Interpersonal conflict, violence or harassment at work: how to prevent and manage such situations?

Career Management

Unfortunately all too often organizations face situations of interpersonal conflict, violence or harassment at work. According to recent statistics from the CSST, the evolution of physical and psychological injuries attributable to violence in the workplace is increasing. Although some environments are more conducive to this problem, this phenomenon can affect all work environments. MOVA training remains the best approach to ensure a healthy work environment that is conducive to maintaining harmonious relationships.

According to the Act respecting labor standards, five conditions must be met in order to conclude to the presence of psychological harassment: vexatious conduct, hostile or unwanted words, gestures or behavior, the repetitive nature of the actions, the violation of the dignity or integrity of the person, finally, a workplace that has become harmful for an employee. Violence and harassment can take many forms: false rumors and allegations, vulgarity, insults, bad shots, vandalism, jostling, theft, physical or psychological aggression, excessive unwarranted anger, etc. Bullying, discrimination, abuse of power are more subtle forms of emotional abuse that are often difficult to recognize.

Fortunately, measures to prevent and effectively manage situations of violence and harassment can be taken. According to conflict management training, the commitment of management and employees is an essential condition for the success of the fight against workplace aggression. “The first step in this commitment is to establish a workplace prevention program to recognize risk situations, prevent their deterioration and, if necessary, manage the response following the incident. Such a program will rely on a written policy outlining unacceptable workplace behaviors. ”

Mr. Courcy is also a psychologist and a certified human resources consultant. For more than 15 years, he has continued his research on the role of organizations in promoting the psychological health of their members as well as on violence and harassment at work.

Among the recommendations made by Mr. Courcy, we find the importance of being attentive to the precursors of a conflict situation. “It may be incompatibility of personalities, working methods, values, etc. There are many signs of a climate conducive to the outbreak of conflict, “he says.

But despite prevention efforts, what to do when a situation of violence and harassment arises within your organization? Mr. Courcy stresses the importance for the manager of knowing how to accurately analyze a conflict situation before intervening. Is it interpersonal, intra-group, intergroup conflict?

“And once in a situation of conflict management, the challenge is to know how to assert oneself so as not to accentuate the problem. There are skills that can be developed to defuse conflict or succeed. During the training I give at the University Center for Continuing Education, I emphasize the different communication techniques and scenarios so that participants develop their skills to work with difficult personalities or aggressive personalities, both for the manager and the teammate. ”

Mr. Courcy concludes that actions must not be confined to the resolution of the conflict. “Once the conflict situation is under control, we have to make sure that the working climate is restored. You have to learn how to rebuild the bridges. As a manager, we can offer support and support to those concerned, and as a teammate, we must resume a constructive dialogue with each other to restore an effective working relationship. ”

To generalize the situation, to tell the employees to settle the situation between them, to take into account only one version of the facts or to wait too much before taking action are very frequent errors which unfortunately have serious consequences. Managers and teammates must recognize the importance of preventing escalation or escalation of workplace aggression and take reasonable steps to deal with it.

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