Building & Maintaining Respectful Relationships

The term “respectful relationships” originated in relationship counselling and is also used in the education sector as an essential part of the approach to reduce bullying.  Behaving with respect in relationships can reduce the likelihood of disagreements escalating into conflict.  In essence a respectful relationship is one built on respect, trust and support, and where there is effective communication.  It involves treating others with courtesy and respect and being polite in interpersonal interactions.  Communication should be timely, meaningful and two-way and active listening should be used.  Building an environment where volunteers can give and receive feedback is critical too.  Finally, developing a culture of thanks and recognition contributes to building respect for the contributions of others.


Building Collaborative Relationships with Support Group

Disagreements between the Support Group and the District team will be minimised if position descriptions set out clear guidance and there is a thorough induction for the Support Group Office Bearers.  Any disagreement is likely to be over the Support Group wanting to get involved in areas which are not their responsibility, for example decisions over badges and programming.  Collaborative working will be helped by keeping the president up-to-date with what is happening by telephoning them, copying them on correspondence and meeting up for coffee. Also spend time recognising and thanking the Support Group for the contribution they make.


Managing Disagreements

There may be occasions when one or more of your team approach you about a disagreement or an incident involving another Leader or parent.  Alternatively you might become aware of a situation, which if left unresolved, could lead to serious problems.  Nearly all adult members have best friends in Guiding and this is one of the most rewarding aspects of being involved as an adult.  However it can be conducive to developing cliques, therefore laying the foundation for future conflict.

When you become aware of a disagreement, your first response should be to listen and be interested, but at this early stage don’t take sides.  Your focus should be on talking to all the parties involved, to gain all the perspectives; try not to jump to conclusions.  It may be the issue is a simple misunderstanding or relatively minor resentments have been brewing for some time and have boiled over.  In this case it might be easy to resolve the issue, but make sure the solution allows all parties to feel they have been listened to and are respected.

Occasionally the issue might be more serious and/or despite attempts to resolve, you have been unsuccessful.  Your Manager is there to offer you advice and a sympathetic ear.  It might be appropriate for your Manager to mediate between the parties, but this will also raise the stakes of the disagreement.  Again preparation is important before any intervention; the mediator should be informed of the background and the perspectives of all those involved.  Mediation should aim for a win-win situation.  If the situation is serious and/or the Region Manager is leading the mediation, make sure the State Commissioner is kept fully informed.  If following mediation the disagreement is still not settled the woman should have access to an internal appeal process.


Complaints Resolution Policy

Each State has a complaints resolution policy and process address complaints, grievances and incidents.  The basic principle of all the policies is that in the first instance the members and volunteers should try and resolve the issue themselves by talking to the person concerned.  If this doesn’t work the individual raises their concern with their immediate Manager whose role is to offer advice.  Thereafter an informal process and ultimately a formal process applies.  As a Manager you must familiarise yourself with the policy of your State Girl Guide Office including your responsibilities, stages of the process, record keeping and investigation processes.




Last Modified: 13/07/16 at 1:08 PM