I was working on the west coast of Canada with a small team, where I had the privilege to mediate a long-standing conflict between a staff member and their director. The result saved the organization an amount that could have sunk them. (Hence, I say that the high cost of conflict is avoidable, and profits can be used for better things.)
The relationship was struggling in an attempt for win/lose, or lose/win; neither of which are healthy or will withstand the test of time. Although we always seek win/win in mediation, the outcome of this one was the only alternative. ‘No deal’. The opportunity to end the relationship in the best way possible for the employee, and the organization, is a huge win. No litigation, no lawsuits, no costly severance.
Just a real understanding of the need for change, and the bright future of all involved when they help each other get to their next phase of success.
The acronym PLAY NICE is how I structure my process. Here’s how the first part of the resolution played out to help avoid a costly termination and created a mutually beneficial resignation.
Avoid a Costly Termination…
Position yourself for success.
Good play starts within; therefore, each person was encouraged to approach the circumstances with an open mind and to start with what they want from a larger perspective, rather than the painful circumstance they find themselves in. It’s human nature to blame others for our position, but it’s more effective and highly empowering to take responsibility for the situation and exert behaviours that are more aligned with the outcomes we want.
Lighten your load.
Unpack to make space for new relationship tools. Often old experiences play a bigger role in our current circumstances than we understand. With more clarity of the emotional layers that lie beneath our own relationship to conflict, we shed new light on the current circumstance and can eliminate the old, to focus on understanding and untangling the knots of the moment, rather than the century.
Help others feel understood. When each person seeks to understand the other without judgement or defending, the situation becomes clearer, and there is usually less to be in conflict about. Someone’s opinion isn’t necessarily right or wrong, it just is what it is. This important step is usually the part of the mediation process that requires the most correction because most people don’t listen with the intention to understand, they listen with the intention to respond, defend or accuse.
Yield to your WHY.
Ground yourself in purpose. Understanding the larger mandate of the organization and the motivation for each person working within it gives people a more clear picture of what needs to be done. In the case of the director and staff member, each was so passionate about their organization’s mandate, that they were trying to maintain a working relationship when in fact, the mutual agreement resulted in a peaceful resignation.
Now you know that a costly termination is avoidable.
Step one of our Sandbox System™ helps people resolve conflict. Left unresolved, workplace conflict results in litigation, termination, resignation, leaves of absence, lost time, and many other costly outcomes.
For help with your workplace conflict, call us because the high cost of conflict is avoidable, and profits can be used for better things.