In my early years as a practising psychologist, I spent many hours sitting one on one with people in deep emotional pain, unwell with their anger, distress, and often long held beliefs of unjust and unfair treatment at work. Although supportive and certainly therapeutically helpful, these interventions were often lengthy and limited by the very narratives being retold. Progress was typically very slow.
Relationship conflict of one sort, or another, typically sat at the heart of these scenarios. It was in one of my very first workplace mediations that I saw the very same people, that had been so stuck in the conflict, appear almost instantaneously transformed and healed when released from the tyranny of the conflict, through being given a safe space to genuinely have a voice and the means to hear an alternative, equally firmly “held” and very human counter-story. I became convinced that this was a way that I could more effectively help the people I was so committed to.
Fast forward several decades of dedicated workplace relationship, communication, culture, leadership development, mental health and wellbeing and conflict expertise.