Fear is a driving force in many decisions, as it was when a non-profit group wanted to open a homeless shelter in this residential neighbourhood. But, often, fear is simply lack of information, and the best way to combat fear is with facts. Mediation that focuses on informing the parties (education) helped allay residents’ concerns and promote a resolution that benefited all parties.
To paraphrase Lewis Carroll, you should say what you mean, and mean what you say. But it’s not always that easy! Too often, we fall into a rabbit hole of miscommunication. What we “mean” is conveyed via our communication styles, and what we hear is often interpreted through an imperfect lense of perception . In this particular situation, it led to two people speaking the same language in drastically different ways. Could they learn to adjust to different communication styles and arrive at mutual understanding?
Conflict doesn’t exist in a bubble; two people can be at odds, but their disagreements, insults, barbs, ally-building, and game-playing can make life stressful for everyone surrounding these individuals. That’s only exacerbated when the parties in question are senior members of a staff.
When rust forms on a car and is left untreated, it metastasizes. Eventually, it eats away at the metal until the vehicle is no longer safe, and repairs are exponentially more difficult. Personal problems in the workplace can be equally corrosive. When left unresolved, conflict can spread, undermining morale, productivity, and profitability. In some instances, as in this one, threats of violence further erode the work environment.
Employees change behaviours when promoted: employers want and need them to. Many become more responsible, accept bigger challenges, take new staff under their wing, and lead with integrity. Others, however, abuse their power. The supervisor in this situation became virtually impossible to work for, and the entire organization felt the effects.