2.5 Challenge discrimination and prejudice when working with colleagues
Discrimination takes numerous forms in our, now, very diverse society. Whereas years ago discrimination was mostly about race and religion, it now covers more broader aspects of society, dealing with gender differences, poverty, disability and age related, political views can also be classed as prejudicial, as well as other factions.
Discrimination needs to be tackled in all areas of society and it must be challenged at every turn when it raises its ugly head.
There are a number of ways that can be approached to deal with a situation. Firstly the person can be approached discreetly to be advised on their unacceptable behaviour. If the person was making a flippant remark, without thinking about the hurtful consequences that could entail, then if they are made aware of their actions, then maybe an apology will suffice to diffuse the situation. The old adage Familiarity breeds contempt is never a truer word, as sometimes colleagues become so entwined with their work-mates, that they think that making a judgmental remark, if only in jest, is an okay thing to do, but may be come a joke too far for that person. (ie A member of staff is of Asian ethnicity and sometimes flippant remarks are made in light hearted conversation, but the person in question sometimes feels that they are making a comment about her person and also her way of life. I know that she is hurt, and angry at the ignorance that is being conveyed, when these remarks are made). At this moment in time she appeases the situation, by walking out of the room, to avoid any confrontation.
An informal complaint can be made where the line manager can be approached to deal with the individual(s) in question, and explain what the incident entailed, and if you want the line manager to approach the people involved. Or a meeting for all work colleagues can be arranged so no one person is having the finger pointed at them.
If this has not appeased the injured party then a formal complaint can be made, which will use the settings procedures for dealing with a grievance. An appeal procedure is in place for any outcome that the person is not happy with.
In some more serious cases, this can be taken to an Employment Tribunal, pending on the circumstances of the incident that has occurred. If an incident is dealt with promptly and a complaint is made through the correct channels, then it makes the person aware their behavior has not been acceptable, and hopefully will make them think about their actions in the future.
Many partners, today, live in same sex relationships, others tend to co-habit, others wish to change their gender etc., and many other colleagues will have very conservative views about this. It boils down to the legends live and let live each to their own. Whatever your views, the situation will not change, and if it does not directly affect you, then one should basically accept the situation for what it is. No snide comments need to be made, and all should be able to carry on their professional duties and work together as a team, regardless of ones personal views.
3.1 Respond to conflict in a way that does not disrupt the work of the playwork team
It is important to respond to conflict that does not disrupt the work of the playworker team, as this shows professionalism and the proficiency of the workforce. It helps the children and young people feel comfortable in the setting, when parents and practitioners have a good relationship, and they are able to see that relationship for themselves. This in turn will aid a good support network for the betterment of the child or young person.
As much as we would like to be, we are not super-human, and we all suffer stress at sometime in our lives. Whether through bereavement, divorce or the workload is just too much for us to cope. This is when we need to accept help, and put our hands up and ask for support, before we inevitably breakdown and do something that we may regret later. Being a good listener is one way to help ones colleagues, to find out what is the problem, and showing empathy depending on the situation. If the person is finding their workload too overwhelming, then one can offer to lend a helping hand so that they will become less stressed. Many hands make light work after all!
Sometimes opinions conflict, and this can lead to bad feeling. (ie My way is better than yours syndrome). A compromise needs to be reached, otherwise being at loggerheads with each other will not benefit the children or young people in the setting. You can still agree to disagree as long as a compromise is reached to be able to carry on ones role to provide a professional service.
Miscommunication has a tendency to cause misunderstanding in the work place, and this needs to be resolved by making all parties aware of where the breakdown in communications happened. The one at fault should always be willing to put their hands up and apologize for the misunderstanding, as more often than not this is a human error, that we all have succumbed to in life. (Any one who says different .?! Uum!). As long as the person is genuinely apologetic, then the setting can get back to normal without any nit-picking and nasty innuendo and backstabbing, from other members of the work force. A written report could be advisable in certain cases, pending on the severity of the incident.
Sometimes certain members of staff will try to have one up-manship on another, and may try to gossip about that colleague to others in the work place. There are two ways of dealing with this scenario.
1. Ignore the back-stabbing remarks of the colleague in question, and let him/her diffuse their rant themselves. If others do not take notice, and do not comment they will have no embers to fuel the fire further.
2. They can be reported for professional misconduct, towards another member of staff, to the line manager.