Conflict: It happens. In many forms. How can we manage it? From microaggressions and micromanagement, to bullying, harassment, and whistleblowing, this section contains resources and insight on how to approach these sensitive issues.
The first step, as an organization or individual employee, is to empower open communication amongst managers and peers. Establish progress reports and meetings on projects in order to deter micromanagers. Create strict policies with real repercussions on bullying and harassment – and stick to them. Hold your organization accountable for it’s policies and speak out (firmly, politely, and to the right people) when something seems amiss.
Find someone of influence in your organization that you can go to for help. This person is your advocate. They should be able to support and encourage you, as well as have your back in difficult situations. Can’t find someone in your organization? Find someone on the outside that has ties and clout within your organization. Then, be open and willing to serve as an advocate for others.
SKIM IT: The Dos and Don’ts of Conflict Resolution:
- DO be an advocate for someone, and find one for yourself.
- DO follow the “Golden Rule.” It may seem cheesy, but it’s humanity in a nutshell.
- DO address bullying, gossip, and harassment in your organization’s workplace policies.
- DON’T forget to write things down! Save emails, and make notes about conversations (and date them). It never hurts to have a brief log of what happened each day in case you need it down the line.
- DON’T be a jerk! (Really, just don’t.)
Bullying, Harassment, & Microaggressions
- Legal: Employee Discrimination & Harassment by Christopher Jozwiak & Cassie Navarro of Baillon Thome Jozwiak & Wanta LLP and Penelope Phillips.
- Conflict Definitions by Andi Cheney for PAHRTS: Covers healthy conflict, bullying, harassment, microaggressions, and retaliation.
- Conflict Scenario: Within a Power Differential created by Leah Cooper, Ashley Hanson, and Pogi Sumangil for PAHRTS: An administrator struggles with an inappropriate and inconsistent boss.
- Conflict Scenario: Peer to Peer created by Leah Cooper, Ashley Hanson, and Pogi Sumangil for PAHRTS: An actor struggles with another cast member who keeps giving unsolicited line notes.
- Conflict Management Self-Assessment created for PAHRTS: An individual assessment that can help you and your organization better understand your intentional (and unintentional) conflict resolution practices.
- Bullying in the Arts: Vocation, Exploitation and Abuse of Power by Anne-Marie Quigg from OvercomeBullying.org. A review of a book based on Quigg’s 10 year study of arts organizations in the United Kingdom. The book itself is available for purchase from Barnes & Noble or your local library.
- The Lilly Awards Statement on Harassment by the Lilly Awards Foundation.
- Gossip Free Zones by Holly Elissa Bruno: On quashing and preventing gossip in the workplace.
- Sample Sexual Harassment Policy by Andi Cheney for PAHRTS. Great for your employee handbook.
- Women In Comedy: A nonprofit created to address sexual harassment and gender inequity in Chicago’s comedy industry that has spread to many other metropolitan areas.
- Code of Conduct by Not In Our House: A website created to address sexual harassment, discrimination, intimidation, and bullying in Chicago’s theatre community, featuring a draft Code of Conduct.
- Micromanagement Handout by Leah Cooper for PAHRTS: Handout with exercises and questions for discussion on micromanagement from the perspective of the manager and the managed. Includes summaries of:
- Ten Signs of Micromanagement by Martin Webster, from Leadership Thoughts: Includes strategies for dealing with micromanagers.
- Stop Being Micromanaged: by Amy Gallo, Harvard Business Review: Includes practical tactics for the micromanag-ed to address and/or cope with the behavior.
- Signs that You’re a Micromanager: by Muriel Maignan Wilkins, Harvard Business Review: If you’ve been accused of micromanaging, or if you’ve noticed that you don’t trust your team, or if you have a deep-rooted fear of failure, you might be micromanaging. This article includes not just the signs, but some practical advice for how you can knock it off.
- How to Stop Micromanaging your Team: by Rebecca Knight, Harvard Business Review. Tips for the micromanager to change your own behavior.
Whistleblowing & Retaliation
- General Information about whistleblowing and retaliation at www.workplacefairness.org.
- Worker Protection Program for whistleblowers by the federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration .
- Sample Whistleblower Policy by HUGE Improv Theater. A great local example of how to be compliant with whistleblower laws and also publicly accountable.
- Wanted: Whistleblowers in the Arts by Rebecca Atkinson-Lord: A call for more accountability in “an industry built on trust.”