How best to resolve workplace conflict?
Many of us find it hard to manage conflict effectively and it is easy for a busy manager to put off addressing such problems by finding matters which appear to be in more urgent need of attention. In 2006 a CEDR survey found that 35 % of managers would rather do a parachute jump than tackle workplace conflict and 8 % would rather eat bushtucker bugs !
However, it is evident that conflict in the workplace causes stress to the individuals concerned as well as to those responsible for managing them. It takes up valuable time and resources, and often reduces performance. Conflict may be between colleagues or between an individual and his or her line manager.
Such conflicts are often the precursor to the issue of formal grievances which in turn can lead to the need for disciplinary action. All too often these sow the seeds of a claim to the Employment Tribunal.
So, can such problems be resolved early on to avoid them escalating ? The use of workplace mediation or facilitated meetings has always been one of the options, and is now being promoted and encouraged by ACAS as well as featuring in the Government’s consultation on Resolving Workplace Disputes.
This is an approach which can sometimes be applied effectively ‘in-house’ by a good experienced manager. However not all organisations have the appropriate capacity and some individuals are reluctant to be open with a senior member of staff.
In such circumstances an independent and external person can be the answer. He or she can offer neutrality and confidentiality to the parties to the dispute. One such person who is well known to us here at Blocks is Dilys Lloyd.
Dilys spent almost 20 years as a partner in the employment law team of at a national law firm. She left full time lawyering behind her in 2009 since when she has combined a consultancy arrangement at Blocks for legal work with her freelance work applying her extensive knowledge and experience to provide a variety of services relating to workplace issues, including workplace mediation.
Dilys became a CEDR Accredited Mediator in March 2007, since when she has been involved in a wide range of mediations both in disputes between employer and employee and in working with colleagues in conflict with one another.
Further details can be found on her website at www.DilysLloydMediation.co.uk. So, if you are facing a challenging workplace conflict and would like to know more about mediation, Frances Barker will be happy to introduce you to Dilys for a free initial telephone discussion.