LF: In the mediator training, I specialised in organisation and business mediation as well as conflict consulting. This provided me with motivation, questioning and addressing techniques, which offer the conflict parties the chance to come up with their own solution with moderation. For me, this is actually the main task of the works council. From the mediator work came the idea of completing coaching training, as this deals among other things with team development. And organisational psychology examines how people behave in their everyday working life and how they perceive and experience relationships.
You said that a works council which is able to have a unifying effect is also an advantage for the whole company. In what way precisely?
LF: With many conflicts, the works council offers a good buffer between corporate management and the workforce. Many disputes result from personal circumstances, from one's private life and don't actually belong in the company. As member of the works council, I have the opportunity to either listen to the complaints and then go to management with a big club. Or I take the opportunity to help to resolve conflicts before they arise. And if that is not possible, I at least show my colleagues: We are actually on a completely different level.
Which conflicts do you have to deal with?
LF: For example, if the person tends very heavily to look for the question of guilt. Here, it is more exciting, however, not to look for the cause but rather come up with a solution.
Isn't that unsatisfactory for your colleagues? People want justice and this also involves being allowed to explain why they see themselves as being right.
LF: The things that lead to conflicts are usually not linear. It's not a case of cause equals effect, but I have an effect where the reasons lie elsewhere. But there's no point worrying about it in this complex system. It might just simply be that you got up one morning and had a row with your wife. Then you come to work and something else happens. How should anyone in the company know that you had a problem at home. Realistically, it turns out in many cases that the problems lie elsewhere.
Can the benefit of your further training for Gira be measured in some way?
LF: Difficult, there are "soft" factors which cannot necessarily be measured. But let me give an example: In one case, two colleagues were so much at loggerheads that management almost wanted to let one of them go. In the plastics processing division, familiarization periods are sometimes quite lengthy and accordingly expensive for the company. Then I made the suggestion to conduct a mediation. This happened a few years ago, both employees still work for the company and they get on very well. If one of them had been dismissed, Gira would have had to reckon with costs for recruitment and training.