Consider Mediation before Grievance/Disciplinary

Why should charities or other caring organisations consider conflict first aid or mediation before grievance or disciplinary procedures? A grievance procedure may actually intensify conflict and divisions, especially if it is lengthy, complex or inconclusive. Disciplinary procedures create defensiveness, and even end up in the party starting a grievance procedure. In small organisations, it is…

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My Apology Is Not Accepted: Now what?

How do I feel when my apology isn’t accepted? Years ago, in a conversation with a good friend, I inadvertently said something that obviously upset them and the conversation ended abruptly. Mystified, I phoned back on several occasions and started to apologise, however, it was obvious that talking on the phone wasn’t an option. Upset,…

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Avoiding Difficult Conversations is Unkind

we can say what we need to say when we speak our truths

Avoiding difficult conversations is unkind??? For many people talking about sensitive or negative matters seems mean and unkind. Avoiding mentioning it seems kinder. Nice people frequently tend to avoid conflict, by ignoring difficult issues. Caring professions, charities and companies with a “nice” image¬† procrastinate when addressing unwanted behaviour. They make allowances, drop hints and make…

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How To Reduce Misunderstanding

Reduce misunderstanding–is that possible? Most of the conflicts I deal with as a mediator start with a misunderstanding. Even small misunderstandings potentially lead to damaged relationships or breakdowns of communication. Why do misunderstandings occur Our brains are continually trying to find patterns in the world and other people. If we spot a pattern, it makes…

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Pebbles and difficult decisions

difficult decisions

One of the difficult decisions we face every weekend is where to go! Durham is within easy reach of cities, mountains, woods, moors and the seaside. As well as gorgeous sandy beaches (not many blackened by coal now), the North East of England coast has ones lots of interesting rocks and pebbles. So after some…

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4 Steps to Say No Nicely

say no

When we say no nicely it actually stops destructive conflict. Yet so often we say yes when we know that no is the right answer. Why we say yes when we should say no Sometimes we don’t say no because we fear upsetting others. We say yes without thinking it through. We get in the…

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Conversations not Confrontations

Conversations not confrontations

Conversations not Confrontations was designed in response to a request from an organisation after a mediation. The employees involved found the way the organisation had managed their differences had exacerbated the issues. They asked me to tell management that the “conversations not confrontations” approach of mediation was much better. I talked with the CEO and…

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Conflict Management Training & Workshops

Conflict Management training?!? Is it really necessary? It is essential. Why is Conflict Management Training Important? Conflict and disagreements are inevitable. The normal response is to fight, flight or freeze. Although useful if facing a sabre tooth tiger, this evolutionary instinct is not helpful in modern-day life. When we choose fighting, running away or ignoring…

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Small Business Disputes

Small business disputes have a huge impact. In any organisation, disagreements and personality clashes cause problems. In her article on the cost of conflict, Andra Picincu lists 4 major issues: decreased productivity, loss of revenue, low morale and poor communication.¬† Other negative effects are increased absenteeism, staff resignation and mental health issues. However, when conflict…

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Customer Disputes

customer disputes

Customer disputes can cause havoc. For small businesses, one upset customer doesn’t just ruin your day, it could ruin your life if you don’t handle it carefully. Arguments over unmet expectations, unpaid bills or product quality add to the strain of managing a small business. Benefits of Mediation for Customer Disputes Customer disputes that end…

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