Equal Opportunity Advisor
It happened again today. One of your co-workers made a comment that just wasn't right. Maybe the individual didn't mean anything by it but the impact of those types of comments is beginning to disrupt your work. You've been thinking about it and wonder what you could do to resolve the situation without making a big incident of it. Or, maybe you are a co-worker or supervisor and someone has come to you for assistance in resolving a conflict in the workplace.
Conflict can be defined as a disagreement between two or more people that raises serious concerns and needs to be resolved. Many things can cause conflict such as opposing or different views, perspectives from different backgrounds, differences in personality, lack of understanding, or miscommunication. When any of these happen, they may result in discrimination or harassment. Prejudice, stereotypes, bias and other inappropriate behavior may result in conflict. When conflict is not resolved, it can escalate rapidly into serious problems. Each of us has a responsibility to resolve conflicts. One of the simplest and most effective methods is to use the Informal Resolution System.
The Informal Resolution System depends on you and your commitment to resolve conflict early and at lowest possible level. You can resolve conflict without making a big incident out if it by using the Informal Resolution System in your workplace.
Make the system work for you. Treat others with dignity and respect, ask questions that get to the heart of concerns, listen to what is really being said, and try to understand the other person's point of view.
If you have been offended by someone, remember - how you communicate can be as important as what you communicate. Focus on describing the behavior that caused the offense rather than characterizing the individual's personality. Be clear about the impact of the behavior on you.
If you have offended another, make a sincere apology. It may not be easy to apologize. Remember, an apology is not an admission of guilt or wrong doing, you simply accept that the recipient was offended and take action to resolve the conflict. If you are the recipient, accept the apology in the spirit in which it was intended.
If you are a third party, the nature and severity of the conflict will influence your decision of the best approach to help resolve conflict. If you decide to intervene on another person's behalf, listen to both parties and keep an open mind. Your role is very important to informal resolution at the lowest level.
Remember, only you can make the Informal Resolution System work, regardless of your role. If the Informal Resolution System does not work for you contact, the Equal Opportunity Advisor at 257-7720.
You may also use our Formal Complaint Form.