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Workplace Mediation Issue Dismissive Coworkers

Friday, February, 24, 2012

One common cause of grief necessitating workplace mediation between coworkers is when one, especially one in authority, is routinely dismissive. Though perhaps not as severe as bullying and sexual harassment, this behavior can also contribute greatly to loss of morale, productivity, and cause strife between coworkers. However, the issue of being dismissive is not a straightforward matter.


Defining Dismissive Behavior In Mediation Services


In the business world, brevity is everything, as expressed in the saying, “time is money.” Not all questions can be fielded in lectures and presentations. Interruptions sometimes happen, and they may not be abusive in intent. A phone call that the boss' receptionist will not interrupt may be a significant client or funeral arrangements for a loved one.


On the other hand, if one or a group of people is blatantly ignored in the Q&A's, if there is an individual with whom no one can get a word in edgewise, or if the receptionist overtly will not address you until she finishes talking about the latest episode of “Jersey Shore,” then there is a serious communication problem.


Do Simple Misunderstandings Justify Employee Mediations?


Is this to say that one's belief that they are being ignored or passed over does not necessarily justify mediation? All cases of interpersonal problems among coworkers can justify mediation, whether they are simple misunderstandings, sexual harassment or bullying. Mediation is not like litigation—it's not just a matter of finding out who is right or wrong, punishing the perpetrator and vindicating the victim.


Workplace mediation takes into account that behaviors are often only “perceived” behaviors. The goal is not usually punishment and reward, but mutual agreement. A dismissive coworker may simply not realize that his behavior negatively affects others. Firing or fining them may be too severe (which also could negatively affect morale) when lesser measures can work.