CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick — The Canadian Forces (CF) acknowledges that conflict exists and can negatively affect both its personnel and mandate. Consequently, the CF has initiated a conflict management program to help military and civilian employees resolve conflict in the workplace.
Workplace conflicts are quite common and often occur when people or groups interact and cannot agree on a situation or topic. But when a simple disagreement between co-workers goes unresolved, the problem can escalate into avoidance, an inability to work together, verbal abuse and resentment. In the worst cases, conflicts may lead to outright hostility or completely disrupt the workplace, affecting everyone.
Practical help available
Major Wilson King is the coordinator at the Dispute Resolution Centre (DRC) at CFB Gagetown, one of sixteen centres the military has across the country. He ensures that resources are available to help personnel resolve any workplace conflicts they are experiencing.
“It’s very important that personnel on this base—both military and civilian—know of the types of services we provide here at the Dispute Resolution Centre and use the services, as appropriate,” said Major King.
The DRC offers courses such as Resolving Conflict Effectively and Conflict Management for Leaders, and can assist personnel with coaching and mediation services. Maj King explains that these services allow anyone who has a conflict to talk to a practitioner and obtain advice on the best approach for dealing with it.
“We provide more formal facilitation/mediation services where people can come over here and get involved with the resolution of conflict using an interest-based approach with one of our two trained mediators.”
Better conflict resolution
Master Warrant Officer Malcolm Angus recently took over the role of DRC Promotions Coordinator, a position he readily accepted to promote the services the centre provides.
“One of the reasons that I asked to be posted here was I’ve worked in many places where there’s been a lot of conflict,” he said. “I knew that there had to be a better way to resolve conflict within the workplace other than grievances and harassment complaints.”
The goal of the DRC is a work environment in which conflict is managed through respectful dialogue, cooperation and mutual understanding, and disputes are prevented from escalating, wherever possible.
For more information on the services offered through the DRC, phone 1-888-589-1750 or visit the Alternative Dispute Resolution website at: http://hr.ottawa-hull.mil.ca/adr-marc/ (avialable on DWAN only).
Article and photos by Sgt Katherine Greer-Hulme