Consider Mediation before Grievance/Disciplinary

Why should charities or other caring organisations consider mediation before grievance or disciplinary procedures? A grievance procedure may actually intensify conflict and divisions, especially if it is lengthy, complex or inconclusive.

Are there circumstances where you should not consider mediation first? Yes, and I will give some examples below where mediation was not suitable, along with some questions to help you understand what is best in your situation.

Accountability can be challenging for caring organisations–why?

It grieves me to see organisations which do amazing work with atmospheres so toxic that the staff and organisations have suffered for years. In one organisation it took two years of work to heal the divide. Yet the staff are invariably kind compassionate people working for organisations whose mission is worthy.

Ironically, the way the organisation and staff see themselves as “caring” can be one of the reason that they do not address issues early. “Nice” people often find it hard to hold others accountable, so they make allowances and excuses. Organisations change their structure instead of addressing the issues.

In many care organisations and charities, the compassion flows strongly towards clients, too often without limit. Staff and volunteers are so committed to the cause that it becomes their life. They work long hours and don’t take holidays. Their families and own life come second. While this may seem saintly, inevitably it results in breakdown, burnout or conflict. There is is little energy or compassion left over for themselves, families or colleagues. They feel unappreciated so resentment builds, seemingly minor issues cause major upsets. A toxic atmosphere develops and there is a horrendous personal and organisational cost.

Minimizing the need for formal conflict resolution

We each need to set boundaries, express them cleasrly and accept that not only is it important to care for clients, but to care for ourselves and each other.
As soon as we start feeling resentful, we need to pause, think about what we need, work out our boundaries and think about what we ourselves can do and options if others cross them, express needs & boundaries, then request clearly for help before blaming others for not respecting boundaries and meeting our needs.

If you or your organisation feel it would be helpful to learn more about this, please email to arrange a complimentary  discussion.


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