How to Avoid Grievances

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This is about trying to manage your people’s concerns, problems and complaints so there is no need for a formal grievance. However, an individual may still not be satisfied with the answer you’ve given and e things further, but before this happens, make sure you have done everything you can to resolve the matter. This is the guiding principle in avoiding grievances, so:

Anticipate Concerns

Try to develop a ‘sixth sense’ so you know what will likely be a problem and of concern to your people. If possible, eliminate the difficulties in advance and always explain the reasons.

This approach also means always considering how your actions and decisions will be perceived and received. Consult your people beforehand to sound out their views, ideas and opinions wherever possible. Take account of these if you can. It can also be helpful to use your colleagues and boss as a sounding board to get a reaction on what you intend to do.

Concerns and issues can also arise after the event, so keep close to how things have gone and how people are reacting. Try to cultivate an environment where people let you know what they think without you having to ask (but keep an ear to the ground anyway!)

Listen Effectively

Whether people give feedback or concerns, show interest and listen effectively. It’s essential when handling a grievance that you understand what the real issue is. Rather than argue with the individual, probe and paraphrase what is being said and summarise so that you agree. Don’t promise anything at this stage but make it clear what you will be doing next.

Act Quickly and Follow-Up

It is then up to you to progress and resolve the issue or concern. Any unfairness or injustice needs to be put right. If you can’t solve the problem yourself, involve your boss. Investigate on an individual’s behalf. Make this a priority and ensure that you fix a date to get back to the person quickly.

It is vital to respond, even if nothing has changed. Try to explain things thoroughly so that even if the individual cannot accept the reasons, at least the position is understood.

Finally, check whether the person is ‘happy’ and feels everything possible has been said or done. Clarify if any outstanding points remain to be resolved. Is there anything more that you could reasonably do?


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