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Julie Page HR Ltd – Newsletter February 2013

managing conflict

A recent survey identified that four in ten Managers do not resolve conflicts effectively.  This is not necessarily a surprise as generally we British like to avoid conflict whenever possible!
That said, avoidance does not create good business sense in terms of staff performance, both as individuals and as teams, and of course this affects business profitability.

With this in mind, I would like to share with you some constructive advice from Ian Day who is a co-author of Challenging Coaching in terms of communication and feedback to staff.

Ian views challenging feedback as a crucial skill for Line Managers and offers the following guidance and advice which will ensure that recognition for a job well done is balanced with honest criticism about mistakes.

1. Embrace creative tension
Start by entering ‘the zone of uncomfortable debate,’ which is an area of creative tension during a conversation. If a conversation is more than a social chat you need to embrace this creative tension to get to the crux of a matter. Often people feel the tension rise and fear damaging the relationship and so defuse the pressure by exiting to a safer place. The relationship is maintained, but the issue remains.

2. Speak the truth
Challenging feedback needs the person giving it to be honest. Explain the issue in context as you see it, for example it’s your reality and therefore your truth. Be confident and state how you see things in a rational and factual way.

3. Be supportive and challenging
Effective feedback is a balance of support and challenge. Support is the concern for the individual, acknowledging and displaying empathy, for example. Challenge is about pushing, provoking, confronting and holding someone to account.

4. Balancing act
Low support linked with a low level of challenge gives the impression that a manager is going through the motions, while highly supportive feedback, but with low challenge leads to affirmation of behaviours you might want to change. Feedback with low support and a high level of challenge is stressful for the employee. Try to achieve a balance of support and challenge.

5. Be self aware
The ‘ego’ of the person delivering challenging feedback is crucial. If it comes from a stressed boss who needs to prove superiority, feedback will never be constructive. If the feedback comes from a person genuinely wanting to make a positive contribution and trusting the future potential, then it will be supportively challenging.

managing peopleKey points

  • Create a factual description of what happened
  • Prepare with the individual and the desired outcome in mind
  • Describe how the observed issue impacts others
  • Invite input and explore both sides of an issue
  • Reflect, don't force a resolution
  • Agree an action plan from the discussion

Hopefully these ideas and suggestions will assist you to manage your staff more easily; give them a try next time you have an issue with staff performance and see how it can work for you.....

As always however, remember I am here to assist you with further advice or mentoring as your flexible HR Resource.

Julie Page, an experienced HR & Training Specialist, works with companies of all sizes to ensure they utilise Employment Legislation, Best Practice and their own Aims and Objectives to maximise their Business Potential through their Staff. 

To find out more about the contents of this Newsletter or ways in which Julie can work with you for your HR and staffing requirements, please contact her on 07776 135350 or through this website for an initial discussion and free consultation.

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