Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Conflict is good for business. Conflict resolution and innovation go hand-in-hand.

Conflict is a good for business. Conflict can be transformed to help you meet business objectives.
Mediate2go.com: Conflict is good for business - Innovation and Change
Studies reveal that conflict has major impacts on organizations, employees and managers. (CPP Global Human Capital Report) Here are some examples, which also explain why individuals and organizations generally view conflict as a bad thing, something that should be avoided.

Costs to Organizations:
  • Employees spend an average of 2-3 hours per week dealing with conflict
  • Conflict leads to High Turnover and Lower Recruitment,
  • Project Failure,
  • Cross-Departmental Problems and
  • Tarnished Public Image
Costs to Individuals:
  • Stress,
  • De-motivation,
  • Anger and Frustration,
  • Nervousness,
  • Sleeplessness,
  • Sickness,
  • Damaged Reputation,
  • Leading to Absence,
  • Termination and
  • Resignation.

Sadly, most organizations avoid conflict in the hope that it will go away on its own, or employees will deal with it themselves. This is likely to worsen the situation and lead to conflict escalation. Furthermore, it denies the possibility that conflict can be used to improve organizational output. 

Conflict, if managed effectively, can actually improve a business or organization. Here are some results: (See CPP Global Human Capital Report)

Mediate2go.com: Conflict is good for business - Innovation and Change
  1. Better understanding of others (41%)
  2. Improved working relationships (33%)
  3. Better solutions to problems and challenges (29%)
  4. Higher performance in the team (21%)
  5. Increased Motivation (18%)
  6. Major Innovation (9%)

As we can see, managing conflict can actually improve your working context and company overall. It might even give you an edge over the competition. Considering that teams can better understand one another, they will be more likely to communicate effectively during meetings, and therefore more capable to exchange information. Relationships are improved, so individuals will more freely share their innovative ideas and express themselves, all of which is data that is vital to effectively meeting organizational goals. 

Through improved communication, problems and challenges can be more easily managed, some of which might lead to expensive results if not handled otherwise. Teams perform more effectively, and teams are motivated, so leadership can delegate more work to the team and focus on other more strategic tasks. Major innovation also results through effective conflict management, which makes sense given that employees and managers feel a sense of loyalty to an organization that helps them effectively manage their conflict.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Water Cooler Talk: Gossip in the workplace

Water Cooler Talk: How healthy is gossip in the workplace? Can gossip actually improve the workplace?

Mediate2go.com: Water Cooler Talk: Gossip

You are at work, you walk into the lunchroom, and suddenly everyone goes silent. Maybe you are talking about someone, and you accidentally catch yourself looking or staring at him or her. These are signs that you have either been gossiped about, or that you are gossiping.

Researchers have found that almost everyone gossips. In fact, about 66% of all communication is about us, thus qualifying as gossip[1]. Whether it’s about politics, work, philosophy, emotions, feelings about other people, sex, social status or money, everyone gossips in some way. 10% of gossip is misleading and false information, while around 90% is used as a means of finding the truth[2]. Gossip might be bad, but more it’s more likely to be neutral or even good. Gossip can help us feel a sense of belonging within the team, so in many ways, it might help us adapt within a new workplace (to a degree, read below).

So, what makes gossip good or bad in terms of its impact on us? Well, if you gossip about good things, you are more likely “to be well liked, have higher status, and [to be seen] as possessing good information that others don’t have”[3]. This is a great motivator to gossip about good things. Here is a list of other types of good or neutral gossip.

Good or Neutral Gossip:
  • Is based on empathy. Is focused on good intentions towards others
  • Improves learning opportunities: Help us learn from other’s mistakes and identify bad behaviour
  • Identifies new relationships: Help us identify with whom we want to establish and build relationships[4]
  • Disseminates important information[5]
  • Instructs and motivates good behaviour. For example, gossip can teach us appropriate social behaviour, effectively cuing our interactions with others, and even motivating us to behave in particular ways in order to avoid negative reactions[6].
  • Builds relationships and a sense of community[7]
On the other hand, negative gossip has the following characteristics:
  • Attacks, hurts and/or damages another’s reputation: also known as relational aggression[8], negative gossip might hurt one’s chances at professional development
  • Excludes others: negative gossip often excludes someone from social environments, such as in the context of bullying, harassment and discrimination
  • Reduces productivity[9]
  • Decreases trust:  trust is decreased as a result of the fear that rumours might spread quickly if information is revealed. As a result, people might decide to err on the side of caution and not trust others.
  • Increases conflict: negative gossip might increase conflict due to the formation of in and out groups, reducing collaboration
  • Increases stress: negative gossip might create an unhealthy work environment
Mediate2go.com: Water Cooler Talk: Gossip
It’s easy to see how negative gossip can hurt the bottom line of a business. (see our blog on how to make conflict work for your organization). So, how can we ensure that we are gossiping in a positive or neutral way, and contributing to a positive work environment? Reflect on the following questions[10]”:
  1. Is what I am about to say true and necessary to tell others?
  2. Should I state this to the other person involved directly? Did this other person have a fair chance to respond to the issue at hand?
  3. “How would I feel if someone said something similar about me?”
  4. “How would I feel if I saw my words quoted in the daily paper tomorrow?”
  5. “How am I going to feel later if I say this? (or listen to this)” Would I feel embarrassed about it? Would I feel anxious that my employer might know, as it might put my own career development in jeopardy?
  6. “Does gossiping honour my own personal values?”
  7. Does this type of gossip respect the values of my team and organization? 
“The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment” - Dorothy Nevill
We recommend the 3D approach to dealing with gossip in the workplace:
  1. Doubt: Don’t assume the information is correct (if it seems malicious), ask how they came to that finding or realization. Give the target of the gossip the benefit of the doubt.
  2. Deflect: Respond in a way to change the topic of conversation, without making a big deal about it, so as not to alienate the speaker. Beyond this, start to use positive gossip to change the communication dynamics you experience with others. Gossip, even positive gossip, is contagious.
  3. Differentiate: Talk about the difference between positive and negative gossip, and the impact on the target of the conversation, and others around. If you feel uncomfortable about participating in the discussion, state your feelings. If the gossip is about you, feel free to have a constructive conversation with the person.
So, this blog does not discourage all types of gossip. Rather, Mediate to Go recommends that you try to be conscious of the types of gossip that you participate in, their impact and then respond accordingly.

Leave a comment on our blog and let us know what you think! Thank you!

[7] Abercrombie, Nicholas (2004). Sociology: A Short Introduction. Short Introductions. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Peer Mediation Resources

Mediate2go.com: Peer Mediation Resources
We have compiled a list of peer mediation resources that will help you design, implement and evaluate a peer mediation program. Please add your resources in the comment area below. Also, see our introduction to peer mediation in schools and our blogs which are great to share with your social media followers (and students) on trust, fighting fair and active listening. Be sure to try out our case manager for free, which will allow you to manage your entire peer mediation program, including intake of cases, management of client information, digitized agreements and more. Read about the best case manager.

  1. Needs Assessment:
  2. Program Design:
  3. Program Implementation
  4. Evaluation
Mediate2go.com: Peer Mediation Resources
Search: "Peer Mediation", "Starting a peer mediation program", "how to peacefully resolve conflict", "conflict resolution", "kids conflict resolution"

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

How to Rebuild Trust and Trust Issues

Mediate2go.com Family Fights & Fighting Fair: How to Peacefully Resolve Conflict and WabiSabiTherapist.com
Lynda Martens is the Wabisabi Therapist and a contributor to the Mediate to Go Blog. Please read her insights about trust, and how to rebuild trust. Also, please see our other blog on the Definition of Trust.
Trust is one of the fundamental elements in a relationship.  We cannot really be close to someone if we can’t trust them.  And if you are close to someone you  know you cannot trust…ask yourself why.
This blog is for those of you who have messed up…made a mistake…hurt somebody…damaged the trust someone had in you.  It is within your power to earn that trust back.

Note that I said earn.  You cannot demand trust.  It must be earned, and given freely.  There is no big sign that declares someone trustworthy or not.  Someone decides…or not…to place their trust in you.  To trust that their heart/money/safety is safe with you.  Trust is a gift, and a decision.
That said, here are some things that are within your power to do when you have broken trust:

  1. Be patient: Know that it cannot be fixed immediately.   Try not to rush the process.   You may feel better if the incident is never mentioned again, but that’s not realistic.  See the rebuilding as a process that is worthy of time and patience.
  2. Listen without defensiveness: There is tremendous power in your ability to listen to and really hear and understand the pain you have caused.  It takes courage to face someone we have hurt, but this is what moves you through towards greater trust.  Just listen to and accept their emotion.  No excuses.  Be that soft place for them to fall
  3. Take responsibility for what you did: You are not responsible for their emotions…only for what you did.  Name what you did.  Name that it wasn’t okay. Name the effect you think it had on them.
  4. Apologize in many different ways: Chapman and Thomas’s book “The Five Languages of Apology” describes apologizing as saying “I am sorry.”  “I was wrong”, “What can I do to make it right?” “I’ll try not to do that again”, and “Will you please forgive me?”
  5. Act differently: If your actions sent the message that your partner/friend wasn’t important to you…then do things that send the opposite, correct message.  Do things that say “You are vitally important to me”.  This can be as small as sending a quick text to say “how’s your day?”
  6. Be Transparent: If the mistake was a lie about something that was hidden, then the gift of transparency is powerful.  Information is power.  Letting your loved one know where you are, who you are with…leaving your email, phone and facebook account open and available…openness feeds trust.
  7. Do not repeat the behaviour: If a mistake is made and the lesson is learned, that is one thing, but if you are repeating the behaviour, then you may want to seek professional help if figuring out why this is happening.  Acting trustworthy is ultimately the only way to get people to trust you.
Search: #Trust-Issues, #How-to-Rebuild-Trust, #Rebuilding-Trust, #overcoming-trust-issues

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