Conflict management

Need to step in to defuse a conflict?

Conflicts need to be caught in their very early stages and can sometimes flare up so quickly that planning mediation by the Ombud is not the most effective way to address them.


The cost of conflicts

Conflict is part of workplace life. It is unavoidable and inescapable because we all have different expectations and needs. There are numerous well known causes of conflict.


The two faces of Janus

When I took on the role of CERN Ombud, I was not prepared to encounter what I now call the “Janus” effect. Let me give you two examples ...


Seven ways to protect your team from conflicts

Conflicts within a team have repercussions not only for its members’ well-being, but also for the achievement of work objectives, resulting in loss of efficiency, lack of collaboration, absenteeism, damage to the team’s reputation, etc.


The “I need” behind the “I want”

Very often in the Ombud’s Office, I hear the word “want” rather than “need”. “I want an apology from her”, “I want the guy to be fired”, “I want to be taken off this project NOW”, or even “I want you to resolve this issue for me”.


The power of mediation

In a previous article, I underlined how conflicts may actually have a constructive impact when addressed in a timely and effective fashion.


Digging deeper to find the real reasons behind a conflict

Jane* is a discreet administrative assistant who has worked for the same group leader for more than ten years. She has an administrative secretarial background, knows all the ins and outs of CERN administration very well, and has built up a strong network within the Organization. 


Personal conflicts: opportunities for progress

In prehistoric times, there were only two ways to resolve a conflict: fight or flight. And there was always a winner and a loser. Then, one day, someone discovered a revolutionary new approach: negotiation, or aiming to find a solution that satisfies the interests of both parties.