COVID-19:  CONFLICT MANAGEMENT

COVID-19: CONFLICT MANAGEMENT

If COVID has taught us anything over the past several months, it is that human nature can be highly unpredictable; and that behaviours in ourselves and others may not be consistently conforming to required rule conventions. Noncompliance is a ‘some more than others’ and ‘some more often than others’ actuality which must be managed; 100% compliance is unrealistic, to err is human.

COVID generated mental health challenges are a daily occurrence for all of us, and the impact is cumulative. Even the most patient, tolerant, and resilient of us will be impacted by increased stressors, provocations, and frustrations, caused by restrictions, loss of normal freedoms and ceded control of choices. Stressors, provocations, and frustrations are overarching terms which cover a multitude of underlying specifics, which hit everyone from the c-suite to the shop floor, from owners, employees, to customers or clients in all sectors but predominately in customer service industries.

Just a snapshot of those specifics include supply chain fractures, product delivery delays, customer service call waiting time extensions, phishing attempts, and call scams, increased violent crime, inability to adjust and accept, flat refusal and conspiracy theorists.

Potential flash points are where there is normally congregation; access controls; temperature controls, masking protocols, screens at points of sale, transit, any point of closing or interaction where a person in one bubble moves inside the 2 metre physical distance range of a person in another bubble.

We all have a predominant conflict management style, largely ingrained in us during childhood, which function automatically as we default to what comes naturally. It takes awareness, patience, and control to adapt our style to secure the most positive outcome, thereby avoiding conflict in a whole range of situations. Are you a compromiser, problem solver, accommodator, avoider, or competer? Would you be able to recognize the best style, or combination of styles, and more importantly be able to employ it in any given conflict situation?

Many of us will not possess the ability to fully self regulate in the moment and will need support. It is in this area that we must focus proactively on risk reduction because this is where the threat of workplace violence lies. Employees as well as customers are showing signs of pandemic fatigue and facing mental health challenges, with no legal backing and little training on how to mitigate or de-escalate difficult situations they are now faced with.

You will need to be ready for scenarios that relate to your own workplace and plan to either eliminate, minimize, transfer, mitigate, spread, or accept risks accordingly.

Contact us on 604.383.0020 or toll free at 1.800.212.2026 to discuss how we can support your business.

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