Employee Relations Pathways: Effective Interpersonal Discussions, The Keys to Resolving Conflict Begins With You

employee-relations-pathways-270wValencia recognizes that employees should have the opportunity to express differences of opinion in a professional manner, and as a result, disputes may occur in the workplace. The College has established a dispute resolution process as a resource for employees to resolve workplace-related disputes at the earliest opportunity to promote productive working relationships.

The dispute resolution process begins with an informal step: interpersonal discussions. Interpersonal discussions include the respectful and healthy exchange of thoughts and ideas and should be used to address and resolve conflict. Supervisors may assist in providing additional information about the issue at hand, serve as a sounding board and provide feedback for employees attempting to resolve a disagreement/difference. slice

Question

How can I help my staff handle disputes, disagreements and conflict when I am uncomfortable addressing these myself?

Answer

    1. Immediately recognizing and acknowledging our own reaction to disputes, disagreements and conflict is half the battle won! Once we are aware of it, we can work on it. As a supervisor, self-awareness is critical to effectively manage conflict and to support your staff in managing conflict in the workplace.
      Assume the role of the “in-taker” of information. Recognize your feelings and realize people may feel differently than you do. This approach helps you diffuse your own thoughts and feelings on the matter, hence making you more effective in assessing the issue.
    2. Follow a pre-determined set of steps to assist you in discovering the main cause of the issue and to assist the individual(s) to resolve the issue themselves or to provide additional resources. This includes listening to understand and being curious.

      Tune in.
      “Tell me about it.”

      Understand.
      Seek clarification.

      Say what you understand.
      “What I’m hearing is …”

      Pause.
      Allow the speaker time to gather and express his or her thoughts prior to sharing your own.

    3. Ask relevant clarifying questions, if needed. Provide general insight on the matter. This could be your own perspective or information you know and can share about the issue at hand, clarifying behavioral expectations during conflicting situations.
    4. Encourage the individual to have an informal conversation. However, based on the reasons for the conflict, the informal process may not apply or be the best option for the individual. Use your best judgment or contact the Office of Employee Relations for guidance.

There are additional components in the Valencia Employee Dispute Resolution Policy. Be familiar with these components to assist members of your staff.

If you have any questions, please reference the resources below or contact Michelle Sever, director, employee engagement, at msever@valenciacollege.edu  or extension 8256, or Lauren Bojalad, coordinator, employee relations, at lbojalad1@valenciacollege.edu or extension 8125 for assistance.

Disclaimer: Recommendations are general examples and do not apply in all instances. All characters are fictional and based on general assumptions on employee situations that may occur in the workplace; hence, the steps provided are only a guideline and should not be considered the actions to be taken at all times. More information may be required to address an issue based on the totality of the circumstances.

Resources

Employee Dispute Resolution Policy 6Hx28:3E-09

Five Conflict Management Styles at a Glance

Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes are High

Crucial Confrontations: Tools for Resolving Violated Expectation, Broken Commitments and Bad Behavior

Valencia EDGE including Managing Conflict workshop

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