Leading Self, Leading Others, Leading Organizations: Managing Workplace Conflict

By Rodney Jackson on Mar 29, 2021 4:48:54 PM

Here is the truth - wherever two or more are gathered, there will be conflict.

Workplace Conflict. It’s inevitable. In fact, research shows that on average 42% of a manager’s time is spent dealing with interpersonal conflict. If that manager is making $85,000 per year, your organization has lost $35,700 due to conflict, from that manager’s work alone. Conflict in the workplace can occur between two or more individuals, between departments, among leadership and even between your staff and between customers or vendors.

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Working in the Public Health Trenches: Eight Important Self-Care Strategies

By Tammy McCoy-Arballo, Psy.D. on Feb 21, 2021 7:30:00 PM

First, let me start by saying thank you. Public Health officials and employees have never worked harder and under more trying circumstances. I know - because I have a front-row seat to some of the challenges you have faced. I have watched my husband, a public health official in Southern California, and his team respond to the COVID-19 global pandemic since January 2020.

More than once, he was awoken by scared and angry voices lashing out at 2 a.m. on a Sunday, and other times he has faced protesters gathered outside his offices, making allegations of corruption or worse. All this while he and his team worked seven days a week for months on end, missing out on family functions and losing sleep.

This has been a challenge like no other for leaders in the public health field – and as such, please know it is completely normal for you and your staff to feel betrayed, baffled, frustrated, angry, hopeless, helpless, and simply sick and tired of all this. While it might be tempting to do so, try not to question what these emotional reactions say about your character or your commitment to your career. These reactions are entirely appropriate and to be expected given what is happening and given what is demanded of each one of you, and your employees, every single day.

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Normal Reactions to an Abnormal Situation: Managing Life at Home and Work During Covid-19

By Suzanne Hoffman, Ph.D. on Dec 11, 2020 11:56:32 AM

After months of working from home during the Coronavirus pandemic, it might be a good time to pause and assess -- where are we? Not only with our physical and emotional well-being, but also, for many, with the transition to working primarily from our homes. We are all concerned about meeting the demands of our jobs and balancing the needs of our families, while grappling with creating and maintaining the habits that will help us achieve both of these things.

Many of us struggle with the feeling we are not managing our jobs and our family relationships and responsibilities as well as we used to, and that even the simplest tasks can feel exhausting. It can be helpful to give context to what we all are experiencing in terms of “threat response” - which is our own biological wiring that helps protect us during a perceived crisis or threat.

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Leading Remote Team Meetings Effectively: The CURE Method

By Ed Sherman, Psy.D. on Nov 15, 2020 4:00:00 PM

The Coronavirus has changed many things about the ways we do our jobs and has created the need for many of us to work from home. In fact, many leaders and employees may be exploring the world of remote work for the first time – and even if they have worked remotely in the past, they may not have done so with as much intensity as the current situation has required.

As leaders, we can feel challenged to balance the need for productivity with maintaining emotional support for our staff, recognizing the challenges and stressors that they are likely facing on a daily basis.

Following is a four-point strategy that we have found useful and may help bring about positive outcomes for leaders and staff alike.

Topics: Leadership
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Working Safely with High Risk Populations- Part 3

By Suzanne Hoffman, Ph.D. on Nov 26, 2019 10:17:30 AM

We are back with the third post in our blog series: De-Escalation, Active Listening, Personal Safety and Working Safely in High Risk Environments and with High Risk Populations: A Conversation with Wayne Spees, WGI Executive Consultant. In this final portion of the interview, we talk with Wayne about working with so-called “high risk” populations and the special safety concerns that this may entail.

Blog #3 of 3: Working with High Risk Populations

1. In your experience, what are “high risk populations?”

High risk populations are any group of people or location where acts of violence are not uncommon. If I told you there was a fist fight in a bar for example, you may not find that surprising. The same fist fight occurring in a Sunday church service though would be highly unusual. You could then say a bar is a higher risk environment and its patrons were a higher risk population for violence. Of course, there are many other contributing factors as to

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Working Safely with High Risk Populations - Part 2

By Suzanne Hoffman, Ph.D. on Sep 17, 2019 2:28:06 PM

A Conversation with Wayne Spees, WGI Executive Consultant

We are continuing with Part 2 of our blog series, Working with High Risk Populations: A Conversation with Wayne Spees, WGI Executive Consultant. To recap, this series was influenced by employers who need training for their employees who work with potentially angry, aggressive and difficult individuals within the scope of their jobs. In this portion of the interview, Wayne gives his insight and expertise about how to prepare for a potentially violent incident, such as an active shooter event, and what type of training he recommends for the workplace.

Blog #2 of 3: Active Shooter Events and Personal Safety

  1. While still statistically rare, active shooter events have been on the rise, and are now a cause for concern among many people. What thoughts do you have about being prepared for any type of violent event that may occur in public, at work or in a school environment?

For the average person, being involved in a violent event would be terrifying. Most people would rather not think about it. As a result, when something like this happens, people tend to go into denial. 

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Working Safely with High Risk Populations

By Suzanne Hoffman, Ph.D. on Jun 11, 2019 8:49:07 AM

A Conversation with Wayne Spees, WGI Executive Consultant

At WGI, we have noticed a spike in the number of requests for training for active listening skills, de-escalation techniques, active shooter response and specialized safety skills training for those working with “high risk” populations. It’s apparent that many employers are recognizing the importance of providing training for their employees who work with angry, aggressive and difficult individuals that they may encounter within the scope of their jobs, with an eye on safety and potentially decreasing the likelihood of an emotionally charged interaction escalating to violence. 

Topics: De-escalation
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Why Culture Counts

By Suzanne Hoffman, Ph.D. on Oct 26, 2018 2:33:09 PM

The Importance of Leadership in Preventing Workplace Violence

Workplace violence (WPV) prevention is a challenging and anxiety raising issue for most organizations. Leaders react to this problem in different ways. Leaders:

  • DENY: “It will never happen in our workplace.”
  • GAMBLE: “I can’t justify the expense for something that may not happen
  • TAKE ACTION: This leader tackles the problem head on and acts proactively to create a work environment where grievances and other behavioral issue are not allowed to fester into violence.

Which leader are you? Have you created a culture which emphasizes the importance of a safe, effective and productive work environment?

In our experience, leadership is critically important in creating a culture where prevention efforts thrive and are lasting.

Leadership in this case refers to the ability of an organization’s key leaders to create, model and maintain a safe work environment, while culture represents the personality and character of the work environment – the sum of its values, traditions, behaviors and attitudes. With regard to workplace violence prevention, a safe workplace culture is one that prioritizes and communicates the importance of establishing a threat and violence free setting in which employees can effectively do their jobs. And should threats or violence occur, one that ensures that the organizational response is both prepared and immediately able to assess and mitigate any potentially dangerous situation.

Topics: WPV
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“It’s never fireworks…”

By Wayne R. Spees on Jul 24, 2018 4:41:37 PM

“Pop, Pop, Pop”

Over the course of my law enforcement career I have interviewed hundreds of witnesses and victims of shootings. More often than not, I heard the phrase, “At first, I thought it was fireworks.” Why do you suppose people who are hearing gunfire assume it is fireworks? Well, when we are at work or some other place we presume to be safe, we often interpret our experience via what we want to hear – and what makes the most sense in terms of our context and life experiences. For many people, those experiences don’t regularly include the sound of gunfire. So when we hear a “pop, pop, pop” (or something similar), we default to the assumption that those sounds are fireworks. Fireworks means “no one is shooting”. Fireworks means “I’m not in danger”. Fireworks means “everything will be ok.”

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Why Don't Employees Report Problematic Behaviors in the Workplace?

By Wayne Maxey, CPP, CTM on Jul 23, 2018 7:21:21 AM

In our job as Threat Assessment experts, we frequently go into workplaces where an employee’s behavior has come to the attention of HR or management for being inappropriate, bullying, or downright threatening. And, as a part of the Threat Assessment process, we always inquire about the history of the present concern, and speak with individuals who have been identified as possible witnesses to the behaviors in question. Almost without fail, we also find that the behaviors that are now being investigated have gone on longer than was originally thought, and were witnessed or experienced by individuals, sometimes repeatedly, who never came forward to report the behavior. We’ve even seen this happen in work environments where prevention training has occurred, and policy and reporting expectations for potential workplace violence are made clear to employees. So what gives? 

Topics: WPV
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