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The reassertion of humanity in all that we do

The stories in our Sheridan Weekly show that the key to helping business leaders realise their full potential is to strengthen professional relationships and create high-performing workplaces. To do this, any focus on leadership development, team performance, executive coaching and mediation services has to focus on attempting to maintain and improve the fabric of workplace relationships.

This is increasingly difficult in the face of disruptive innovation. Business today relies increasingly on innovation as the bedrock of its success and many organisations are not prepared when faced with the disruptive innovation of others. As a result, more businesses are taking proactive steps not just to survive, but to thrive from disruption to their established methods and markets.

It’s so important to understand the threat and impact of disruptive innovation. Even in the face of seismic change, it’s still possible for leaders to flourish through their humanity.

Caroline Sheridan, Chair, Workplace and Employment CMC group and Founder of Sheridan Resolutions

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C³ – leadership for high level engagement – by Martin Wilson

(This post is from Martin Wilson, one of our top team of consultants here at Sheridan Resolutions)

Leadership matters. Our world is more complex than ever before, with access to more information than ever before. It’s a complexity and abundance of information that can paralyse and confuse. Organisations need leaders who are agile thinkers, who can rise above the details, synthesise and create clarity and purpose for others.

We also live and work in a far more interconnected world. A silo mentality leads to inefficiency and missed opportunities.

Organisations need leaders who are socially skilled, who can communicate and network effectively, and who can connect and build productive relationships across boundaries. In addition, whilst employee and customer expectations have risen, organisations need to deliver more with less. That requires leaders who can inspire and engage others.

Finally, we live and work in a world of greater ambiguity and pace. Anyone hoping for a period of stability will be disappointed. Organisations need leaders tolerant of ambiguity, open to new ways of doing things and with the self confidence, persistence and commitment to keep things moving in the right direction.

Given how much it matters, it’s not surprising that leadership has been conceptualised, studied and theorised so extensively. Surprising; no. Confusing; yes. Ask Google ‘what is leadership?’ and you’ll get about 613 million results in 0.49 seconds. Try Amazon for books on leadership and you’ll have over 50,000 to choose from. If you want to over-complicate leadership and you’re OK not getting out much, give Google and Amazon a go.

If, on the other hand, you want to quickly get on with inspiring high level engagement, it’s possible by focusing on these 3 leadership priorities:

1. Clarity – providing people with a shared sense of purpose and meaning

2. Connection – inspiring, exciting and aligning people

3. Commitment – creating the conditions for people to do more than they thought they could.

 

1. Clarity

Martin Luther King did not say ‘I have a strategic plan’! People are not lead by plans and analysis. Effective leaders provide people with a shared sense of purpose and meaning. They answer the question ‘what am I doing here?’ by creating a compelling picture of the future and a clear focus on the right things.

In charting new courses, they understand that the more precisely you can define what you want, the more likely you are to communicate it effectively and ultimately achieve it. In this way, effective leaders are able to make the complex simple and the challenging seem attainable.

 

2. Connection

Effective leaders understand where they’re going and how to get there, and their teams share this understanding. But more than engaging the ‘head’, effective leaders also encourage the ‘heart’. They act as a magnet as well as a compass. They attract alignment to shared values and goals by communicating with an infectious passion.

They know that people have to be won over emotionally as well as rationally and so they get out and proactively attract and align people to a cause. Showing people they matter is an essential element of leadership and effective leaders make each person feel special and confident. One of the secrets of effective leaders is their understanding of the very real connection between how people feel and how they perform. They pay attention to others, involving, listening and building the emotional engagement that inspires discretionary effort.

 

3. Commitment

Having engaged hearts and minds, effective leaders make things happen; they engage people’s feet as well! With a strong bias for action, effective leaders move others, modeling the personal commitment needed to bridge the gap between dream and delivery.

With a heartfelt commitment to the things that matter, they maintain confidence and momentum, keeping themselves and others going in the face of apparent paradox and ambiguity. They take accountability for creating the conditions for people to do great work rather than seeing themselves as victims of others’ indifference. With everyone in the team feeling they have a part to play, that they are valued and that each of their jobs is important, the leader can mobilise the team to do more than they ever thought they could.

 

 

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Mediation enters a new age

Our thanks to M&G Investments for their recent support for the CMC (Civil Mediation Council) for our “Bullying and Sexual Harassment: Can Mediation help?” conference as we built on the success of the CMC’s Workplace and Employment group’s “Save Time, Save Money, Save Stress” mediation conferences last year.

Much has been written recently about bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace and what can be done to address it and provide both deterrence and remedy. We see examples in the press of great harm done to both accuser and accused and their employer in cases where the actual rights and wrongs may be much more complicated and less clear-cut than the headlines suggest. Our event showed how often to use mediation as an integrated part of conflict resolution in the best interests of all parties even in these most sensitive and emotionally-charged cases.

The speakers with different perspectives on this high-profile area included Peter Cheese, CEO of the CIPD; Gareth Jones, M&G Investments; Sam Smethers, The Fawcett Society; Jane Farrell, EW Group; Henicka Uddin, Acas; Hannah Coulson, Calastone; and David Whincup of Squire Patton Boggs. Our thanks to them all for joining us on this journey to provide you with the arguments and strategies in favour of the adoption of mediation in your workplace even where popular opinion around bullying and harassment may suggest less flexibility, and with the confidence to anticipate and address any resistance you may encounter.

Our speakers shared their hands-on experience of applying mediation and similar dispute resolution schemes to bullying and harassment complaints both on a stand-alone basis and as part of formal internal processes. We also have forthcoming events planned in 2018 in Cardiff and Newcastle upon Tyne, so watch this space.

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Bullying & Harassment: Can Mediation Help?

Join us for a CMC Conference this week on 28th June – “Bullying and Sexual Harassment: Can mediation help?” – for an in-depth and interactive look at the resolution of these most potentially confrontational and high-profile allegations and hear about alternative options for addressing them swiftly and discreetly in the way least damaging to both the business and the people concerned.

We have highlighted the biography pages for many of the speakers at our conference in our newsletter, alongside an excellent lead article on the subject in HR magazine.

It’s easy to understand why this issue is now being taken seriously. Acas recently revealed that bullying and harassment in the workplace is costing employers up to £18bn per year. An impact on workplace morale and productivity has been felt by nearly 75% of workers. Harassment in the workplace has never had a higher priority than it does now, with many employers introducing measures expressly designed to encourage the reporting of potentially inappropriate behaviours. How will you handle such a complaint?

This conference is aimed at anyone with an interest in dealing with bullying and harassment in the workplace, including HR professionals, team leaders/managers, senior executives/directors, wellbeing officers, consultants, trade union and employee representatives and in-house legal departments.

Caroline Sheridan, Chair, Workplace and Employment CMC group and Founder of Sheridan Resolutions

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Bullying and sexual harrassment – can mediation help?

There’s nothing wrong with emotions – we should be encouraged to be how we feel within work, as well as outside. But what do you do when emotions boil over into something intolerable? How would you handle sensitive and serious complaints? We have another CMC conference on June 28th to help you explore the options when bullying and harassment becomes a concern.

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“Sorry” needn’t be the hardest word

The power of saying “sorry” is so often understated. An apology is clearly more familiar in some forms of mediation than others. In all circumstances, however, its importance lies in that it represents one of the core reparative opportunities in damaged relations. An apology is not an easy thing to do. While it presents an opportunity, clearly many have difficulty in seizing it – and third parties can have an important role to play here.

It’s so important to understand the role that emotions, including sorrow, play in the workplace. When employees turn to a mediator to help resolve their legal disputes, they bring not only evidence but also emotions with them. The emotion involved in bringing oneself to say “sorry” can be the salvation of workplace challenges.

There’s nothing wrong with emotions – we should be encouraged to be how we feel within work, as well as outside. But what do you do when emotions boil over into something intolerable. How would you handle sensitive and serious complaints? We have another CMC conference on June 28th to help you explore the options when bullying and harassment becomes a concern.

Caroline Sheridan, Chair, Workplace and Employment CMC group and Founder of Sheridan Resolutions

 

 

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Mediation: a cultural shift is underway

At the recent Civil Mediation Council (CMC) annual conference, we tried something very different. The conference was opened up to all fields of mediation in the UK, all mediators, interested organisations, as well as the government and the public.

Across all fields of mediation, a strong common theme emerged – that there is a big cultural shift taking place around the use of mediation. For so long, the culture of litigation has been deeply ingrained in work, as in society. Now, however, something has clearly changed. It was so heartening to hear stories across all walks of life – the NHS, as the UK’s largest employer, was one of several examples – where resolution of disputes through mediation is increasingly sanctioned as a first resort, an obvious first step and an instinctive reflex.

Of course, mediation still needs to be used selectively and appropriately in some cases …Acas recently revealed that bullying and harassment in the workplace is costing employers up to £18bn per year and impacts on workplace morale and productivity among nearly 75% of workers.  How would you handle sensitive complaints of this nature? We have another CMC conference on June 28th to help you explore the options when bullying and harassment becomes a concern.

Caroline Sheridan, Chair, Workplace and Employment CMC group and Founder of Sheridan Resolutions

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CMC Annual Conference – 23rd May

The Civil Mediation Council is doing something very different this year. Its annual conference on 23rd May has been opened up to all fields of mediation in the UK, all mediators, all members of mediation organisations, as well to the government and the public.

As part of this event the CMC Workplace Mediation Group will host an interactive panel discussion between high-profile experts, including Rachel Suff (CIPD), Jessica Sullivan (Care First), Suzy McCormick (Civil Service) and Anthony Feildon (Psychologist), looking at:-

* The current state of the workplace in terms of mental wellbeing.

* Why mediators need to understand workplace mental health issues.

* Work-related stress – key signs and triggers.

* A mediator’s role in managing mental health.

Please click here to find out more.

Caroline Sheridan, Chair, Workplace and Employment CMC group and Founder of Sheridan Resolutions

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How workplace conflict affects business reputation

How a business handles a workplace conflict makes a big difference to employees. There is an important lesson here – that even an adversarial situation can, when handled well, become a reputational opportunity.

It may not feel this way initially to those asked to find a way to mediate staff disputes – working to provide a solution that leaves everyone happy is difficult. They need to find creative ways to resolve employee conflicts that are beneficial not only to the workers involved but also to their organisation. Allowing both sides to be heard, remaining transparent in decisions and working to find solutions that make both parties happy can make it easier to handle other problems with confidence as they arise at your company. And it raises the sights and confidence of those not directly involved in a dispute. Mediation is not just about limiting damage – it is about strengthening workplace relationships.

 

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