A look at ADR from a supervisor’s viewpoint

  • Published
  • By Kelli Anderson
  • Tinker ADR Program Office
Advantages of Alternative Dispute Resolution can be seen from every angle. In last week's Tinker Take Off, we explored the benefits of ADR from an employee's perspective. This week we will focus on the supervisor's perspective.

When an employee has a problem, the supervisor has a problem and conflict in the workplace can hinder the mission. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you may find yourself dealing with conflict. Conflict can be as minor as eating half a donut and leaving the other half in the box or as serious as a violent exchange. But regardless what the meaning, it is critical to know there is a process available to work through your problems.

"I would advise people that my experience with this process is very positive and would encourage others to 'buy in' to the process," said Curtis Mendez, 76th PMXG/CCX group production manager. "There is no greater feeling than to see both parties after an ADR session come out with positive attitudes and knowing that resolution was accomplished at the lowest level possible."

Even when complaints are not settled, parties have left the mediation with positive attitudes. They felt like their questions were answered and someone listened to their concerns. Assisted negotiations can provide managers with more creative options for resolutions.

"No individual likes to go into any setting, ADR or litigation, and have their decision processes challenged," explains David Painter, deputy WSSC chief, E3/Services WSSC Flight. "But the Tinker ADR Program Office has made the process straightforward and painless. Their mediators are fair and open minded and well versed in getting both parties talking. Their ADR setting is neutral and encourages parties to listen carefully to each other. The ADR process fosters participation which allows both parties to see the strength and weaknesses of their position. The ADR process has been an excellent setting to get remedies to many of the workplace issues I have addressed in my career."

By impacting individuals, the Alternative Dispute Resolution process impacts organizations. Maintaining a productive work environment in which disputes are avoided or settled quickly and at the lowest possible organizational level is essential. Mediation can positively affect relationships by allowing the parties an opportunity to mend relationships through open and honest communication.

"Every individual employed at Tinker has his or her own cultural view of the workplace," Mr. Painter said. "A majority of the issues that arise in the workplace can be resolved to a win/win situation if both parties are willing to meet and have open and honest dialog.

The ADR process has allowed our organization to resolve workplace conflict expediently and with minimal cost. Safety and moral are workplace factors that characterize the personality of an organization. Having the ability to meet with employees in an open forum and resolve their issues is a giant boost for the employee and the morale of our organization."

"I feel it has had a big impact," said Mark Williams, Blade Repair/Gearbox Flight chief, "especially on those that come to an agreement. It's not always a give-a-little, get-a-little situation either. There's times when the grievant just wants to tell their side of the story to someone outside their line of supervision. They may not like the reply but they have a better understanding of what they may have been aggrieved about."

Many people embrace conflict as an opportunity, an opportunity to explore the best means to an outcome. Mediation allows you to be creative and reconstruct broken relationships. Stay tuned for the final portion of "Conflict, from a Mediator's Perspective" next week.

If you have questions about the ADR process call 736-2151 or visit post 1AD83A Bldg. 3001.