The Negatives of Conflict
If the greatest resource of any business is its workforce then it follows that the best workforce will happy, fulfilled, engaged and productive. This is the objective of any sensible, responsible employer because it is a situation in which there are only winners. Nevertheless, social media, newspapers and the broadcast media too often feature accounts of disharmonious working environments, cultures of negatively competitive point scoring and barefaced bullying and harassment.
Despite extensive measures within corporations, public bodies and educational institutions to educate individuals and promote policies of inclusion, diversity and empathy, conflict in the workplace is still a common occurrence. For the sake of employers, employees, business partners and customers, a zero-tolerance approach is essential. But it needs to be implemented inventively and skillfully in order to be effective and enduring.
There are at least two interwoven strands to this knotty issue. In the most general sense, we are talking about business relationship management, which is primarily about the way in which a business nurtures and maintains fruitful connections with its audience and other businesses. Under the same banner falls employee relations management, which covers all issues of internal interaction between management and workforce as well as individuals and in some cases inter-departmental interfaces.
Some commentators treat the external and internal issues as separate disciplines, but they depend on similar approaches. Running, scaling up and growing a business successfully involves more than a felicity with numbers, ideas and decision-making but requires in addition the not inconsiderable psychological skills of people management.
The Key Wins of Reforming Relationships
Building Relationships to Benefit All
Employee and partner relations have several features in common. Strip away the technology and any business relationship comes down to people. That means the possibilities for personality clashes, conflicts of values, wounded egos, hurt pride, suspicion and malice are virtually limitless. At Gradeon, we understand the importance of removing these from the business equation. It won’t always be possible because even the most carefully handled individual may remain resistant to compromise or conciliation, but a benevolent management policy is a powerful place to start. Gradeon offers a relationship consultancy service which can help employers formulate and implement policies and practices to transform the workplace into an environment that runs smoothly, happily and productively.
The art of strategic employee relations consists in making sure everyone feels listened to and their position understood. It demands the ability to defuse volatile situations, anticipate friction and close down conflict. Unlike the days when widespread union representation legitimised division, today, employee relations management never loses sight of the individual. Done well it can prevent the formation of silos and cliques, promoting a spirit of harmony and co-operation.
Exactly the same principles can be applied to external relations with partner businesses and even with customers. This is the route to finding better outsourcing solutions, receiving better professional services and creating exceptional customer experiences. Attentiveness from a position of confidence and generosity from a position of strength are important attributes that are among the many positive management skills which Gradeon’s reforming relationships programme can help you to develop.