediation Course.
If in-house mediators are not the path for you, we have our own mediators who can undertake the intervention. So whether it’s two individuals, a group of workers or a team that need to resolve their issues, we’re just a phone call or email away.
If you want to find out about mediation courses, or if you are looking for an external mediator get in touch.
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