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force prohibiting discrimination on the basis of age, sexual orientation and religion and belief, adding to existing laws outlawing discrimination against people for reason of race, sex or disability. The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 is also increasingly being used by employees as another avenue to make claims against their employer for stress or bullying.


Some potential sources of conflict at work are obvious, such as: n Excessive personal use of the internet or email n Poor attendance and time-keeping n Any form of bullying behaviour or harassment n Any form of discriminatory behaviour n Unacceptable language n Theft n Drink or drug problems


The problem facing managers is that conflicts are not always obvious – they can be covert. Frustration builds up because an individual


often feels no one else is aware of their concerns. So, monitoring the climate at work can give you an early warning system, making it easier to deal with issues before they get out of hand. Don’t think you have to be continuously on your guard. It means keeping your eyes open, asking the right questions and seeking feedback on changes, but without being overbearing. Take time to consider the root cause


of any conflict that arises. Too often, teams are frustrated by demands to ‘fix the problem now’ when it is clear that research needs to be done to find the right option. In the same way, it’s important to speak to colleagues and get every side of the story before jumping to a conclusion. If you don’t, you may create future resentment. Work out a resolution based on your


discoveries and remain composed when talking – you may need to take a break until people are calm enough to discuss their problems rationally. And don’t rush people for answers – people are more open if they believe you are receptive and interested.


Moving forward The most important aspect of handling a potentially explosive situation is to find an acceptable way forward for all, and it is feasible that the outcome could be a compromise for both parties. This may mean moving someone to a different department or changing work shifts – no manager wants to lose two valued employees. Ultimately don’t dwell on the subject.


Once solved, move on – if you can’t, chances are the resolution was never found in the first place. Keeping communication channels open can also be a positive preventive step forward in avoiding a disruptive situation arising in the first instance. Simple measures are often the most effective, yet are often overlooked. Ensure you are allocating sufficient time to get to know your staff, not just knowing your clients. Staff, after all, are the organisations greatest asset, and getting this wrong can be very expensive. n


SUSIE ANDRADE is Managing Director of the Channel Islands Skills Academy


A clear structure


Horizon Investments take a modern approach when addressing clients’ requirements. With complete autonomy, a robust infrastructure and dedicated, knowledgeable staff, we are positioned to deliver consistent performance and first rate service irrespective of economic cycles, with a high level of continuity and confidence.


Tel: 01534 868200 Clarity.


www.horizon.je Horizon Investments is a trading name of Horizon Investments (Jersey) Limited which is regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission. Established in 2000


August/September 2011 businesslife.co 17


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