Archive for the ‘golden nuggets’ Category

Facilitator Tips

September 30, 2009

I recently came across Penn State’s website and when searching “conflict resolution”, I found this gem of a page.

It gives various tips and questions to consider when issues arise within a working group/team. The tips listed are easily transferable for a facilitator who is planning to bring a group together.

The set up is broken down into seven sections:

I Conflict Happens
II Clarify Expectations
III Types of Conflicts
IV Identify Team Needs
V Depersonalize Conflict
VI Structuring Discussion
VII Key Questions


A brief look into each section gives shows there is valuable information for all conflict resolvers:

I Conflict Happens
Most members of a team have to learn two fundamentals:
1. Having different opinions is one of the essential benefits of teamwork.
2. Team members have strong feelings and emotions. A team cannot achieve its full potential if all that is allowed is logic or information.


II Clarify Expectations
Stating expectations clearly will give the team a common ground to begin any discussion. Some ways to clarifying expectations include:
1. Developing a clear statement of team mission or purpose
2.
Ground rules governing participation, sharing of responsibilities
3. Agreement to
depersonalize conflicts

III Types of Conflicts
Internal conflict – An individual or team member is experiencing a personal conflict that may or may not be related to the team, but which is interfering with the person’s ability to perform.
Individual conflict with one other team member – One team member is in conflict with another
Individual conflict with the entire team – One team member is experiencing conflict with the entire team


IV Identify Team Needs
Define the team’s problem as a shared need. As a group:
1. Identify the causes.
2. Determine the criteria for a solution.Generate options.

V Depersonalize Conflict
During the problem-solving phase focus on issues not personalities. Use these guidelines to help depersonalize conflicts.
1. Encourage each side to objectively explain his or her bottom line requirements. When the team is determining a solution, each person’s criteria should be evaluated.
2. Remind the team of ground rules while generating options such as “no criticizing statements by other people until all ideas are posted.”

VI Structuring Discussion
Here is a structured way to handle conflicts:
1. Let each person state his or her view briefly.
2. Have neutral team members reflect on areas of agreement or disagreement.
3. Explore areas of disagreement for specific issues.


VII Key Questions
Questions that can help teams work through conflict:
1. What are we supposed to accomplish as a team?
2. What are each of our roles and responsibilities in accomplishing that goal?
3. Who and when do each of us need to get information from?

Again, the list above is not complete- it is just a short version. It you find it useful, click this [link] to read them all. If you are asking why not put the full list? The answer is basic web etiquette- not cutting and pasting someone else’s entire work but rather displaying only a portion and linking to the original source.

Ombudsman Releases Workplace Guide

September 2, 2009

The Fair Work (Australia, www.FairWork.com.au) Ombudsman recently released a series of guides to best practices for improving workplace relations. [from the media release here]

Below, you will find a brief outline what the guide offers. Some very good stuff there that can help all ADR professionals- not just Ombudsmen.

Executive Director Michael Campbell says the guides will particularly benefit employers with limited workplace relations or human resource management experience.

“With this latest initiative, we have sought to explain in simple language the concepts of best practice in key areas which can promote harmonious, productive and co-operative workplaces,” Mr Campbell said.
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s Practice Guides cover the following topics:

1. Work & Family
Fostering a culture of workplace flexibility for family responsibilities can help to achieve a more productive work environment. From reduced absenteeism to improved job satisfaction, there are significant benefits for employees and employers in achieving a work and family balance.

2. Consultation & Co-operation in the Workplace
Best practice workplace consultation involves developing and implementing effective consultation mechanisms which encourage cooperation and the engagement of employees and management across the workplace. Employee involvement in decision-making regularly leads to benefits such as increased productivity and greater collaboration.
3. Individual Flexibility Arrangements (IFAs)
Flexible work practices can deliver benefits to both employers and employees. Individual flexibility arrangements can lead to greater job satisfaction and help attract and retain skilled and valuable staff. Flexibility in the workplace can also improve workplace productivity and efficiency by helping maintain a motivated workforce with reduced staff turnover and absenteeism.
4. A Guide for Young Workers
It can be an exciting time for a young person when they get their first job. Knowing and understanding their workplace obligations and entitlements can assist young workers navigate their way through the employment process.
5. An employer’s guide to employing young workers
Young workers can bring enthusiasm and new skills to a workplace. They can also become loyal and valuable employees. Best practice employers understand their obligations to young workers and recognise that their guidance and support can shape young employees’ futures and their attitudes to work.
6. Gender Pay Equity Gender
Pay equity is about ensuring that both women and men are paid fairly for the work they perform. Gender pay equity makes good business sense because it fosters fairness and respect, which helps to create a motivated and harmonious workforce.
7. Small Business
The Fair Work Act 2009 sets out a number of requirements that business, including small business, needs to be aware of. Best practice employers know and understand their rights and obligations under workplace law and know who to contact for assistance.

8. Workplace Privacy
Operating at best practice when it comes to workplace privacy creates trust, certainty and security for both employers and employees. Employers, employees and their representatives need to know what information may be collected and retained by employers and whether it can be passed on to others.
9. Managing Underperformance
Establishing effective performance management systems can have significant benefits for a business, leading to happier, more motivated and better performing employees. Reviewing, refining and implementing performance management systems are ways of helping achieve these benefits.

10. Effective Dispute Resolution
Disputes can arise in any workplace. A dispute exists when one or more people disagree about something and matters remain unresolved. A fair and balanced dispute resolution process is important for the effective operation of any business.
11. Improving Workplace Productivity in Bargaining Enterprise
Bargaining is a way of fostering a culture of change in the workplace and is a valuable tool in the process of continuous improvement. It can assist in the creation of responsive and flexible enterprises and help to improve productivity and efficiency.

Read the Best Practice Guides documents [here].
Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman page [here].
Read About the Fair Work Ombudsman, Nicholas Wilson [here].

Golden Nuggets

May 25, 2009

I decided to post some of the quick but important tips under the title ‘golden nuggets’. Why, firstly because it’s my blog and I do what i want! Secondly, and a bit more seriously, that is what I feel they are; short postings containing valuable information.

Today’s edition is if you pressed for time to give out your most valuable tips on communication, what would it be?

Tip one: I would say listen to what others are saying, don’t just ‘hear them’. Listening to them gives you valuable information and when you want more, ask an open ended question. Listen more than you speak.

Tip two would be when you do speak, chose your words and how you say them very carefully.

Tip three would be do not let emotions get the best of you. Stay calm, be the peace you want to see in others! Letting emotions get the best of you prevents you from fully being present to listen effectively and even worse, you will most say things you did not want to say.

What would you say?

The Ombuds Office at the University of Hawaii (talk about a dream job!) gives out these three tips (from here):

What you say and how you say it
*Use neutral language. Describe what you saw or heard. What sights and sounds would a video cam have recorded? “Edit out” any judgment, criticism or interpretation of what was seen or heard. * Own the message. I feel, I wish, I hope, I would like to ask. Let the conversation be about your needs or values, not what is (perceived to be) wrong with the other person, or what that person did or did not do.


What you hear and how you hear it
*Try to empathize with what the other person is feeling. By offering empathy you are simply creating a connection with the person – not stating that you agree with what was done or said.
*Acknowledge and make sure you understand the information being given to you. It’s often helpful to repeat what you heard to make sure you got it right.


What you do with the information
*Seek to understand the interests (needs, values, wants) of the other person. Ask for help in understanding why they are important to him or her.
*Search for common ground and a better future. Focus on what is desirable and possible now – you can’t negotiate the past.


Check out their great site [here]