The medium sized business in down town Vienna has been run in a personal, family atmosphere. Recently problems within the team have increased. There is an open conflict between several salespersons on the one side and the longest serving vendor Beatrix W. on the other side. The manager has tried to intervene, but without success. Finally he decides to ask for professional help through an external mediator. The team is now completely disrupted.
Many of the employees feel they are being treated in an unfair manner by the manager. They reproach him of favouring Beatrix W. A single parent, she had been one of his very first salespersons in the shop. The team blames the manager to be much more considerate of Beatrix W. than of the other employees, especially when it comes to the allocation of Saturday duties and holidays.
The conflict escalates when one colleague discovers Beatrix W. at an event during her sick leave. This leads to an open confrontation between her and several colleagues. The situation becomes increasing burden on Beatrix W. Finally she calls in sick.
Step by Step Mediation
At a „kick-off“ meeting the mediator explains the planned procedure to the whole team, including the manager and thus brings everyone on board. The mediator supports the manager to acknowledge the imbalance of power in the process and thus make this aspect transparent. Then she hold individual talks, including the manager, who agrees to cooperate the best he can. He explains the long term connection with his first employee Beatrix W., his ambivalent feelings when dealing with her. Beatrix W and her colleagues have several individual mediation meetings where they can resolve most of their reservation. They are supported to acknowledge each other´s slights. In a further meeting the mediator supports the manager and Beatrix W. to separate personal and professional aspects of their relationship.
In a final meeting with the whole team the manager offers a staff roster to his employees which can be accepted as just and fair by everyone.