Workplace Interaction: It’s All Up to You
8 June 2016 at 3:00 pm
Within the Not for Profit environment, workplace incidents may be even more challenging to deal with. So what can be done differently to make dealing with conflict more constructive and more productive asks mediator, lecturer and guest webinar presenter, Peter Singer.
Every day our success is determined by how we interact with people who may be different, unpredictable or have challenging worldviews. The Not for Profit workplace can be understaffed and overworked, which can lend itself to structural tensions.
There is a “relationships first” philosophy which may tend to a conflict avoidance culture. There may be flatter structures and less formal procedures which can blur lines of authority and accountability. Furthermore, there may be individuals’ emotions and passions inextricably tied to the purpose of the organisation.
It can be portrayed as a landmine yet with the right awareness, competencies and decision capacity, workplace issues can be harnessed for the evolution and progress of a company. In essence, it depends upon you.
Take a moment and consider your last workplace interaction that left you somewhat disquieted, quite indignant or completely disenfranchised with your team, your division or your organisation.
Perhaps later you realised you may have got hooked in and reacted. In hindsight, what could you have done differently to make that interaction more engaging, more constructive and more productive? What could you have done to have made it reactive free?
Many people relive these retrospective incidents on a regular basis. Their reflection could offer an insightful learning opportunity or merely provide future justification to hand in a notice of resignation. In the “fog of war” of today’s workplace, people can react in an inappropriate manner driven by perceived self-interest, a fear of a loss of control or an inability to face the unpredictability of the circumstances they’re unexpectedly in.
The workplace manager is often trained in their job (when working under the predecessor) through observation of the predecessor’s attitudes, instruction and behaviour. Little is done to rectify the learning gained through the predecessor if the experience was inappropriate. That’s how we tend to learn and function as people – through mirroring others.
In order to rectify ineffective behavioural approaches, it is essential that we appreciate what our current behaviours are.
What could be achieved through less reactive and more effective interactions? What is the organisation missing out on when our interactions fail to capitalise on the potential that the issue is presenting? What positive impact would be felt if we simply worked without our default reactions?
In order to seize the potential that these workplace issues present, it is critical to appreciate that organisations need to provide their people with tools to help them understand one another.
So what tools do you bring to the table when you find yourself unexpectedly struggling to understand your colleague’s motivations, aims or behaviours? Choosing how to respond effectively could enable a “respect for relationship” culture to thrive with one of “enquiry and exploration”.
It could also enhance the employees’ bonding in flat and less formal structures.
Pro Bono Australia’s latest executive webinar on 22 June 2016 will present an awareness of people’s default reactions along with interventions that will increase your own capability in driving better outcomes. The two presenters Allan Parker, the managing director of Peak Performance Development, an international Sydney-based consultancy that specialises in negotiation, organisational change, management and leadership development, and dispute management, and Peter Singer deliver workshops in this arena and have extensive experience in negotiation and conflict management. Book here.
About the author: Peter R Singer is a highly qualified mediator who has built Bond National, a successful national business that helps Not for Profits, businesses, legal professionals, unions and other organisations to negotiate the best outcomes in challenging situations. He also lectures at RMIT, Australian Catholic and Monash universities.