Dealing with Difficult Behaviours (Rather Than Difficult People)
Kari Boyle, Queen’s IRC Facilitator, 2018
In the Queen’s IRC Strategies for Workplace Conflicts course, we start by asking participants what they would particularly like help with in their workplace. A common response is “difficult / high conflict people”. However you define it, this is a huge challenge in today’s workplace and, unless it is handled well, it takes significant time, energy and expertise away from the work to be done.
Most people have heard about Serena Williams’ public outburst at the U.S. Open this fall. Her behaviour and words were shocking and unexpected. Does that make her a “difficult” or “high conflict” person? If so, then how does that change our thinking about the situation and the complex issues that emerged afterwards?
When we encounter these situations in the workplace, it is important to try to avoid the very human desire to label people and move on. There are better ways to handle things.
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Workplace Restoration Q&A with Anne Grant
Cathy Sheldrick, Queen’s IRC Marketing Assistant, 2018
Queen’s IRC sat down with Anne Grant, the facilitator for our new Workplace Restoration program, to find out more about the topic and the program. In the interview, Anne shares her experience in workplace restorations, including the surprises she’s had along the way. She gives some insight into what makes workplaces toxic and how this program will help organizations that are experiencing disruptions like prolonged conflicts, increased harassment or grievance claims, leadership issues, strikes, investigations or significant organizational changes.
What kind of problems do organizations have that would require a workplace restoration? A workplace restoration might be needed after a polarizing event like a big investigation. It might be a merger or a strike. It might be difficulties with management. It might be a group of rogue employees causing problems. Often after a strike or lockout, a few rogues, union or management, can keep the conflict alive.
One of the things that I've really seen over the last ten to fifteen years is a need to address the conduct in the workplace. In general, it’s because people are getting into bad habits and engaging in behaviours that are not acceptable in this day and age, as we’re seeing in the media right now. People get sloppy, they engage in a lot of things that they shouldn’t, and people put up with it for a long time.
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Cultivating Effective Management-Union Relationships in the Unionized Workplace
Gary T. Furlong, Queen's IRC Facilitator, 2011
In almost all organizations today, both public and private sector, managers are looking to deliver better results and greater productivity. And within these same organizations, the union is often seen as a barrier to management effectively achieving these goals. From the union's point of view, management views the collective agreement as an impediment to achieving results, leading to frequent violations of the collective agreement. This dynamic leads to ongoing conflict between management and union, further draining the organization's energy and resources, eroding the very productivity and results the company is seeking to achieve. Both management and the union need to revisit how the collective agreement is used, and could be used more effectively, within the organization.
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