Resolve Workplace Disputes with Professional Conflict Coaching

If you or your employees are involved in a workplace dispute, then you might consider conflict coaching to help you manage the situation quickly and effectively. Working with a professional mediator and an accredited conflict coach will help you resolve the immediate issue and also teach you valuable skills for resolving conflicts in the future.  Conflict coaching is also useful for developing ‘workplace conflict capability’ so that sustainable solutions for conflict can be achieved. Pax People Resolutions provides expert workplace mediation and conflict restorative services across a broad range of industries.

What You Should Know About Managing Conflict in The Workplace

Conflict resolution can be defined as a formal or informal process that two or more people can use to find a peaceful and practical solution to a dispute. There are many methods that can be used to set up a constructive conflict resolution process when faced with workplace conflict. Approaches for a conflict resolution process that workplace mediators might take include:

  • Mediation. In mediation, the people involved in the dispute enlist a qualified third party to help them reach an agreement. A professional mediator does not impose a solution but rather facilitates a conversation and encourages the disputants to explore the underlying reasons for their differing positions. By working with each party separately and together, a mediator aims to help people discover a solution that is both practical and sustainable for both parties. In mediation, the parties in dispute reach agreement together, remaining in control of the outcomes. Mediation is a highly confidential process between the qualified mediator and the parties in dispute.
  • Facilitated Conversations. Sometimes, organisations engage a qualified, independent conflict resolution practitioner, such as a mediator, to assist with workplace conflict resolution conversations.  This is called a ‘facilitated conversation’.  Facilitated conversations enable parties in a workplace to have a conversation about difficult topics and conflict in a safe, controlled environment and the mediator uses communication facilitation and negotiation techniques to help the parties resolve the issues.  In facilitated conversations, the mediator will ask the parties to undertake what can be described as ‘mental gymnastics’ so that all aspects of conflict or a matter have been properly explored.  Having a mediator facilitate a conversation also avoids the tricky dynamics of workplace politics and hierarchy which often makes communication difficult for employees.
  • Arbitration. Arbitration often resembles a court trial, with a neutral third-party functioning as a judge who makes final decisions to end the dispute. This third-party listens to the evidence and arguments presented by each side, then renders a decision that is typically both binding and confidential. Although disputants must abide by the arbitrator’s decision, they do have the ability to negotiate during the process.
  • Litigation. In civil litigation, a plaintiff and a defendant approach a judge, who will weigh the evidence and make a legally binding ruling. This type of conflict resolution is typically public, and the judge’s ruling is final. Litigation usually involves lawyers, who will sometimes aim to achieve a negotiated settlement using qualified mediators during the legal process period.

Conflict resolution professionals, such as workplace mediators and conflict coaches can save you a significant amount of time, money, and stress by avoiding costly legal processes.  Instead, by managing conflict early, using intervention processes such as mediation and conflict coaching, solutions to problems will be quick, cost effective fair, practical and sustainable for all parties.

Benefits of Workplace Conflict Mediation & Coaching

Experiencing conflict at work is highly stressful for people across all positions and in every industry. A company may choose to implement processes such as conflict resolution coaching, mediation or workplace harassment and workplace bullying training and coaching to combat the negative effects of conflict on its people and their productivity. Conflict training and coaching have multiple benefits that positively impact a company’s culture, employee morale, and customer experience. Here are a few of the most important advantages of a workplace conflict resolution process and/or workplace conflict coaching:

  • Decreased costs. Learning how to handle conflict effectively significantly minimises a company’s costs. When a team works together harmoniously, they will implement new initiatives cohesively, make decisions efficiently and be less likely to resign from their employment. Better employee satisfaction and retention will mean less recruiting, training and loss of company knowledge, all of which are costly processes for a company.
  • Increased productivity. Workplace conflict has a variety of negative side effects, including absenteeism, stressed employees and a toxic office environment. However, when leaders engage in effectively managing conflict in the workplace, productivity and morale increase and employees remain engaged. Effective conflict management also results in a more cohesive workforce, improves the quality of employees’ decision-making under stress, minimises the amount of re-work needed and fosters an atmosphere of creative teamwork.
  • Retain your top performers. The last thing a company wants is to lose its top performing employees due to office conflict. Being able to properly manage conflict will help a company retain its best performers. It will also strengthen a team’s communication with each other and empower people to make innovate with increased enthusiasm and courage.
  • Manage your legal and business risks. One of the most important benefits of conflict resolution, is that the legal and business the risks associated with employee grievances are properly managed. The legal and business risks of not managing conflict include loss of productivity, legal claims such as workplace bullying, breaches of safety legislation and criminal violence. Other risks for a business are significant reputational damage and economic loss.  Unmanaged conflict can have a devastating effect on your business and people if left unresolved. Managing conflict and associated risks means good business practice, avoidance of high costs and a safe and positive working environment.

Tips Regarding Workplace Conflict Resolution

Leadership and conflict resolution go hand-in-hand. Capable leaders know how to address conflict in a healthy and productive way. Conflict and disputes in the workplace are unavoidable, so it’s essential to be able to swiftly recognise conflict, understand its nature and take action to find solutions as quickly as possible. Here are a few tips about how to handle workplace conflict:

  • Face conflict head-on. Conflict cannot always be prevented, however, it will become worse if it is ignored. The negative effects of conflict can be addressed by identifying conflict early and actively intervening. Spending time and energy identifying, understanding and acting on workplace tensions will help avoid unnecessary disruption to business that is caused by conflict.
  • Be clear about acceptable workplace behaviour. Don’t assume that employees know what is expected of them at work. Having defined parameters for acceptable behaviour is a positive step towards avoiding conflict. Clearly defined job descriptions and workplace codes of conduct, for example, help people know what is expected of them. Well-defined grievance processes are also important so that people know how to raise issues that trouble them when they arise.
  • Pick your battles. Not all conflict can be avoided and it’s important to pick your battles. Keep in mind that if an issue is important enough to create a conflict, then it’s worth resolving – however, the real issue may not always be what it appears to be on the surface! Opening the lines of communication and helping people understand different perspectives is extremely helpful in resolving most situations.
  • See conflict as an opportunity for positive change. Inside almost every conflict is the potential for a learning opportunity and positive change. Disagreement brings with it an inherent opportunity for growth and learning a new way of thinking. Don’t miss out on the chance to leverage conflict for team building and creative thinking. When handled adeptly, divergent positions can stimulate innovation and knowledge in amazing ways. Smart leaders always look for the silver lining in differing positions.

Common Mistakes People Make Regarding Workplace Dispute Resolution

Conflicts in the workplace are inevitable. However, that doesn’t mean that they must be perpetual. Good conflict management training in Sydney and other states in Australia includes strategies for conflict resolution designed to help employees deal with conflict effectively. Being able to address a conflict when it first begins, (rather than waiting for it to bubble over!), is key. Dealing with disagreement isn’t something that comes naturally to many people. Professional Sydney dispute resolution can go a long way towards both resolving the conflict in question and teaching people methods for handling conflicts in the future. Conflict resolution services can help you avoid many common mistakes, such as:

  • Avoidance. Avoiding conflict completely is one of the most common mistakes that people make in the workplace (and, in their personal lives as well!). However, ignoring feelings instead of dealing with them in a healthy way creates bigger problems. Silence and avoidance cannot resolve conflict; instead, they exacerbate and escalate conflict because nothing is being resolved. If there’s something that has been bothering you repeatedly that you’ve been putting off, challenge yourself to address it by taking positive steps towards resolution and ask for a workplace mediator or coach to help you work on dealing with the conflict.
  • Not asking for what you want. Waiting for someone else to recognise your needs instead of communicating them yourself is another common mistake that can lead to the build-up of resentment and conflict. Remember that people can’t read minds. If you don’t express your concerns and clarify what you want, then others won’t know what you need. Unfortunately, some people resort to unacceptable behaviours, such as being passive-aggressive, giving others the silent treatment, making snide comments, or worse still, workplace bullying. It’s much better for everyone involved to deal with conflict directly by speaking up in a respectful way with the help of a neutral and qualified third party to assist in their communication.
  • Not listening and being dismissive. Don’t make the mistake of dismissing thoughts or feelings that someone else wants to express. Sometimes this happens because someone thinks that the person raising the issue is out of line, incorrect, beneath them, or unworthy of attention. This is a big mistake, especially when the person not being heard is a member of your team or a stakeholder in your workplace. It may seem easier to sweep the conflict under the rug, but it will inevitably come out in the form of decreased productivity, gossip, low team morale or a complaint of bullying. Instead, listen actively to provide opportunities to address conflict in an effective way and seek professional help to coming up with sustainable resolutions.

Services We Provide for Conflict Management and Coaching

At Pax People Resolutions, we have extensive commercial knowledge and experience that allows us to tailor conflict solutions that are appropriate and effective for your needs. We provide a range of services, including conflict resolution training in Sydney and leadership coaching. Our services are available online Australia-wide. Here are a few of our specific offerings:

  • Workplace mediation and conflict coaching. We have a proven track record of being able to restore healthy, productive working relationships pragmatically and effectively. Our workplace conflict resolution processes are professional, confidential and designed to help our clients resolve conflicts quickly. We typically use a combination of conflict coaching and mediation to ensure that we reach a practical and sustainable resolution to the issues at hand. We can help with a wide variety of workplace conflicts, such as disputes over employment terms, communication breakdowns, leadership style differences, interpersonal conflict and changing work conditions. We also offer targeted bullying and harassment training for individuals via our accredited workplace conflict coaching model.
  • Workplace coaching and consulting. Another service that offered by Pax People Resolutions is workplace coaching and consulting. We provide Human Resources support, advice, and coaching, such as workplace harassment and bullying training for individuals following a grievance or workplace investigation. We offer support for individuals who are transitioning into leadership roles as well as those in existing leadership roles who wish to enhance their capabilities. We can also work with employees who require a shift in their workplace behaviour to better align to your company’s values. We use a range of methods with a focus on increasing engagement, tapping into potential, and improving the well-being of your people – all of which result in better performance!
  • Workplace investigations. In some circumstances, it is necessary to conduct a workplace investigation to get to the bottom of a conflict, such as allegations of misconduct, bullying, sexual harassment, unlawful discrimination and/or misuse of company property. It may also be helpful to engage in workplace bullying and harassment training or mediation with a workplace investigation to not only identify the problem but also resolve it. Our workplace investigations focus on the facts – not suspicions or hearsay – ensuring that the organisation can effectively manage business and legal risks through a fair, professional, and independent process. Following the completion of a workplace investigation, Pax People also provides recommendations about next steps, possible solutions and important insights about workplace culture and other such matters.

About Pax People Resolutions

Pax People Resolutions is a team of highly professional and qualified nationally accredited Mediators, certified and accredited Coaches, experienced Workplace Investigators, Lawyers, Human Resources Consultants and licensed Family Dispute Practitioners. We have over 25 years’ experience in senior roles across Human Resources, Law, Psychology, Dispute Resolution, Coaching, and Conflict Management applications. We pride ourselves on being empathetic and active listeners with the skills required to simplify complex issues and help our clients find effective solutions so that their businesses can prosper. We understand the corporate and business environment and focus on tailored solutions for each client’s unique situation. If you need highly effective, cost-efficient business conflict coaching, mediation or investigation services, then please do not hesitate to contact us today and see our website www.paxpeople.com.au

If you would like to talk to us about our Workplace Coaching & Consulting services, please contact us today.

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