Mediation in the Workplace Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Statewide Civil Rights Conference June 8, 2006 Columbus, Ohio
Managing Conflict in the Workplace • The Nature of Conflict • Sources of Conflict • Conflict Styles/ How We Respond • Tools for Effective Conflict Management
What is Conflict? Definition of Conflict: Conflict is a form of competition between perceived or actualincompatible needs, goals, desires, ideas, or resources. Source: The Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
Types of Conflict • Interpersonal • Intragroup • Intergroup
Sources of Conflict • Communication • Structural • Personal
Sources of Conflict Communication -- Too Much, Too Little • Poor listening • Insufficient sharing of information • Differences in interpretation and perception • Nonverbal cues ignored or missed
Sources of Conflict Structural • Size of the Organization • Turf • Turnover rate • Roles and Responsibilities
Sources of Conflict Personal • Individual self-esteem • Personal goals • Personal Values and Needs • To be valued by others • To be in control
How Do You Respond to Conflict? Five Styles We Use in Conflict Situations -Avoid - do nothing -Compete - win/lose -Compromise - split the difference -Collaborate - win/win -Accommodate - give in
Tools for Effective Conflict Management • Using a Problem Solving Process • Use Communication to Your Advantage • Consider Processes such as Mediation
Using a Problem Solving Process • There are many different problem solving processes and models for conflict management and resolution - 3-step; 4-step; 6-step • No one process or model is best • Choose one that works for you and your situation
6 Step Problem Solving Process • Identify the Issues(s) or Problem(s) • Use brainstorming to identify the Interests (needs and concerns) of all the parties • Use brainstorming to develop options or potential solutions • Evaluate and choose the option or solution that addresses the needs and concerns of all parties -- strive for mutual gain • Implement the chosen solution • Review the result -- build in follow-up
Assess your Situation Identify the problem or issue? What is important to you and why? What is important to the other person(s) and why? How can mutual gains be maximized?
Positions and Interests • Position = What I Want • Interest = Why I Want it – my needs, concerns If you are stating a position, the other person can only respond with yes or no, or a counter proposal. If you are stating an interest, there are usually multiple ways to satisfy the interest.
Using Communication to Your Advantage What are some main components of communication?
Using Communication to Your Advantage Communication negotiates relationships and communicates ideas. • Effective Listening • Preference Statements • Purpose Statements • I Statements
Effective Communication The Art of Skillful Listening • Stop Talking • Imagine the other person’s point of view • Look, act, and be interested -- ask questions • Observe nonverbal behavior • Don’t interrupt -- sit still past your comfort level
Effective Communication Preference Statements: Communicate clearly your preferences rather than stating them as demands or forcing others to guess. • If it was just me… • What I’d like… • It would be helpful to me if...
Effective Communication Purpose Stating: Make known your intentions so others do not unknowingly operate at cross purposes. Supplying information about your aims, allows others to understand, and if possible, to assist you. • What I’m trying to accomplish is… • I’m hoping to… • My intention is to...
Effective Communication “I” Statements • Focus on yourself – own the problem • Name the feeling • Name the problem behavior • Describe the impact on you I felt frustrated when you modified the report without consulting me because I spent a lot of time on it.
Effective Communication People want to be heard and want to know that heard them • Reflect back what you think the person is saying to them - demonstrates to the person that you were listening and gives you an opportunity to clarify so that you may better assess the situation • Choose Your Words!
Re-framing • Re-framing: stating or re-phrasing a concept in an effort to reach agreement or resolve conflict.
Re-framing Re-framing can be used to: • Clarify a statement and achieve understanding • Achieve a different perspective • Neutralize language • Construct a joint or common goal • Emphasize areas of agreement and compatibility
Example of Re-framing Original Statement • “Hell will freeze over before I work with that jerk again” Re-framed Statement • “I had a poor experience working with him/her and I don’t ever want to repeat it again.
Dealing with Difficult People Dealing with Your Anger Express anger effectively Identify the behavior Describe your viewpoint Try to Promote Trust Use “positive framing” Consider using humor
Dealing with Difficult People Dealing with Their Anger - Diffuse Emotions Listen Let them vent Address Their Anger Acknowledge the behavior
Dealing with Difficult People Dealing with Their Anger - Continued Respond Strategically Make your response work for you Help an angry opponent save face
Dealing with Difficult People Dealing with Intense Emotions Use ground rules Set boundaries Acknowledge feelings Be willing to terminate the process Don’t allow personal attacks
Mediation Mediation is an informal structured process in which a neutral third party, called a mediator, helps parties work through and resolve problems. The mediator does not impose a decision.
7 Stage Mediation Model STAGE 1. Introduction STAGE 2. Problem Determination STAGE 3. Summarizing STAGE 4. Issue Identification STAGE 5. Generation and Evaluation of Alternatives STAGE 6. Selection of the Appropriate Alternatives STAGE 7. Conclusion
Key Features of Mediation Mediation is usually a voluntary process. Mediation can be private and confidential. Disputing parties maintain control over the outcome Relationships can be maintained or improved. Mediation can be used before and/or after filing a lawsuit. Creative agreements beyond the court’s authority can be crafted. Mediated agreements are often achieved more quickly than court judgements. Mediation can reduce the potential for future conflicts.
Workplace Mediation Program • Available to state employees at no charge • Any party may request mediation • Participation is voluntary • Mediators are trained state employees – not from the parties’ agency • Co-mediation model is used • Collective bargaining disputes are not mediated • Does not affect an employee’s right to file formal complaint or grievance
Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management77 S. High Street, 24th FloorColumbus, OH 43215(614) 752-9595www.disputeresolution.ohio.gov