In accordance with the Code of Ethics of the International Ombudsman Association, one of the main values of the Ombuds is his impartiality. In interceding in a misunderstanding or a conflict the Ombuds keeps in mind the interests of both parties as well as the interests of the organization. The Ombuds does not take sides and does not favour one person over another. In resolving a conflict, he is required to contact all parties involved and to treat them equally.
Most of the people coming to the Ombuds sincerely believe that the conflict they are in is due to the other party. They do not see that they play a key role in creating the external circumstances which lead to such a conflict. Thus, paying attention early on to your emotions and your body language, as well as recording your thoughts (positive and negative), can be very interesting. In other words, observe yourself. A close, intuitive and clear understanding of who we are will help us to avoid projecting our own feelings onto others or feeling too soon as though we may be under attack.
Among the cases brought to the Ombuds, many of them have to do with difficulties between supervisees and supervisors. In fact, they form the majority of the cases. For both parties, the source of the conflict boils down to the relationship that people entertain with what can be called "the authority". The relationship with the authority is somewhat different within the various sectors of CERN, as are the relationships between personnel and supervisors.
Everyone can certainly agree that good communication is very important. Leaders should try to give feedback to their supervisees on their work and career so they can benefit from this information. Giving feedback provides personnel with an opportunity to understand what can they can improve or correct should there be some weaknesses in their technical or behavioural skills. It is also a chance to be congratulated for their efforts and dedication. Feedback should be given in a sincere and honest way, so that the person can accept the comments. The keys to giving feedback are:
In this special video edition I take a look at a social exclusion at CERN. Please note that the characters and situations appearing in this work are fictitious, and any resemblance to real persons or events is purely coincidental.
Taking ethical decisions can often be a dilemma - one that requires recognition and proper representation of multiple pieces of complex information, as well as an intuitive judgment about potential consequences. Pressure is particularly placed on organizational leaders, who are tasked with projects, partnerships and individuals. Constraining forces - be they personal, situational or environmental - can negatively influence any decision by decreasing ethical awareness, ethical sensitivity and ethical judgment.
Many conflicts between people could be avoided or resolved if both parties could understand the situation as if they were in the other’s shoes. Putting oneself into another’s position, either consciously or unconsciously, is called empathy. Empathy should not be confused with sympathy, which involves condolence or pity for the other; empathy is a neutral process, leading to the inner knowledge of another person. Individuals differ in their level of empathic ability.
Management is quite adequate and most important for projects, budgets, milestones, and scheduling, for instance. However, when we are talking about people, about how to communicate and interact with them, how to motivate them so they are enthusiastic and give their best, and how to drive them to be fully responsible and accountable for their mission, one would then prefer to use the term leadership than management. What is the difference?
In 2011, the Canadian HR Reporter published several articles by Sharone Bar-David on workplace incivility (I would encourage you to read them here). These articles can shed some light on an internal issue here at CERN: what happens when there are violations of the Code of Conduct that we may face every day? Such incivilities can fly under the organizational radar and are not up to the level of any administrative or disciplinary action foreseen in the CERN Staff Rules and Regulations.
Due to his technical expertise and a mastery in his domain of activity, Jim* was nominated supervisor of his Unit at CERN. In fact, he was considered perhaps the only person who could face, along with his team, the great challenges of a very complicated technical development, and succeed in overcoming all the difficulties.