Conflict resolution

We often see workplaces at their worst.

Organisations often call us when they’re in a state of crisis caused by unresolved conflict. Conflict creates fractured relationships and emotional fallout, affecting productivity and the ability to deliver core business.

Issues we see often are:

  • allegations of workplace bullying and harassment, sexual harassment and discrimination,
  • challenging behaviours where there may be no complaint, but workplace relationships are impacted,
  • entrenched, fractured working relationships,
  • performance management and other employee relations issues.

It’s best not to wait until you get to crisis point. If you’ve identified early warning signs that conflict is starting to affect relationships in your workplace, it’s vital to proactively manage the situation before it gets out of hand.

How we can help

When we come into an organisation with conflict issues, we work to build rapport and trust quickly to unpack the contributing factors. Then we make a diagnosis using an integrated, holistic approach, taking careful consideration of the mental health and wellbeing of everyone involved.

Our key strategies are conflict coaching, mediation and facilitated conversion. These methods de-escalate conflict and lead to empowerment and greater understanding, and avoid the time, cost and disruption of legal interventions.

Mediation involves the creation of a non-confrontational, cooperative forum for engagement and negotiation, with the aim of achieving a binding agreement that addresses the issues. The process brings about a shared understanding and genuine commitment to change. It’s often a powerful first step to restoring and rebuilding positive workplace relationships.  

Facilitated conversation is a less formal intervention. It can provide an opportunity to restore a problematic working relationship, even in the absence of an actual dispute. We facilitate a constructive, respectful ‘safe space’ for the people involved to have a difficult conversation, ease tension and strengthen their relationship.  

An important element is one-on-one conflict coaching, conducted with each person before entering into the discussion, to develop their ability to manage conflict by giving them better insight into their own behaviours. This increased self-awareness gives us a stronger basis for mediation or facilitated conversation.

(We also offer conflict coaching as a preventative, professional development coaching service for employees and managers.)

Depending on the specific situation, we also use psychometric profiling tools such as Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i), Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO) and Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI).

I will be forever indebted to the person who recommended DK Sonin & Associates to me… Debbie just did not write a report and leave. She worked with the organisation at all levels to bring the recommendations alive.
Andrea O'Neill, General Manager, Berrigan & District Aged Care Association
Debbie displays a wonderful balance between achieving positive and timely solutions and encouraging a supportive and inviting process built on mutual responsibility, accountability, and open transference for change.
Nick Koletsis, Principal Consultant - Workplace Relations, Fire Rescue Victoria
Deb’s insightful coaching increased my confidence, enhanced my performance and provided a fresh perspective to support my growth.
Michael Schoen, Parks Victoria
Debbie is approachable, professional and practical. She provides consistent quality support and is a great sounding board. Dealing with Debbie is like an extension of our own organisation. She understands the business and moulds her style around us.
Brant Doyle, Manager Organisational Development, Moira Shire Council
Deb Sonin is an acknowledged expert in workplace conflict resolution and has extensive experience advising on discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying. Deb’s professional background makes her an obvious choice to assist with difficult cultural and interpersonal issues in the workplace.
Michael Gorton AM, Principal, Russell Kennedy Lawyers
With her clinical and human resources background, Debbie offers a unique value proposition for businesses that want to implement change… Debbie always goes above and beyond for her clients and thinks deeply about providing solutions that will work for all parties.
Catherine Brooks, Practice Leader, Moores
Debbie is an astute observer, facilitator and communicator. She is a highly skilled mediator and excels in coaching team leaders to effectively manage and improve team dynamics, behaviours and interactions.
Leigh Rhode, Chief Executive Officer, Gateway Health
I highly recommend Debbie as an expert in conducting strength-based workplace cultural reviews.
Jenny Salkeld, Executive Director of Nursing, Colac Area Health
Debbie is warm, friendly and helpful and always makes challenges manageable.
Kurt Porflit, Managing Director, Busch Australia
Debbie is sensitive, engaging, warm… She is able to see the challenges and opportunities and find solutions in quick and practical way.
Greg Embleton, CEO, Byte
Deb's professional, warm and sincere approach is evident in her engagement with individuals and management alike through difficult and sensitive matters, with her ability to gain respect from all parties that facilitates successful outcomes.
Linda South, General Manager, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital
I recommend Debbie Sonin to any employer who wants to provide their staff with opportunities to turn workplace behaviours around, improve their teamwork or learn new ways of interacting with others.
Robyn Shilton, Executive Officer, Community West Inc
Debbie has always demonstrated an appreciation of the industrial and personal impacts of her work, and has achieved results beyond what might have been expected given the complexity of the matter.
Estelle Fyffe, CEO, annecto
Deb Sonin's breadth of experience across change management, industrial relations and conflict resolution is evident in her unique ability to address complex and intractable issues to synthesise the complexity into workable, tangible, successful results.
Linda South, General Manager, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Debbie is highly skilled and engaging, making interactions professional and fun. Personally, Debbie is great to work with and is always able to have a chat about a situation that might arise outside of the regular engagements.
Sue Rolland, General Manager, Deakin University Student Association
Debbie provides a sense of calmness and direction during difficult situations to help me remain in control. The experience and knowledge that Debbie brings is incredibly useful and helps me to get the most out of the team I work with.
Liz Moore CPA, Practice Manager, Bluebird Accounting
Debbie is an extremely talented and resourceful practitioner, demonstrating a deep and extensive understanding, knowledge and expertise in mediation, coaching and facilitation. Whenever I need support from an external provider in facilitating a conversation, I engage Debbie.
Brant Doyle, Manager Organisational Development, Moira Shire Council
Debbie operated with integrity, sensitivity and empathy for all within our team and encouraged staff to find their voice in sharing their experiences of the dynamics of the workplace.
Peter Nancarrow, Chairperson of the Board, Jacaranda Village
I have a high level of trust in Debbie’s ability to read the dynamics of a work environment and to co-design and implement respectful and thoughtful approaches to solving problems and improving team functioning.
Leigh Rhode, Chief Executive Officer, Gateway Health
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