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Section 2

Interpersonal Conflict​

Unresolved conflict can lead to harassment.

Interpersonal Conflict is caused by:

  •   Relationship Conflict​  
  •   Data Conflict
  •   Interest Conflict
  •   Value Conflict
  •   Structural Conflict

Relationship Conflict​        

Some examples are:​​

  •   Personality clashes
  •   Poor interpersonal communication skills
  •   Strong emotions which can lead to:
  • assumptions
  • poor listening
  • defensiveness



Data Conflict

Can be caused by:

  •   Lack of information or misinformation.
  •   Different views on what’s important.
  •   Different interpretations of information.


Interest Conflict

Can exist when employees have:

  •   Different or competing goals 
  •   Personal agendas (not a team player)


Value Conflict

Examples of value conflicts include:

  •   Different ways of seeing the world.
  •   Different background & personal experiences which creates different points of view.
  •   Different cultures, practices, traditions or beliefs. 


Structural Conflicts

  • Employees may not be happy with their supervisor, manager or their position in the workplace.  
  • This may lead to employees:
  •   Ignoring established policies/procedures.
  •   Power struggles.



Dealing with Violence & Harassment

Diffuse a Threatening Situation

  • Non-violent de-escalation techniques may help to diffuse a threatening situation.
  •   Be aware of “profiling” or “stereo-typing” someone, they may just be having a bad day.  
  •   If you are concerned about an individual you should TAKE ACTION.  
  •   Obtain assistance from your manager,  supervisor, human resources, etc.

Tips for VERBAL Communication:

Dealing with Anger

  •   Treat people with dignity & respect.
  •   Do not be defensive; avoid a battle.
  •   Do not talk over someone when they’re   yelling – wait – give them a chance to blow off steam.
  • Instinct is to meet rage with rage, try to control your own emotional response.
  • How you react could determine whether a situation is inflamed.
  •   Offer caring comments in a firm 
  • Stay centered & calm.
  • Don’t threaten to call Police or report them.  Even though that may be what you are planning to do.
  • Allow time, listen & acknowledge the   anger, let them know you see something   is wrong.  
  •   Be personable, make them believe you   are interested in what they have to say.
  •   don’t underplay the situation 
  •   don’t joke.
  •   insist you will do what you can to    rectify the situation.
  •   Watch your body language.


Tips for NON-VERBAL Communication 

Body Language​​

  •   Posture & poise is very important.  Stand firm & tall.
  •   DO NOT  touch or point at the person. 
  • Do not cross your arms or put hands on ​your hips.  Do not act confrontational.
  • Make eye contact, but don’t stare them   down.
  • Know when to terminate the meeting if   possible.
  • Plan your exit, try to position yourself so   you are not blocked – Never turn your back.
  • Do NOT fight.  Leave the area.  
  •  Get assistance.


Dealing with​ Bullying​ &​ Harassment

 What to do about Bullying

  •   If you think you are being bullied, talk to  someone you trust, your supervisor,  manager, human resources.
  •   Document what is happening to you, what  happened & how you felt. 


  •   If more than one person is being bullied,  make a collective complaint. This will be  more difficult to dismiss as untrue.
  •   If you are going to confront the bully, 
  • focus on the unacceptable behaviour, not on attacking the person.  
  • explain situations where the behaviour occurs & the impact on others.
  • If someone tells you about being bullied,  take their complaint seriously.
  • From the playground to the workplace,  bullying happens,…because it is allowed.
  • Courage on the part of those who can take action is vital!  


Dealing with HARASSMENT

Speak Up 

  •   If you are being harassed, the 1st step is to ask the person to stop.  
  •   Let them know that you are embarrassed,  humiliated, demeaned or otherwise  bothered by what they are doing or saying.
  •   A person may not be aware that their behaviour is bothering you & will change the behaviour once they realize this.


Make Notes 

  •   You could speak to the person directly, or  put it in writing.  Date it & keep a copy.  
  •   Make note of
  •  what the behaviour was, 
  •  the date it happened, 
  •  how you felt, what you did about it, 
  •  names of any witnesses.  
  •   If the harassment does not stop, continue  to make notes.


Speak to a Supervisor 

  •   If you feel that you are unable to deal with the individual directly, or you are  uncomfortable doing so,…speak to your  supervisor, manager, human resources, etc. 


Intent doesn’t matter – only the impact matters!


Everyone plays a role in perpetuating & stopping harassment & bullying !

There are no innocent bystanders

  •   “Innocent” bystanders are active & passive participants
  •   Doing nothing is doing something!
  •   Take action!​      













Dealing with​  Phone Calls


How would you handle a phone call where the person is yelling & using abusive language?


Abusive or Threatening Telephone Calls

  •   Interrupt the conversation firmly, but  politely.
  •   Advice them you will end the call if they  do not stop using abusive language.
  •   Report the incident to your manager or  supervisor.
  •   If the caller calls back, interrupt the  conversation firmly, but politely. 
  •   Remind the caller that you will not accept  abusive treatment or language.
  •   If the abuse or threats continue, put the caller on hold & contact your supervisor.

If you do not know the caller;

Where possible be sure to note:

  •  exact wording of the abuse or threat
  •  accent, or distinctive voice characteristics
  •  caller’s knowledge of you/your organization
  •  any background noises you can identify

Responding to a​ Physical Attack


Responding to a Physical Attack:

  •   Make a scene, yell as loud as possible.
  •   If you are being pulled along, fall to the  ground & roll.
  •   If someone grabs your briefcase, purse,  phone, deposit bag, etc. DO NOT resist.  

  Throw the item to the ground away from the thief & run in the opposite direction, calling for help.

  •   Do not chase after the person.
  •   Immediately Notify; 
  • police 
  • your supervisor

Responding to a Robbery


  • Be observant !
  •    Note the robber’s height, weight, build, hair colour, etc.

Can you describe the robbery suspect shown on the previous slide?

  •   Remain calm – handle the situation as if you were making a sale to a customer.  Keep the transaction short & smooth.
  •   Listen carefully to what the robber says & obey him or her.  Ask for clarification, if needed.
  •   Speak only in response, do not volunteer information.
  •   If you must reach for something or move, ask the robber for permission to do so.
  •   Tell the robber if there is another employee around…so they are not startled.
  •   Immediately after the robber leaves, lock the door – call police & your supervisor.

Quiz #2

1. Relationship conflict in the workplace can be caused by personality clashes or poor communication skills.


2. If confronting a bully you should focus on them not on their behaviour.


3. If you feel you are being bullied or harassed it is important to document any incidents.


4. If someone says or does something you find offensive, demeaning or embarrassing you should keep quiet & not say anything.


5. It’s not harassment if someone is just “joking” around & doesn’t intend to be rude.


6. Harassing or bullying behaviour can be discussed with your supervisor.


7. If you are physically attacked you should make a scene, yell as loud as possible.


8. If someone is being rude or abusive on the phone, you should just hang up and hope they don’t call back.


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