The accidental mediator

Natasha and Luke have never got along well. Now Natasha has complained to her manager, Tina.

Tina suggests setting up a meeting between Natasha and Luke. During this meeting, Tina will be taking on a mediation role. There are five steps we’d advise her to take. You can use the same strategies to resolve minor conflict in your workplace.

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Problem solving case study

Lissa had a problem. She wanted to buy a house. But she didn’t want to sacrifice her lifestyle to the mortgage repayments.

Here’s the steps we’d take Lissa through to sort out her situation. You can use the same steps to solve problems in your life.

Work out the real scope of the problem

Critically evaluate the extent of the problem. Then describe the problem in one sentence. This helps you narrow down the issue you are working on. In Lissa’s case, the problem was summarised in the words “I want to buy a house but I don’t think I can afford the mortgage.”

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Staying safe during change

Simon’s team was falling apart. Melissa and Terrence weren’t speaking to each other. Arguments between Dee and Sandi were a daily event. Now Brett was threatening to resign if Simon didn’t sort the team out.

Simon attended a workshop on Building High Performance Teams. There he learned the importance of setting norms for team communication. Back at work, he used five steps to do this. You can use the same steps to create communication ground rules in your team.

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Handling team saboteurs

Scott’s attitude was a problem for the whole team. He was never happy with anything. He sabotaged team meetings with sarcastic remarks and dismissive body language.

Now Scott was playing with his phone, rather than participating in a brainstorming session led by Chris. Here’s how we’d help Chris deal with Scott’s behaviour. You can use the same strategies to respond to passive aggressive people in your workplace.

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Great service – more than a smile

Dan taught his staff to smile at customers. But still his customers were complaining about bad service.

Dan asked Think Learn Succeed to help out. We watched his team in action. Their real problem was a lack of systems. Without proper standards and procedures, service was inconsistent. Service personnel were struggling with inefficient systems and excessive workloads. No-one had time to stand back and address the source of customer problems.

Here are the steps we used to solve Dan’s problem. You can use the same strategies to establish a robust service strategy in your business.

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Sorting out team conflict

Kym had made an informal complaint about Antony ‘bullying’ her. Now Michael, their supervisor, had to sort out the situation. Michael had done the right thing by taking Kym’s complaint seriously. But he wasn’t quite sure what to do next. He called me for advice. Here’s what I explained about taking on a mediation role when you’re a manager.

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Managing Irrational People

Stella’s performance just wasn’t up to scratch. Kath, her supervisor, was keen to help Stella improve. But whenever Kath gave Stella feedback, the conversation got out of control.

Stella seemed unable to accept any form of feedback without becoming defensive. No matter how Kath worded her message, it triggered tirades and tears. Feeling at a loss about what to do next, Kath came to my course on Dealing with Difficult People.

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Break the rude email cycle

Terence was furious. He’d just received another abrupt, demanding email from his colleague, Tamara. He was fed up with her tone.

Terence came to me for advice on how to handle Tamara. Over three coaching sessions, he learned how to manage her behaviour professionally and assertively. Here are the steps Terence used to request that Tamara change her ways. You can use the same steps to handle colleagues who send rude emails.

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How to empathise with angry customers

Stephen was a customer support officer in a large software company. Years of listening to customer complaints had taken their toll. He was losing patience with his customers.

After a heated conversation with a customer led to a complaint, Stephen’s supervisor enrolled him in my course Handling Difficult Customers. In the first half of the course, we discussed the importance of showing empathy when customers experience problems. Stephen asked “Why should I show empathy when the customer is swearing at me?”

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How to say no

Meredith was a Human Resources consultant. She was passionate about supporting her clients. But this meant that she often said ‘yes’ to work she had little time to do. She was working long and starting to feel burnt out.

Meredith was taking on some projects to keep her clients happy, even though those projects fell outside her core area of expertise. This meant she was working excessive hours in order to master them. It was time Meredith started saying ‘no’ to these projects. She came to one of my communication skills training sessions. Here are some of the ideas Meredith picked up. You can use the same principles to say no to time-wasting tasks in your job, too.

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