Published in the Peterborough Telegraph on Thursday 3rd February 2022
The good old adage of ‘a win-win situation’ has never been truer. As in life, in business, no one is a winner when no-one gets what they want.
Ensuring a win-win culture in the workplace can be complicated because the comprehension of what ‘winning’ looks and feels like, may not be clearly communicated or understood. For a healthy workplace culture ‘winning’ is not getting everything that is wanted in totality, but about maintaining a good working relationship between the employer and employee, whilst a mutual solution is found. That is the real win-win.
Similar to effective parenting, if the child (employer or employee) will not do what you want them to, the parent (employer or employee responding) must make sure the sanction that is provided is one that is prepared to be executed. Threatening to take the child home from a family event if they don’t behave means that you will need to do just that. And if that child doesn’t behave, think of the impact of carrying out that action will have on your other children and on your quality time with others at the family event. On the flip side, if you don’t follow through on your sanction, then the child knows this, and will use this information again, likely to their advantage. Make sure any threat made, is proportional to the expectation that you will need to carry it out.
The business situation could be an employee has requested flexible working from home and has specified the days that they would like to work from home and threatened to leave the employer if it’s not granted. The employer will need to evaluate the situation and use their skills to identify and understand what the non-negotiables factors are for both the employer and employee and find some middle ground to propose a solution. Could the employees’ identified days be negotiable or is it the working pattern that can be adapted, or is it the number of days working from home?
It's then about having the mediation skills, to facilitate the two parties to reach an agreed solution, and for the two parties to openly acknowledge, that for them to win individually, they need to let the other party win too. Within a business environment, winning is definitely a team sport.