Conflict management

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. 


Consider mediation - some rules

Mediation is a structured process in which an external party, called a mediator, helps participants generate and evaluate options that would allow them to reach a mutual agreement. It is an informal and confidential process.


Disputes may be beneficial

Sam* has been working in his position for many years. During his annual interviews with his group leader Jerry*, he was always told that his job performance was satisfactory, and no criticism was raised. Sam really appreciated Jerry’s fairness and was happy to work with him.