01 Aug Masters of managing conflict within the workplace
With over 30 years’ experience of solving conflicts within organisations – be it in top level management, amongst staff or throughout the whole hierarchy – Oslo-based consulting company Con Motoh specialises in tailoring solutions for companies experiencing issues within the workplace.
Con Motoh, which originates from the musical expression relating to life and movement, is headed by CEO Erle Bryn, who is a specialist in the elds of conflict resolution, team observation, process management and leadership and team development.
Three reasons for conflict
Erle explains that there are three key reasons why conflict within organisations appears. “Firstly, issues can arise as a re- sult of there being changes or decisions that perhaps should have been made, but haven’t yet,” explains Bryn. “Many people make decisions based on the past, rather than the future. Secondly, it could be that people within the organisation have more responsibility than formal authority, which means that they are dealing with a lot of work, but when it comes to making decisions they’re powerless – and this of- ten creates frustration.”
Lastly, Bryn explains that the areas of responsibility between co-workers are often blurred, which can lead to uncer- tainty. “Then there are the areas that no one has responsibility for, including making coffee and loading the printer,” says Bryn.
Con Motoh works from within the organ- isation, but believes that there has to be a neutral outsider who comes in to help solve problems, as this cannot be done by an employee of the organisation in question. “We start by requesting to join their meetings to observe how the im- plicated parties are communicating – in terms of both the spoken and the unspo- ken – and watch their body language,” says Bryn. “Neutrality is crucial to this process, which is why we go in and out of the organisation to make sure that we don’t start to sympathise with one or the other.”
Bryn confides that there are a great deal of emotions in organisations that are ex- periencing conflict. “When conflict real- ly goes too far, some get angry, nervous or insecure; others get signed off sick. Sometimes, these major conflicts reach the outside world, including the press. Then there’s a long way back, as the very core of the organisation gets damaged,” she says.
Not all conflicts can be resolved, explains Bryn, but the initial stages of the diagnos- tic work will reveal whether they can be. “That’s when we see if there’s a will to nd a solution, which is critical,” she adds.
By Line Elise Svanevik | Photos: Erle Bryn