I started my career working in the Swedish Social Services. I was very proud of the work we were doing, as we assisted many people who really were in dear situations. But I also felt many times frustrated by the enormous amount of energy which usually took to push forward the service requests I considered were needed.
The Social Service system is a very complex machine. It is regulated by lots of red tape, policy, guidelines and rules. But, nevertheless, it is extremely difficult to follow a standard way of allocating social services – or deciding who is responsible for providing them. This is of no surprise: as I learned from my own experience the needs of different individuals can be seldom solved exactly in the same way and it often comes to a matter of opinion.
These highly demanding requirements the system, as I experienced it, was prone to create lots of disagreements. I had to manage a network of resources which in many cases would argue vividly about their role or responsibility in the case at hand. I discovered that without good skills in handling conflicts, collaboration was almost impossible. I also discovered how easy was to get pushed, or pushed back, and how discontent and stress levels could raise to dangerous levels. I witnessed how easily the workloads got unbalanced between different employees and how far management was from being able to handle these problems.
Years later, as a licensed CBT psychotherapist, I have learned many of the skills that would have been needed in that job. But to my surprise, it did not take long to discover that the problems we experienced at the Social Services are also present in other organisations, especially in service providers of all sorts operating in competitive markets and with low margins or limited resources.
Although management generally focuses in techniques like automation or standardizing processes as a way to improve quality of service, I realized that human sciences can complement these necessary improvements with a very useful set of tools: assertive skills to manage conflicts.
By properly managing (internal) conflicts we can improve collaboration and provide much better services to our customers. Could this be one of the key components to improve satisfaction and wellness among employees, as well as keeping a high level of service quality?
If you believe this topic can be interesting for your business, please contact us at Glashusets to discuss further.