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Listen to your staff - and avoid trouble

The Independent, 13th October 2005

A survey conducted last year by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) reveals that managing conflict at work costs the average employer of 2,000 staff nearly 450 days of management time every year. And this figure does not take into account the significant associated costs of mismanaged conflict, such as lost productivity, sickness absence and higher-than-expected turnover of employees.

What's often lacking in conflict resolution, says Dr Mike Drayton, the clinical and business psychologist, is the individual and team support. "When there's lots of conflict in a group, the forum for communication between team members is usually very inadequate or doesn't exist," he says. "Overwork, inflexible meetings and bullying frequently compound the problem, so people don't feel able to communicate freely." There is, he says, a need for a climate where opinions and beliefs can be aired. "People who are not allowed to voice their resentment will find other ways of showing it, perhaps by deliberately sabotaging the work or getting very stressed and going off sick," he says.


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