Supporting Adults in Conflict Situations

Recently I have been called on to provide a little advice in a case where the Disciplinary Process was invoked without any apparent attempt to first try for a resolution using the Grievance and Disputes Process. In the past few days, I posted an article outlining the areas of question which arose. Read it here…

Other articles on this subject area also appear at under the “HR” Category.

Duty to Act Fairly

In order to ensure fair procedures during the processing of complaints, we are obliged to presume a person is innocent until they are proven guilty. The Grievance and Disputes Process may involve a Formal Complaint and subsequent investigation, I believe that our duty to act fairly requires us to provide support to those affected by this process. I believe that we must also support those who may be facing into the Disciplinary Process, in fact it seems to me that the need for support is even more acute whenever the Disciplinary Process is invoked without first having followed the Grievance & Disputes Process.

How are we to provide Support?

It seems to me that we should be able to provide each person who is subject of a complaint with the opportunity to engage with a person who can listen to their concerns and help them to work through their anxieties.

The following skills would be beneficial:

  • Ability for Active Listening
  • Questioning & Clarifying skills
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Summarising skills
  • Empathy

Knowledge of the Disputes and Disciplinary procedures (or the ability to absorb this quickly) would be required, and Conflict Resolution Skills would also help.

People who are trained as Mediators or Arbitrators would be suitable for the role.

In the past, the National Adult Resources Committee (NARC) organised Mediator training for a number of staff and volunteers, and there used to be a network of people across the country who could be called upon by the Provincial Teams to provide support when it was needed. It seems like it would be beneficial to reactivate this network to ensure support is available to anyone who needs and requires it.

It is some years since the NARC organised this training and so another training course may be needed now to ensure an adequate number of people are available to provide this important support function.

Reach Out…

If you are affected by the subject matter then you should seek help through your Group Leader, County Commissioner or Provincial Commissioner.

If you would like clarification of any aspect feel free to drop us a line at


The following links may be useful to anyone affected by the subject matter of this article:

What Is Active Listening (+9 Skills to Become a Better Listener)

Conflict Resolution Skills –

5 Conflict Management Skills For Every Manager

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