Characteristics of effective workplace relationships

LEAD AND MANAGE
EFFECTIVE WORKPLACE
RELATIONSHIPS
BSBLDR523
STUDENT
GUIDE
BSBLDR523 Lead and manage effective workplace relationships
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Contents

Overview 3
Topic 1: Characteristics of effective workplace relationships 4
Topic 2: Managing workplace relationships 17
Topic 3: Supporting workplace relationships 24

BSBLDR523 Lead and manage effective workplace relationships
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Suite 4, Level 3, 15 Moore Street, Canberra, ACT 2601| Phone: 02 8052 3231 | RTO Code: 45100 | CRICOS Code: 03627G
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Overview

The Student Guide should be used in conjunction with the recommended reading and any further
course notes or activities given by the trainer/assessor.
Application of the unit
This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to lead and manage effective workplace
relationships.
The unit applies to individuals in leadership or management positions who have a prominent role in
establishing and managing processes and procedures to support workplace relationships. These
individuals apply the values, goals and cultural diversity policies of the organisation. They use
complex and diverse methods and procedures as well as a range of problem solving and decisionmaking strategies, which require the exercise of considerable discretion and judgement.
No licensing, legislative or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.
Learning goals
Learning goals include:
You are able to explain and apply the characteristics associated with effective and positive
workplace relationships.
You are able to manage workplace relationships through networking, consultation, conflict
resolution and managing work.
You are able to support workplace relationships by adhering to legislative and organisational
requirements.

BSBLDR523 Lead and manage effective workplace relationships
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Suite 4, Level 3, 15 Moore Street, Canberra, ACT 2601| Phone: 02 8052 3231 | RTO Code: 45100 | CRICOS Code: 03627G
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Topic 1: Characteristics of effective workplace
relationships

 

Activity: Reflect
Reflect on your own study and work experience.
Can you think of a specific situation where your relationship with a peer,
employee, colleague or superior has been particularly positive (or negative)?
How did the quality of your relationship affect your work or studies?

Building strong connections in the workplace takes focussed effort and practice. Workplace leaders
and managers are responsible to establish effective processes to facilitate positive, collaborative
and synergic relationships within their team, work unit or organisation.

Positive relationships are important for success, as well as happiness.

Working professionals are more likely to spend more time with their co-workers than their family, so
both professional and personal relationships in the workplace are very important.

Activity: Brainstorm
In a group, brainstorm what an effective workplace relationship looks like.
Your trainer will facilitate a group discussion to summarise your ideas. Take notes
and keep them for future reference.

Image by Tim Douglas on Pexels
BSBLDR523 Lead and manage effective workplace relationships
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Suite 4, Level 3, 15 Moore Street, Canberra, ACT 2601| Phone: 02 8052 3231 | RTO Code: 45100 | CRICOS Code: 03627G
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Open communication, acceptance of diversity, mindfulness, mutual respect and trust are all
characteristics of effective workplace relationships (see figure below).
We will discuss each of these characteristics in more detail for the remainder of this topic.
Communication
Communication is key to personal and workplace success – no relationship can prosper without it.
It ensures a human connection and strengthens teams.

Communication must occur in order to transmit information and ideas from one person or place
to another person or place in the clearest and most accurate way as possible.

 

Activity: Watch
Watch the following video that introduces communication.
Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6IAhXM-vps (01:37)

The communication process
The goal of communication is to convey information (and the understanding of that information)
from one person or group to another person or group. The communication process begins with a
sender sending a message using a specific channel of communication (for example, verbally or in
writing). The sender must encode the message before it is sent. Encoding is the process the
Figure 1: Characteristics of effective workplace relationships
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Suite 4, Level 3, 15 Moore Street, Canberra, ACT 2601| Phone: 02 8052 3231 | RTO Code: 45100 | CRICOS Code: 03627G
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sender follows to decide how to send the message to the receiver and what to include in the
message. This will depend on who the message is sent to as well as the context (for example,
more informal information may be sent through an email as opposed to more formal information
which could be presented in the form of a report).
The receiver then receives the message and must be able to decode it. Decoding is the mental
process to translate the message into understanding.
Sometimes a receiver will give the sender feedback, which is a message sent by the receiver back
to the sender. For example, this could be a question to clarify the information received.

Communication can take place verbally and non-verbally.

 

Activity: Research and discuss
Research ways that communication may take place verbally in the workplace.
Include:
a list of verbal communication methods (e.g. face-to-face discussion, email etc.)
examples in the workplace where each method is appropriate (e.g. performance
review discussion)
Once you’ve completed your list, partner up with another student to compare what
you’ve written. Your trainer will then facilitate a groups discussion to create a
comprehensive list of verbal communication methods and examples.
Take notes to summarise what you have read and keep them for future reference.

While verbal communication is the most obvious type of communication, a large part of the way we
communicate occurs through non-verbal cues in conversations (explained in the next table).

Non-verbal
communication
Description
Body language Body language can reinforce the verbal language you use and how you say
those words. It can also demonstrate your actual feelings if you are angry,
embarrassed or lacking confidence in a conversation.
There are two main facets of body language to consider:
posture – your sitting or standing posture during a conversation is
important. Your posture should be open, with your body turned to face the
other person. Leaning forward slightly conveys you are actively listening.
gestures – simple gestures that indicate you are listening include nodding
your head and opening your palms. Moving hands can communicate a
sense of engagement about a subject. Maintaining eye contact is very
important.


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Suite 4, Level 3, 15 Moore Street, Canberra, ACT 2601| Phone: 02 8052 3231 | RTO Code: 45100 | CRICOS Code: 03627G
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Non-verbal
communication
Description
Negative body language presents a negative image and can block progress.
Looking at your watch, fiddling with an object or doodling during discussions can
present as not being interested or contrary. Other negative body language to be
avoided includes:
clenching fists
folding arms
rolling eyes
shrugging and shuffling
imitating another person’s negative body language
finger pointing.
Positive body language can be learnt by watching how others behave during
conversations: copy positive gestures and postures and avoid behaviour that
you find repellent.
Eye contact Looking people in the eye when talking to them is a good way to let them know
you are listening to them and interested in what they have to say. Eye contact
can also convey sincerity and confidence, which is often important in business
situations.
When we don’t look the other person in the eye, we can appear disinterested,
nervous, or even untrustworthy. If a business associate forms a negative view of
a person, it can be difficult to reverse this impression, so trying to maintain eye
contact and focusing on the person you are talking with is paramount.
Of course, it is important not to stare at them, accidentally or otherwise.
Facial
expressions
Faces are expressive, and often convey emotions away before we verbally
express what we feel. It is important to try to keep your facial expressions
positive during a business conversation.
Smiling is very important and a genuine smile can help another person relax
during a conversation.
Negative facial expressions should be avoided. These include:
frowning or scowling
glaring
having a blank look on your face
sneering
pouting.

Table 1: Non-verbal communication
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Effective communication skills
Whether you’re communicating verbally, non-verbally or using both, make sure you do it effectively.

Activity: Read
Explore the Business Queensland website by accessing and reading the information
on the following link:
Website:
https://www.business.qld.gov.au/running-business/marketing
sales/managing-relationships/communicating-effectively
Remember to select the “next” button at the bottom of the page to access all
relevant information.
Take notes and keep them for future reference. Your trainer will facilitate a group
discussion to summarise what you’ve learnt.

 

Activity: Watch
Watch the following video showing examples of ineffective communication.
Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FfaPhCKZew (02:31)
As you watch the video, reflect on what has gone wrong.

 

Activity: Further information
If you’re interested, watch the video below for more practical ways to communicate
effectively.
Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gaj3Xl9vasc (35:14)

Diversity
At work (or in your studies), you will constantly be reminded of the fact that no two people are alike.

Always consider the diverse needs and situations of the people you’re working with.

 

Activity: Reflect


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Suite 4, Level 3, 15 Moore Street, Canberra, ACT 2601| Phone: 02 8052 3231 | RTO Code: 45100 | CRICOS Code: 03627G
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How would you describe yourself? What type of personality do you have?

Valuing difference allows each person to contribute their unique experiences to the workplace and
can impact positively on not only internal activities and relationships, but the experiences of
customers and other stakeholders as well.
Image by fauxels on Pexels

Activity: Watch
Watch this brief video about diversity in the workplace.
Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwKOHv6dJD4 (04:49)

Interpersonal styles

An awareness of your own interpersonal style and the interpersonal style of people you work with
(or study with) is important in determining how you can best work together.

There are many ways to describe personality types and interpersonal styles.
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Activity: Research and discuss
Work together in small groups. Choose one of the articles below (each article uses a
different way to describe interpersonal styles):
Article 1:
https://actt.albertadoctors.org/file/coloursexercise-debriefguide.pdf
Article 2: http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/861003/22807151/1369960838
953/The+importance+of+interpersonal+style.pdf?token=vO9M2PehGqgjEcF
wpnxvFHBCJ80%3D
Article 3: https://www.referenceforbusiness.com/small/Inc-Mail/Interpersonal
Communication.html
1. Read the article.
2. Do additional research to fully understand interpersonal styles.
3. Write a summary of the article and your additional research.
4. Share your work to a larger group (e.g. you may present the work, or provide
other students with a link to your research summary).
5. Your trainer will facilitate a group discussion to consolidate your findings.

In addition to interpersonal styles, there are also different communication and leaderships styles.

Activity: Read
Read the article explaining different communication styles:
Article:
https://www.leadershipiq.com/blogs/leadershipiq/39841409-quiz-whats-your
communication-style
Take notes and keep them for future reference.

 

Activity: Discuss
As a group, discuss:
the article you’ve just read.
examples of how you can adjust your communication style to suit different
audiences.
how a specific communication style can build trust and support positive working
relationships.
Take notes and keep them for future reference.


BSBLDR523 Lead and manage effective workplace relationships
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Suite 4, Level 3, 15 Moore Street, Canberra, ACT 2601| Phone: 02 8052 3231 | RTO Code: 45100 | CRICOS Code: 03627G
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Suite 4, Level 3, 15 Moore Street, Canberra, ACT 2601| Phone: 02 8052 3231 | RTO Code: 45100 | CRICOS Code: 03627G
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Activity: Practical
What is your leadership style? Access the quiz via the link below to find out:
Website:
https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/leadership-style-quiz.htm
Take notes and keep them for future reference.

Cultural considerations
In your day-to-day work and studies, there will be people you interact with who come from diverse
cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

All employees need to show a genuine sense of fairness and goodwill to everyone, no matter what
their race, religion, social status, or other characteristics are.

Consider the following cultural differences in meeting people in business situations for the first time:
In Brazil, an initial handshake is rated highly. There is often a lot of chitchat before the meeting
begins, and the tone set here can be very important in the development of the business
relationship.
Russian business meetings are often serious, formal, and structured. Many Russian
negotiators believe that a formal meeting is serious and should be treated as such. Humour is
rarely used and considered inappropriate.
In Japan and China, formal exchanges of business cards are performed at the beginning of a
first meeting. The respect you show the card reflects the level of respect shown to the person.

Activity: Watch
Watch the following video about cultural display of emotions.
Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwDDb_h2i0A (02:16)

 

Activity: Brainstorm
As a group, brainstorm a few more examples of cultural sensitivities in the workplace.
Take notes and keep them for future reference.

Social considerations
Sometimes the differences that must be taken into account extend to the values, beliefs and world
views adopted by individuals in the workplace. These may include:
political association
religious beliefs
gender
physical or mental disabilities.

Activity: Practical
Spend time learning about your work colleagues or study group’s cultural
backgrounds, world views, values and beliefs.
1. Select one culture, world view or value/belief that is different to yours.
2. Research the culture/world view/value/belief as it relates to the workplace (e.g.
by talking to a person from that culture).
3. How does the culture/world view/value/belief impact workplace relationships.
4. Are there any special considerations or provisions that must be made to ensure
positive and effective workplace relationships?
5. Discuss your findings in a small group (each group member will have a turn to
present their findings).
6. Take notes and keep them for future reference.

 

Activity: Watch
Watch the following videos which highlight small prejudices in the workplace.
Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqLFIOx-33Q (01:34)
Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cj9sdNXjcW4 (02:11)

 

Activity: Discuss
As a group, discuss examples of any other prejudices or cultural/social insensitivities
that may present in the workplace.
Take notes and keep them for future reference.

Mindfulness and mutual respect
Good leaders and managers consider how different perspectives, situations and contexts affect
meaning and messaging in the workplace.

Activity: Reflect
“People imitate their leader. Lead by example.” (Barbara Corcoran).
How does this quote relate to communication, diversity, mindfulness, mutual respect
and trust (all characteristics of positive relationships in the workplace)?


BSBLDR523 Lead and manage effective workplace relationships
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Suite 4, Level 3, 15 Moore Street, Canberra, ACT 2601| Phone: 02 8052 3231 | RTO Code: 45100 | CRICOS Code: 03627G
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Mindfulness and mutual respect involves:
identifying shared perspectives and trying to understand alternative perspectives
challenging assumptions about self or others (assumptions can be based on stereotypes,
prejudice, biases, conscious or unconscious attitudes)
engaging with people and responding flexibly and positively in diverse groups.
addressing micro-inequities that you observe
taking action within the team to mitigate the impact of systemic inequities
using a variety of strategies to develop trust amongst the team.
provide support to colleagues and team members on how to work effectively in a diverse team
(support can be provided through coaching, mentoring, training, feedback, recognition,
commitment, information, resources, tools).
It may be necessary to provide translations of information both verbally and non-verbally. Ways of
communicating that take culture into account include:
speaking clearly and without jargon or by providing additional explanations when needed
face-to-face meetings with bilingual staff or specialist support services
noticeboards, posters, pamphlets and displays that incorporate the home languages
represented in the organisation
web pages with translated information and videos
mastering a few key phrases in a range of languages might be a great way to build rapport.
An inclusive leader will acknowledge their own biases and consistently demonstrate inclusive
behaviour.
This can involve actively seeking to network with a broad diversity of people as well as taking
opportunities to challenge common myths, perceptions and stereotypes about people, diversity and
inclusion. In practice this may mean challenging a comment made at an executive leadership
meeting that is intended to be humorous, but which reflects a common stereotype.

Activity: Practical
Consider the following scenario:
Steve was an enthusiastic and committed member of the leadership team. When he
returned to work, after a holiday, he seemed withdrawn and preoccupied. Recently
he has been contributing very little to team meetings and asked for people not to
refer to him as “The Greek”. Members of the team are expressing concern about
Steve’s behaviour, which is beginning to affect the morale of the team.
1. As the leader of the team how would you deal with this situation? Write down
some guidelines, which may help to resolve the problem.


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2. Consider how you would approach Steve, discuss the problem, acknowledge
his feelings, promote diversity, encourage him to discuss his feelings, come to a
solution and provide feedback to the team.
3. What are the likely consequences of failing to take action?
4. How could you as leader seek feedback about workplace relationships and your
leadership style to prevent a situation like this from happening again?
5. How could you potentially improve your leadership for improved workplace
relations? (make as many assumptions as necessary to answer this questions).
Your trainer will facilitate a class discussion to consolidate your work.


BSBLDR523 Lead and manage effective workplace relationships
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Topic 2: Managing workplace relationships

This topic focuses on managing working place relationships. It explores how effective workplace
relationships can be established and managed to ensure the ongoing success of individuals, teams
and whole organisations. This may be through networking, consultation, conflict resolution and
work allocation, monitoring, evaluation and support.
Networking

A network is essentially a group of people who cooperate with each other.

Networking is about interacting with professional contacts to exchange information. It can involve
working closely with colleagues to identify potential future needs or challenges and developing
strategies to manage them.
Networking also relates to the process of participation in issues within a workplace. Colleagues can
together to discuss concerns and developing solutions. Networks can develop amongst workers in
the organisation and people in the community where they have a stake in the business activities of
the organisation.
Networks are formed, for example, to:
accomplish outcomes
provide information (networking is ideal for expanding your knowledge by taking advantage of
the viewpoints and prior experience of others)
debrief about current, relevant issues
maintain contact with other professionals
help an organisation stay current with industry trends
work collaboratively to better meet the needs of the organisation and customers
establish new contacts and/or generate referrals
learn about the role, services and resources of other organisations
help identify opportunities for partnerships, joint ventures, or new areas of expansion for your
business.
Developing a network of contacts both inside and outside of your organisation can be beneficial in
many ways, especially for career advancement or if you plan to start your own company at some
point in the future. Networks can create a sense of common support and thereby help to strengthen
individuals, the work team, as well as the organisation overall.

BSBLDR523 Lead and manage effective workplace relationships
Mid City College
Suite 4, Level 3, 15 Moore Street, Canberra, ACT 2601| Phone: 02 8052 3231 | RTO Code: 45100 | CRICOS Code: 03627G
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Activity: Watch
The following clip provides some tips to why business networking is beneficial.
Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFjp7Q5WAro (03:03)

Here are a few practical tips to maintain internal and external networks at work:
Once you have joined or created a networking group (whether in person or on-line) it is
important to maintain regular and consistent contact with the people in your networks.
Contact with your network may involve face-to-face meetings, video conference calls or online
forums.
Network meetings may be planned for weekly occurrences, fortnightly, monthly or quarterly.
Make sure you diarise your next meeting to ensure your attendance.
If your network meets online, a successful communication tactic is to periodically meet with
people in your network face to face. It’s much more personal, and much more fun too. When
you cannot meet in person, then a phone call or personal note can also be effective.
Where possible, practice networking by attending lots of different networking events. You will
meet many interesting people and contacts, some of which will become great clients,
colleagues or friends.
If your network produces a newsletter, then it is important to plan time to read it and keep up
to date with current issues.

Activity: Discuss
As a group, discuss the concept of e-networking – using social networking in a
business sense.
Take notes and keep them for future reference.

Image by Pixabay on Pexels
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Activity: Practical
1. Set up your own social media network (the topic can be an individual blog or
one set by the trainer).
Take this opportunity to explore different forms of social networking which you
may not already be involved in; for example WeChat.
2. Set up your own LinkedIn or professional networking site of your choice. This
will require you to complete your profile – you will need access to your CV so
that you can include all the relevant information.
Once you have set up your accounts for both sites and entered
profiles/information, you should then start interacting/networking with other
classmates (and the trainer/assessor). Also, you should become a friend on the
class Facebook page or site that has been set up and post at least one item.
3. Once both sites are set up and you have created some networking or social
interaction either internally or externally, write a brief report of your experience,
using the following prompts:
i. State the platform used to set up the networking.
ii. Which site would you use the most for networking and why?
iii. What outcomes can be measured to show that networks put in place are
actually building effective workplace relationships?
Your trainer will facilitate a group discussion about the outcomes.

Consultation

Consultation involves leaders in the company actively seeking and taking account of the views of all
staff before making a decision. When a decision is made then the rationale for the decision is
explained to the team.

Consultation is about involving and developing people in an organisation. Staff are able to perform
at their optimum when they are clear about their duties, obligations and rights and have avenues
for communicating their views to management on issues that affect them.

Activity: Brainstorm
As a group, brainstorm situations where consultation may be necessary in a
workplace situation. Explain how the collaboration can be used to engage and
motivate others.


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Activity: Reflect
Have you ever been asked for your opinion on certain workplace/study issues (e.g.
workload)?
How have you sought the views, opinion or experience of others in the workplace or
place of study?
How did you use the views/opinion or experience of others to inform your decision?

Good consultation can improve organisational decision-making as well as the overall management
performance.
There are a number of ways to consult with staff such as through face-to-face meetings, social
media platforms, feedback boxes or surveys.

Activity: Research and discuss
Research different methods that can be used to develop consultation processes in
an organisation.
Write a brief summary report with a list of methods, and examples to illustrate
how/when the method is suitable.
Your trainer will facilitate a group discussion about the outcomes of your meeting.

Conflict resolution
People spend long hours of their adult lives at work, and for many, workplace issues commonly
cause stress. It is not possible to have a workplace where the whole team meshes all the time
without any conflict. Differing roles, approaches, expectations, and personalities can all cause
conflict at various times.

Activity: Discuss
Before we continue, make sure everyone has the same understanding of what
conflict is.
As a group, define “conflict” as it occurs in the workplace.
Take notes and keep them for future reference.

 

Activity: Reflect
Have you ever experienced conflict in your workplace or place of study?


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How has trust influenced the outcome of the conflict?

Common workplace issues that employees face include:
interpersonal conflict
communication problems.

Activity: Brainstorm
As a group, brainstorm practical examples of workplace conflict. Take notes and
keep them for future reference.

 

Conflict is not necessarily a bad thing and does not mean that the workplace relationships are
negative.

If the workplace relationship includes trust, conflict
will be managed and resolved to further
strengthen the working relationship. However, if
the conflict is left unresolved, some workplace
issues may cause negative psychological
symptoms such as depression and anxiety.
Think back to what you learnt about diversity – no
two people are alike. This also applies to how
individual people participate in conflict and attempt
to resolve it.

Activity: Research and discuss
Work in a small group to:
1. Research conflict resolution strategies.
2. Choose one strategy and summarise it.
3. Share your research with the bigger group (e.g. you may present the work, or
provide other students with a link to your research summary).
4. Your trainer will facilitate a group discussion to consolidate your findings.

 

Activity: Watch
Watch the video below which summarises conflict resolution.

Image by Alex Green on Pexels
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Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY5TWVz5ZDU (03:33)
Take notes and keep them for future reference.

 

Activity: Reflect
How do you usually react to conflict?
Can you improve your conflict resolution skills?

 

Activity: Practical
Work in pairs to practice conflict resolution using an appropriate conflict resolution
strategy.
Choose one example of workplace conflict (brainstormed previously in this section)
and role play the situation.
Conduct your conflict in front of another pair of students and ask for their feedback.

Managing work
As a manager and part of ensuring effective workplace relationships, your role will include
providing information to your team to ensure they are able to achieve their work responsibilities.
The information you provide to your staff is wide-ranging and may include any or all of the
following:
Strategic Plans – that outline the organisation’s vision, mission and values and key objectives,
goals and directions
Operational Plans – that outline the organisation’s activities that align with its strategic
directions.
Team Performance Plans – that outline the team activities to be completed to achieve the
overall organisational objectives
Policies and Procedures – that outline the organisation’s overall direction and specific
processes to achieve that direction
Standard Operating Procedures – specific procedures that must be followed to achieve
specific activities
Position descriptions and key performance indicators.
Work plans and project schedules.
Performance evaluation and feedback.
You may communicate this information to your team in a number of ways, for example through:

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Induction – when an employee commences employment, they should be provided with
information so that they understand their role and responsibilities as well as the organisation’s
procedures
Emails – for example, with directions to complete specific activities
Memos – again to include directions to complete specific activities
Meetings – to discuss information that concerns work responsibilities.

Activity: Practical
Base this practical on your RTO and the course you are currently completing:
1. How are your responsibilities for tasks assigned (or delegated) to you and
confirmed?
2. In what ways do you collaborate to perform tasks?
3. How do you support others to perform their tasks?
4. What potential relationship issues may arise as tasks are performed?
5. How might the relationship issues be resolved?
6. What communication is required to resolve issues (before, during and after)?


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Topic 3: Supporting workplace relationships

Leading and managing effective workplace relationships may be daunting. However, there is
support and guidance to help you along. This topic further explores the legislative and
organisational support for managing workplace relationships.

Support and guidance is available in the form of:
legislative requirements
regulatory obligations
code of practices
industry standards
organisational policies, procedures and systems.

Legislation, standards/code of practices and organisational policies and procedures are put in
place to make sure everyone is as safe as possible and to ensure a successful outcome for the
business or organisation. Workplace problems (including relationships) often occur due to a
deviation from one of these.
Legislative and regulatory requirements

Activity: Research and discuss
Work in small groups to research the legislation and regulatory requirements that
applies to your workplace and/or industry of interest and addresses workplace
relationships. Remember that the state(s) and/or territory you live or work in may
influence which legislation applies. As part of your research, you may consider:
Data privacy legislation
Fair Work Act
Corporations Act
Sexual and disability discrimination legislation
WHS legislation
Take notes and keep them for future reference. Your trainer will facilitate a group
discussion to summarise your findings.


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Codes of practice and industry standards
Leaders and managers need to ensure that the organisation’s ethical values are understood and
followed. Having clear direction on ethics to be followed is very important as it reduces
organisational risk and enhances performance.
Ethics are essentially the moral guidelines that an organisation requires all their staff to follow.
While workplace ethics may vary from industry to industry, there are common ethical values that
would apply to most workplaces.
Ethical values are almost always contained in Code of Conducts and related procedures.
Examples of ethical values are:
Values in relation to workplace behaviour (for example, treating others with respect, integrity
and impartiality).
Values in relation to gifts (for example, are staff allowed to accept gifts from customers?)
Values in relation to conflicts of interest (for example, what constitutes a conflict of interest and
how it must be declared?)
Following a code of conduct and implementing ethical values, as well as supporting diversity are all
part of the professional conduct expected at work. Conducting yourself professionally and gaining
and maintaining the trust and confidence of people you work with also includes a range of other
factors such as:
Honesty: never share confidential or client information unless authorised to do so. You
shouldn’t tolerate or justify dishonest conduct by others. Any conflicts of interest should be
reported to managers immediately.
Respect: a respectful attitude to others must be maintained at all times, even during trying
times. Don’t verbally abuse colleagues or disrespect anyone. Language used, whether verbal
or written must be appropriate. Swearing is not acceptable. Where errors or
misunderstandings have occurred, staff should apologise. Personal opinions of others must be
kept private.
Meetings: be on time and prepared by reviewing the agenda or meeting notes prior to the
scheduled meeting. Contribute to discussions where this is appropriate, but do not dominate
when someone else is contributing. Respect the meeting chair, follow the appropriate format,
and ask intelligent questions.
Communication: speak clearly with language that is easily understood by everyone at the
meeting. Be courteous and use polite language. Follow organisational guidelines regarding
content. Read information provided before asking questions. Listen to others when they are
talking, and don’t participate in office tattle. Be careful of language and tone in written
communication, and don’t copy in others unnecessarily when emailing or intentionally exclude
others either.
Time Management: arrive at work a few minutes early to settle in and greet colleagues.
Return from breaks on time. Every morning, review your workload and schedule so you are
organised for the day.

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Integrity: at all times, act ethically. Suspicious people in the office, misconduct, or other
breaches of company policy must be reported. Keep personal bias and intolerances out of the
workplace.
Safety: comply with the company WHS policy and report any maintenance issues or hazards
as per requirements. Participate in health and safety drills.
Corporate Goals: understand your organisation’s mission, goals and objectives and the part
you play in achieving them.
Dress: dress according to company dress code standards or guidelines. If there aren’t any
explicit dress codes, avoid revealing or provocative clothing that may have offensive language
or images.
Accountability: take responsibility for your work and actions; do not leave work for others to
complete. If things go wrong or you don’t finish something on time, be honest. Consult your
supervisor or colleagues early on to work out an effective resolution.
Teamwork: from time to time we may need to work with people that we do not naturally get on
with. Differences should be set aside to enable positive teamwork. People who work well with
others are often valued employees who are supported in career advancement.
Commitment: a dedicated, positive approach to your job and the organisation can advance
your career. Dedication from employees is often catchy, inspiring others to go the extra mile.

Activity: Watch
Contrast the two parts of the following video. Identify the professional qualities that
are lacking in the first part. Then identify the positive professional values displayed in
the second part.
Funny Ethics Videos – Free Ethical Communication Video Clip | DuPont Sustainable
Solutions.
Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3YFkecPShw (03:46)
Consider how you develop trust and confidence of colleagues in the workplace.
What professional conduct is required to maintain this confidence?

The table below provides a few examples of standards and codes of practice that shape workplace
relationships.

Description Examples
Standards Standards may be
internationally
accepted practices,
government
requirements or
industry
regulations.
ISO 44001:2017 (Collaborative business relationship
management systems)
(
https://www.iso.org/standard/72798.html)
Communicating for safety standard
(
https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/standards/nsqhs
standards/communicating-safety-standard
)


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Description Examples
Disability standards
(
https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/disability
rights/disability-standards
)
Codes of
practice
Codes of practice
provide information
on a specific issue
and help you
achieve legal
standards.
Small business fair dismissal code
(
https://www.fwc.gov.au/about-us/legislation
regulations/small-business-fair-dismissal-code
)
Working hours code of practice
(e.g.
https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/sites/default
/files/atoms/files/copworkinghours.pdf
)
Work health and safety consultation
(
https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_fil
e/0008/21500/whs-consultation-coop-coord-cop-
2011.pdf
)

Table 2: Codes of practice

Activity: Research and discuss
Use the table above and your own research to further investigate the codes of
practice and industry standards that address workplace relationships relevant to
your workplace or field of interest.
Your trainer will facilitate a group discussion to summarise your findings. Take notes
and keep them for future reference.

Organisational policies, procedures and systems
Organisational policies and procedures often reflect legislative and regulatory requirements as well
as the guidelines outlined in standards and codes of practice. These policies and procedures are
used to guide the systems and processes that take place within an organisation.

The content of the policy and related procedures will depend on the nature, industry, operations
and size of the organisation.

The policies may typically address:
WHS consultation and cooperation
Diversity in the workplace
Communication protocols
Conflict management and resolution
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Performance review.
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Activity: Brainstorm
As a group, brainstorm a few more examples of policies and procedures that may
address workplace relationships.
Your trainer will facilitate a group discussion to consolidate and summarise your
notes.

 

Activity: Practical
Review the following sample diversity policies and note down key inclusions:
Policy 1:
https://education.nsw.gov.au/policy-library/policies/workforce-diversity
policy
Policy 2:
https://www.commbank.com.au/content/dam/commbank/assets/about/opportunity
initiatives/cba-spotlight-diversity-and-inclusion-fy18.pdf
Your trainer will facilitate a group discussion to consolidate and summarise your
notes.

 

Activity: Research and discuss
Visit Fair Work Australia’s website and download a copy of the Best Practice Guide –
Effective Dispute Resolution:
https://www.fairwork.gov.au/how-we-will-help/templates-and-guides/best-practice
guides/effective-dispute-resolution
Find a conflict resolution policy for a relevant organisation and compare with the
guide.
Do you think the organisation’s policy is appropriate and covers all issues?
Make notes on aspects of the policy where you recommend amendments. Keep this
policy to use for the role play activity.
The trainer/assessor will facilitate a group discussion about the outcomes from the
research.

 

Activity: Reflect
Which policies and procedures may include provision for support such as guidance,
counselling, mentoring, coaching etc to help staff resolve their work difficulties?


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Activity: Develop
Read the article below about workplace relationship troubles experienced in the
health industry and answer the questions keeping the article in mind.
Article:
https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/obstetricians-resign-en-masse-from
western-sydney-hospital-20201111-p56dqd.html
Assume you are responsible for staffing and scheduling at the hospital:
1. Summarise the article, making note of all existing and potential workplace
relationship issues and conflict.
2. What legislation, regulations, codes of practice and policies and procedures
may apply to the situation?
3. How would you delegate and confirm responsibilities to the doctors for fulfilling
their work tasks?
4. How would you support the team of doctors to perform their work tasks (e.g.
what information is required for the doctors to achieve their work
responsibilities?)
5. Develop two consultation processes for the employees to contribute to issues
related to their work and the issues they are experiencing.
6. How did the doctors escalate the issue?
7. How would you go about resolving the existing conflict?
8. Develop a process that could be used for conflict management in the hospital.
9. Explain how you could provide guidance, counselling and support to assist the
doctors resolve the issues they are facing.
10. Develop a process for hospital staff to follow in future to escalate unresolved
issues (e.g. referring to relevant personnel).
11. How would you communicate the outcomes of the conflict management to the
doctors?
12. How would you seek feedback on the management of workplace relationships
and your leadership style?
13. In what ways can the hospital’s workplace relations leadership improve?

Characteristics of effective workplace relationships

LEAD AND MANAGE
EFFECTIVE WORKPLACE
RELATIONSHIPS
BSBLDR523
STUDENT
GUIDE
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Contents

Overview 3
Topic 1: Characteristics of effective workplace relationships 4
Topic 2: Managing workplace relationships 17
Topic 3: Supporting workplace relationships 24

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Overview

The Student Guide should be used in conjunction with the recommended reading and any further
course notes or activities given by the trainer/assessor.
Application of the unit
This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to lead and manage effective workplace
relationships.
The unit applies to individuals in leadership or management positions who have a prominent role in
establishing and managing processes and procedures to support workplace relationships. These
individuals apply the values, goals and cultural diversity policies of the organisation. They use
complex and diverse methods and procedures as well as a range of problem solving and decisionmaking strategies, which require the exercise of considerable discretion and judgement.
No licensing, legislative or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.
Learning goals
Learning goals include:
You are able to explain and apply the characteristics associated with effective and positive
workplace relationships.
You are able to manage workplace relationships through networking, consultation, conflict
resolution and managing work.
You are able to support workplace relationships by adhering to legislative and organisational
requirements.

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Topic 1: Characteristics of effective workplace
relationships

 

Activity: Reflect
Reflect on your own study and work experience.
Can you think of a specific situation where your relationship with a peer,
employee, colleague or superior has been particularly positive (or negative)?
How did the quality of your relationship affect your work or studies?

Building strong connections in the workplace takes focussed effort and practice. Workplace leaders
and managers are responsible to establish effective processes to facilitate positive, collaborative
and synergic relationships within their team, work unit or organisation.

Positive relationships are important for success, as well as happiness.

Working professionals are more likely to spend more time with their co-workers than their family, so
both professional and personal relationships in the workplace are very important.

Activity: Brainstorm
In a group, brainstorm what an effective workplace relationship looks like.
Your trainer will facilitate a group discussion to summarise your ideas. Take notes
and keep them for future reference.

Image by Tim Douglas on Pexels
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Open communication, acceptance of diversity, mindfulness, mutual respect and trust are all
characteristics of effective workplace relationships (see figure below).
We will discuss each of these characteristics in more detail for the remainder of this topic.
Communication
Communication is key to personal and workplace success – no relationship can prosper without it.
It ensures a human connection and strengthens teams.

Communication must occur in order to transmit information and ideas from one person or place
to another person or place in the clearest and most accurate way as possible.

 

Activity: Watch
Watch the following video that introduces communication.
Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6IAhXM-vps (01:37)

The communication process
The goal of communication is to convey information (and the understanding of that information)
from one person or group to another person or group. The communication process begins with a
sender sending a message using a specific channel of communication (for example, verbally or in
writing). The sender must encode the message before it is sent. Encoding is the process the
Figure 1: Characteristics of effective workplace relationships
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sender follows to decide how to send the message to the receiver and what to include in the
message. This will depend on who the message is sent to as well as the context (for example,
more informal information may be sent through an email as opposed to more formal information
which could be presented in the form of a report).
The receiver then receives the message and must be able to decode it. Decoding is the mental
process to translate the message into understanding.
Sometimes a receiver will give the sender feedback, which is a message sent by the receiver back
to the sender. For example, this could be a question to clarify the information received.

Communication can take place verbally and non-verbally.

 

Activity: Research and discuss
Research ways that communication may take place verbally in the workplace.
Include:
a list of verbal communication methods (e.g. face-to-face discussion, email etc.)
examples in the workplace where each method is appropriate (e.g. performance
review discussion)
Once you’ve completed your list, partner up with another student to compare what
you’ve written. Your trainer will then facilitate a groups discussion to create a
comprehensive list of verbal communication methods and examples.
Take notes to summarise what you have read and keep them for future reference.

While verbal communication is the most obvious type of communication, a large part of the way we
communicate occurs through non-verbal cues in conversations (explained in the next table).

Non-verbal
communication
Description
Body language Body language can reinforce the verbal language you use and how you say
those words. It can also demonstrate your actual feelings if you are angry,
embarrassed or lacking confidence in a conversation.
There are two main facets of body language to consider:
posture – your sitting or standing posture during a conversation is
important. Your posture should be open, with your body turned to face the
other person. Leaning forward slightly conveys you are actively listening.
gestures – simple gestures that indicate you are listening include nodding
your head and opening your palms. Moving hands can communicate a
sense of engagement about a subject. Maintaining eye contact is very
important.


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Non-verbal
communication
Description
Negative body language presents a negative image and can block progress.
Looking at your watch, fiddling with an object or doodling during discussions can
present as not being interested or contrary. Other negative body language to be
avoided includes:
clenching fists
folding arms
rolling eyes
shrugging and shuffling
imitating another person’s negative body language
finger pointing.
Positive body language can be learnt by watching how others behave during
conversations: copy positive gestures and postures and avoid behaviour that
you find repellent.
Eye contact Looking people in the eye when talking to them is a good way to let them know
you are listening to them and interested in what they have to say. Eye contact
can also convey sincerity and confidence, which is often important in business
situations.
When we don’t look the other person in the eye, we can appear disinterested,
nervous, or even untrustworthy. If a business associate forms a negative view of
a person, it can be difficult to reverse this impression, so trying to maintain eye
contact and focusing on the person you are talking with is paramount.
Of course, it is important not to stare at them, accidentally or otherwise.
Facial
expressions
Faces are expressive, and often convey emotions away before we verbally
express what we feel. It is important to try to keep your facial expressions
positive during a business conversation.
Smiling is very important and a genuine smile can help another person relax
during a conversation.
Negative facial expressions should be avoided. These include:
frowning or scowling
glaring
having a blank look on your face
sneering
pouting.

Table 1: Non-verbal communication
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Effective communication skills
Whether you’re communicating verbally, non-verbally or using both, make sure you do it effectively.

Activity: Read
Explore the Business Queensland website by accessing and reading the information
on the following link:
Website:
https://www.business.qld.gov.au/running-business/marketing
sales/managing-relationships/communicating-effectively
Remember to select the “next” button at the bottom of the page to access all
relevant information.
Take notes and keep them for future reference. Your trainer will facilitate a group
discussion to summarise what you’ve learnt.

 

Activity: Watch
Watch the following video showing examples of ineffective communication.
Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FfaPhCKZew (02:31)
As you watch the video, reflect on what has gone wrong.

 

Activity: Further information
If you’re interested, watch the video below for more practical ways to communicate
effectively.
Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gaj3Xl9vasc (35:14)

Diversity
At work (or in your studies), you will constantly be reminded of the fact that no two people are alike.

Always consider the diverse needs and situations of the people you’re working with.

 

Activity: Reflect


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How would you describe yourself? What type of personality do you have?

Valuing difference allows each person to contribute their unique experiences to the workplace and
can impact positively on not only internal activities and relationships, but the experiences of
customers and other stakeholders as well.
Image by fauxels on Pexels

Activity: Watch
Watch this brief video about diversity in the workplace.
Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwKOHv6dJD4 (04:49)

Interpersonal styles

An awareness of your own interpersonal style and the interpersonal style of people you work with
(or study with) is important in determining how you can best work together.

There are many ways to describe personality types and interpersonal styles.
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Activity: Research and discuss
Work together in small groups. Choose one of the articles below (each article uses a
different way to describe interpersonal styles):
Article 1:
https://actt.albertadoctors.org/file/coloursexercise-debriefguide.pdf
Article 2: http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/861003/22807151/1369960838
953/The+importance+of+interpersonal+style.pdf?token=vO9M2PehGqgjEcF
wpnxvFHBCJ80%3D
Article 3: https://www.referenceforbusiness.com/small/Inc-Mail/Interpersonal
Communication.html
1. Read the article.
2. Do additional research to fully understand interpersonal styles.
3. Write a summary of the article and your additional research.
4. Share your work to a larger group (e.g. you may present the work, or provide
other students with a link to your research summary).
5. Your trainer will facilitate a group discussion to consolidate your findings.

In addition to interpersonal styles, there are also different communication and leaderships styles.

Activity: Read
Read the article explaining different communication styles:
Article:
https://www.leadershipiq.com/blogs/leadershipiq/39841409-quiz-whats-your
communication-style
Take notes and keep them for future reference.

 

Activity: Discuss
As a group, discuss:
the article you’ve just read.
examples of how you can adjust your communication style to suit different
audiences.
how a specific communication style can build trust and support positive working
relationships.
Take notes and keep them for future reference.


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Activity: Practical
What is your leadership style? Access the quiz via the link below to find out:
Website:
https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/leadership-style-quiz.htm
Take notes and keep them for future reference.

Cultural considerations
In your day-to-day work and studies, there will be people you interact with who come from diverse
cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

All employees need to show a genuine sense of fairness and goodwill to everyone, no matter what
their race, religion, social status, or other characteristics are.

Consider the following cultural differences in meeting people in business situations for the first time:
In Brazil, an initial handshake is rated highly. There is often a lot of chitchat before the meeting
begins, and the tone set here can be very important in the development of the business
relationship.
Russian business meetings are often serious, formal, and structured. Many Russian
negotiators believe that a formal meeting is serious and should be treated as such. Humour is
rarely used and considered inappropriate.
In Japan and China, formal exchanges of business cards are performed at the beginning of a
first meeting. The respect you show the card reflects the level of respect shown to the person.

Activity: Watch
Watch the following video about cultural display of emotions.
Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwDDb_h2i0A (02:16)

 

Activity: Brainstorm
As a group, brainstorm a few more examples of cultural sensitivities in the workplace.
Take notes and keep them for future reference.

Social considerations
Sometimes the differences that must be taken into account extend to the values, beliefs and world
views adopted by individuals in the workplace. These may include:
political association
religious beliefs
gender
physical or mental disabilities.

Activity: Practical
Spend time learning about your work colleagues or study group’s cultural
backgrounds, world views, values and beliefs.
1. Select one culture, world view or value/belief that is different to yours.
2. Research the culture/world view/value/belief as it relates to the workplace (e.g.
by talking to a person from that culture).
3. How does the culture/world view/value/belief impact workplace relationships.
4. Are there any special considerations or provisions that must be made to ensure
positive and effective workplace relationships?
5. Discuss your findings in a small group (each group member will have a turn to
present their findings).
6. Take notes and keep them for future reference.

 

Activity: Watch
Watch the following videos which highlight small prejudices in the workplace.
Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqLFIOx-33Q (01:34)
Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cj9sdNXjcW4 (02:11)

 

Activity: Discuss
As a group, discuss examples of any other prejudices or cultural/social insensitivities
that may present in the workplace.
Take notes and keep them for future reference.

Mindfulness and mutual respect
Good leaders and managers consider how different perspectives, situations and contexts affect
meaning and messaging in the workplace.

Activity: Reflect
“People imitate their leader. Lead by example.” (Barbara Corcoran).
How does this quote relate to communication, diversity, mindfulness, mutual respect
and trust (all characteristics of positive relationships in the workplace)?


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Mindfulness and mutual respect involves:
identifying shared perspectives and trying to understand alternative perspectives
challenging assumptions about self or others (assumptions can be based on stereotypes,
prejudice, biases, conscious or unconscious attitudes)
engaging with people and responding flexibly and positively in diverse groups.
addressing micro-inequities that you observe
taking action within the team to mitigate the impact of systemic inequities
using a variety of strategies to develop trust amongst the team.
provide support to colleagues and team members on how to work effectively in a diverse team
(support can be provided through coaching, mentoring, training, feedback, recognition,
commitment, information, resources, tools).
It may be necessary to provide translations of information both verbally and non-verbally. Ways of
communicating that take culture into account include:
speaking clearly and without jargon or by providing additional explanations when needed
face-to-face meetings with bilingual staff or specialist support services
noticeboards, posters, pamphlets and displays that incorporate the home languages
represented in the organisation
web pages with translated information and videos
mastering a few key phrases in a range of languages might be a great way to build rapport.
An inclusive leader will acknowledge their own biases and consistently demonstrate inclusive
behaviour.
This can involve actively seeking to network with a broad diversity of people as well as taking
opportunities to challenge common myths, perceptions and stereotypes about people, diversity and
inclusion. In practice this may mean challenging a comment made at an executive leadership
meeting that is intended to be humorous, but which reflects a common stereotype.

Activity: Practical
Consider the following scenario:
Steve was an enthusiastic and committed member of the leadership team. When he
returned to work, after a holiday, he seemed withdrawn and preoccupied. Recently
he has been contributing very little to team meetings and asked for people not to
refer to him as “The Greek”. Members of the team are expressing concern about
Steve’s behaviour, which is beginning to affect the morale of the team.
1. As the leader of the team how would you deal with this situation? Write down
some guidelines, which may help to resolve the problem.


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2. Consider how you would approach Steve, discuss the problem, acknowledge
his feelings, promote diversity, encourage him to discuss his feelings, come to a
solution and provide feedback to the team.
3. What are the likely consequences of failing to take action?
4. How could you as leader seek feedback about workplace relationships and your
leadership style to prevent a situation like this from happening again?
5. How could you potentially improve your leadership for improved workplace
relations? (make as many assumptions as necessary to answer this questions).
Your trainer will facilitate a class discussion to consolidate your work.


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Topic 2: Managing workplace relationships

This topic focuses on managing working place relationships. It explores how effective workplace
relationships can be established and managed to ensure the ongoing success of individuals, teams
and whole organisations. This may be through networking, consultation, conflict resolution and
work allocation, monitoring, evaluation and support.
Networking

A network is essentially a group of people who cooperate with each other.

Networking is about interacting with professional contacts to exchange information. It can involve
working closely with colleagues to identify potential future needs or challenges and developing
strategies to manage them.
Networking also relates to the process of participation in issues within a workplace. Colleagues can
together to discuss concerns and developing solutions. Networks can develop amongst workers in
the organisation and people in the community where they have a stake in the business activities of
the organisation.
Networks are formed, for example, to:
accomplish outcomes
provide information (networking is ideal for expanding your knowledge by taking advantage of
the viewpoints and prior experience of others)
debrief about current, relevant issues
maintain contact with other professionals
help an organisation stay current with industry trends
work collaboratively to better meet the needs of the organisation and customers
establish new contacts and/or generate referrals
learn about the role, services and resources of other organisations
help identify opportunities for partnerships, joint ventures, or new areas of expansion for your
business.
Developing a network of contacts both inside and outside of your organisation can be beneficial in
many ways, especially for career advancement or if you plan to start your own company at some
point in the future. Networks can create a sense of common support and thereby help to strengthen
individuals, the work team, as well as the organisation overall.

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Activity: Watch
The following clip provides some tips to why business networking is beneficial.
Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFjp7Q5WAro (03:03)

Here are a few practical tips to maintain internal and external networks at work:
Once you have joined or created a networking group (whether in person or on-line) it is
important to maintain regular and consistent contact with the people in your networks.
Contact with your network may involve face-to-face meetings, video conference calls or online
forums.
Network meetings may be planned for weekly occurrences, fortnightly, monthly or quarterly.
Make sure you diarise your next meeting to ensure your attendance.
If your network meets online, a successful communication tactic is to periodically meet with
people in your network face to face. It’s much more personal, and much more fun too. When
you cannot meet in person, then a phone call or personal note can also be effective.
Where possible, practice networking by attending lots of different networking events. You will
meet many interesting people and contacts, some of which will become great clients,
colleagues or friends.
If your network produces a newsletter, then it is important to plan time to read it and keep up
to date with current issues.

Activity: Discuss
As a group, discuss the concept of e-networking – using social networking in a
business sense.
Take notes and keep them for future reference.

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Activity: Practical
1. Set up your own social media network (the topic can be an individual blog or
one set by the trainer).
Take this opportunity to explore different forms of social networking which you
may not already be involved in; for example WeChat.
2. Set up your own LinkedIn or professional networking site of your choice. This
will require you to complete your profile – you will need access to your CV so
that you can include all the relevant information.
Once you have set up your accounts for both sites and entered
profiles/information, you should then start interacting/networking with other
classmates (and the trainer/assessor). Also, you should become a friend on the
class Facebook page or site that has been set up and post at least one item.
3. Once both sites are set up and you have created some networking or social
interaction either internally or externally, write a brief report of your experience,
using the following prompts:
i. State the platform used to set up the networking.
ii. Which site would you use the most for networking and why?
iii. What outcomes can be measured to show that networks put in place are
actually building effective workplace relationships?
Your trainer will facilitate a group discussion about the outcomes.

Consultation

Consultation involves leaders in the company actively seeking and taking account of the views of all
staff before making a decision. When a decision is made then the rationale for the decision is
explained to the team.

Consultation is about involving and developing people in an organisation. Staff are able to perform
at their optimum when they are clear about their duties, obligations and rights and have avenues
for communicating their views to management on issues that affect them.

Activity: Brainstorm
As a group, brainstorm situations where consultation may be necessary in a
workplace situation. Explain how the collaboration can be used to engage and
motivate others.


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Activity: Reflect
Have you ever been asked for your opinion on certain workplace/study issues (e.g.
workload)?
How have you sought the views, opinion or experience of others in the workplace or
place of study?
How did you use the views/opinion or experience of others to inform your decision?

Good consultation can improve organisational decision-making as well as the overall management
performance.
There are a number of ways to consult with staff such as through face-to-face meetings, social
media platforms, feedback boxes or surveys.

Activity: Research and discuss
Research different methods that can be used to develop consultation processes in
an organisation.
Write a brief summary report with a list of methods, and examples to illustrate
how/when the method is suitable.
Your trainer will facilitate a group discussion about the outcomes of your meeting.

Conflict resolution
People spend long hours of their adult lives at work, and for many, workplace issues commonly
cause stress. It is not possible to have a workplace where the whole team meshes all the time
without any conflict. Differing roles, approaches, expectations, and personalities can all cause
conflict at various times.

Activity: Discuss
Before we continue, make sure everyone has the same understanding of what
conflict is.
As a group, define “conflict” as it occurs in the workplace.
Take notes and keep them for future reference.

 

Activity: Reflect
Have you ever experienced conflict in your workplace or place of study?


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How has trust influenced the outcome of the conflict?

Common workplace issues that employees face include:
interpersonal conflict
communication problems.

Activity: Brainstorm
As a group, brainstorm practical examples of workplace conflict. Take notes and
keep them for future reference.

 

Conflict is not necessarily a bad thing and does not mean that the workplace relationships are
negative.

If the workplace relationship includes trust, conflict
will be managed and resolved to further
strengthen the working relationship. However, if
the conflict is left unresolved, some workplace
issues may cause negative psychological
symptoms such as depression and anxiety.
Think back to what you learnt about diversity – no
two people are alike. This also applies to how
individual people participate in conflict and attempt
to resolve it.

Activity: Research and discuss
Work in a small group to:
1. Research conflict resolution strategies.
2. Choose one strategy and summarise it.
3. Share your research with the bigger group (e.g. you may present the work, or
provide other students with a link to your research summary).
4. Your trainer will facilitate a group discussion to consolidate your findings.

 

Activity: Watch
Watch the video below which summarises conflict resolution.

Image by Alex Green on Pexels
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Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY5TWVz5ZDU (03:33)
Take notes and keep them for future reference.

 

Activity: Reflect
How do you usually react to conflict?
Can you improve your conflict resolution skills?

 

Activity: Practical
Work in pairs to practice conflict resolution using an appropriate conflict resolution
strategy.
Choose one example of workplace conflict (brainstormed previously in this section)
and role play the situation.
Conduct your conflict in front of another pair of students and ask for their feedback.

Managing work
As a manager and part of ensuring effective workplace relationships, your role will include
providing information to your team to ensure they are able to achieve their work responsibilities.
The information you provide to your staff is wide-ranging and may include any or all of the
following:
Strategic Plans – that outline the organisation’s vision, mission and values and key objectives,
goals and directions
Operational Plans – that outline the organisation’s activities that align with its strategic
directions.
Team Performance Plans – that outline the team activities to be completed to achieve the
overall organisational objectives
Policies and Procedures – that outline the organisation’s overall direction and specific
processes to achieve that direction
Standard Operating Procedures – specific procedures that must be followed to achieve
specific activities
Position descriptions and key performance indicators.
Work plans and project schedules.
Performance evaluation and feedback.
You may communicate this information to your team in a number of ways, for example through:

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Induction – when an employee commences employment, they should be provided with
information so that they understand their role and responsibilities as well as the organisation’s
procedures
Emails – for example, with directions to complete specific activities
Memos – again to include directions to complete specific activities
Meetings – to discuss information that concerns work responsibilities.

Activity: Practical
Base this practical on your RTO and the course you are currently completing:
1. How are your responsibilities for tasks assigned (or delegated) to you and
confirmed?
2. In what ways do you collaborate to perform tasks?
3. How do you support others to perform their tasks?
4. What potential relationship issues may arise as tasks are performed?
5. How might the relationship issues be resolved?
6. What communication is required to resolve issues (before, during and after)?


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Topic 3: Supporting workplace relationships

Leading and managing effective workplace relationships may be daunting. However, there is
support and guidance to help you along. This topic further explores the legislative and
organisational support for managing workplace relationships.

Support and guidance is available in the form of:
legislative requirements
regulatory obligations
code of practices
industry standards
organisational policies, procedures and systems.

Legislation, standards/code of practices and organisational policies and procedures are put in
place to make sure everyone is as safe as possible and to ensure a successful outcome for the
business or organisation. Workplace problems (including relationships) often occur due to a
deviation from one of these.
Legislative and regulatory requirements

Activity: Research and discuss
Work in small groups to research the legislation and regulatory requirements that
applies to your workplace and/or industry of interest and addresses workplace
relationships. Remember that the state(s) and/or territory you live or work in may
influence which legislation applies. As part of your research, you may consider:
Data privacy legislation
Fair Work Act
Corporations Act
Sexual and disability discrimination legislation
WHS legislation
Take notes and keep them for future reference. Your trainer will facilitate a group
discussion to summarise your findings.


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Codes of practice and industry standards
Leaders and managers need to ensure that the organisation’s ethical values are understood and
followed. Having clear direction on ethics to be followed is very important as it reduces
organisational risk and enhances performance.
Ethics are essentially the moral guidelines that an organisation requires all their staff to follow.
While workplace ethics may vary from industry to industry, there are common ethical values that
would apply to most workplaces.
Ethical values are almost always contained in Code of Conducts and related procedures.
Examples of ethical values are:
Values in relation to workplace behaviour (for example, treating others with respect, integrity
and impartiality).
Values in relation to gifts (for example, are staff allowed to accept gifts from customers?)
Values in relation to conflicts of interest (for example, what constitutes a conflict of interest and
how it must be declared?)
Following a code of conduct and implementing ethical values, as well as supporting diversity are all
part of the professional conduct expected at work. Conducting yourself professionally and gaining
and maintaining the trust and confidence of people you work with also includes a range of other
factors such as:
Honesty: never share confidential or client information unless authorised to do so. You
shouldn’t tolerate or justify dishonest conduct by others. Any conflicts of interest should be
reported to managers immediately.
Respect: a respectful attitude to others must be maintained at all times, even during trying
times. Don’t verbally abuse colleagues or disrespect anyone. Language used, whether verbal
or written must be appropriate. Swearing is not acceptable. Where errors or
misunderstandings have occurred, staff should apologise. Personal opinions of others must be
kept private.
Meetings: be on time and prepared by reviewing the agenda or meeting notes prior to the
scheduled meeting. Contribute to discussions where this is appropriate, but do not dominate
when someone else is contributing. Respect the meeting chair, follow the appropriate format,
and ask intelligent questions.
Communication: speak clearly with language that is easily understood by everyone at the
meeting. Be courteous and use polite language. Follow organisational guidelines regarding
content. Read information provided before asking questions. Listen to others when they are
talking, and don’t participate in office tattle. Be careful of language and tone in written
communication, and don’t copy in others unnecessarily when emailing or intentionally exclude
others either.
Time Management: arrive at work a few minutes early to settle in and greet colleagues.
Return from breaks on time. Every morning, review your workload and schedule so you are
organised for the day.

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Integrity: at all times, act ethically. Suspicious people in the office, misconduct, or other
breaches of company policy must be reported. Keep personal bias and intolerances out of the
workplace.
Safety: comply with the company WHS policy and report any maintenance issues or hazards
as per requirements. Participate in health and safety drills.
Corporate Goals: understand your organisation’s mission, goals and objectives and the part
you play in achieving them.
Dress: dress according to company dress code standards or guidelines. If there aren’t any
explicit dress codes, avoid revealing or provocative clothing that may have offensive language
or images.
Accountability: take responsibility for your work and actions; do not leave work for others to
complete. If things go wrong or you don’t finish something on time, be honest. Consult your
supervisor or colleagues early on to work out an effective resolution.
Teamwork: from time to time we may need to work with people that we do not naturally get on
with. Differences should be set aside to enable positive teamwork. People who work well with
others are often valued employees who are supported in career advancement.
Commitment: a dedicated, positive approach to your job and the organisation can advance
your career. Dedication from employees is often catchy, inspiring others to go the extra mile.

Activity: Watch
Contrast the two parts of the following video. Identify the professional qualities that
are lacking in the first part. Then identify the positive professional values displayed in
the second part.
Funny Ethics Videos – Free Ethical Communication Video Clip | DuPont Sustainable
Solutions.
Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3YFkecPShw (03:46)
Consider how you develop trust and confidence of colleagues in the workplace.
What professional conduct is required to maintain this confidence?

The table below provides a few examples of standards and codes of practice that shape workplace
relationships.

Description Examples
Standards Standards may be
internationally
accepted practices,
government
requirements or
industry
regulations.
ISO 44001:2017 (Collaborative business relationship
management systems)
(
https://www.iso.org/standard/72798.html)
Communicating for safety standard
(
https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/standards/nsqhs
standards/communicating-safety-standard
)


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Description Examples
Disability standards
(
https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/disability
rights/disability-standards
)
Codes of
practice
Codes of practice
provide information
on a specific issue
and help you
achieve legal
standards.
Small business fair dismissal code
(
https://www.fwc.gov.au/about-us/legislation
regulations/small-business-fair-dismissal-code
)
Working hours code of practice
(e.g.
https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/sites/default
/files/atoms/files/copworkinghours.pdf
)
Work health and safety consultation
(
https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_fil
e/0008/21500/whs-consultation-coop-coord-cop-
2011.pdf
)

Table 2: Codes of practice

Activity: Research and discuss
Use the table above and your own research to further investigate the codes of
practice and industry standards that address workplace relationships relevant to
your workplace or field of interest.
Your trainer will facilitate a group discussion to summarise your findings. Take notes
and keep them for future reference.

Organisational policies, procedures and systems
Organisational policies and procedures often reflect legislative and regulatory requirements as well
as the guidelines outlined in standards and codes of practice. These policies and procedures are
used to guide the systems and processes that take place within an organisation.

The content of the policy and related procedures will depend on the nature, industry, operations
and size of the organisation.

The policies may typically address:
WHS consultation and cooperation
Diversity in the workplace
Communication protocols
Conflict management and resolution
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Performance review.
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Activity: Brainstorm
As a group, brainstorm a few more examples of policies and procedures that may
address workplace relationships.
Your trainer will facilitate a group discussion to consolidate and summarise your
notes.

 

Activity: Practical
Review the following sample diversity policies and note down key inclusions:
Policy 1:
https://education.nsw.gov.au/policy-library/policies/workforce-diversity
policy
Policy 2:
https://www.commbank.com.au/content/dam/commbank/assets/about/opportunity
initiatives/cba-spotlight-diversity-and-inclusion-fy18.pdf
Your trainer will facilitate a group discussion to consolidate and summarise your
notes.

 

Activity: Research and discuss
Visit Fair Work Australia’s website and download a copy of the Best Practice Guide –
Effective Dispute Resolution:
https://www.fairwork.gov.au/how-we-will-help/templates-and-guides/best-practice
guides/effective-dispute-resolution
Find a conflict resolution policy for a relevant organisation and compare with the
guide.
Do you think the organisation’s policy is appropriate and covers all issues?
Make notes on aspects of the policy where you recommend amendments. Keep this
policy to use for the role play activity.
The trainer/assessor will facilitate a group discussion about the outcomes from the
research.

 

Activity: Reflect
Which policies and procedures may include provision for support such as guidance,
counselling, mentoring, coaching etc to help staff resolve their work difficulties?


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Activity: Develop
Read the article below about workplace relationship troubles experienced in the
health industry and answer the questions keeping the article in mind.
Article:
https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/obstetricians-resign-en-masse-from
western-sydney-hospital-20201111-p56dqd.html
Assume you are responsible for staffing and scheduling at the hospital:
1. Summarise the article, making note of all existing and potential workplace
relationship issues and conflict.
2. What legislation, regulations, codes of practice and policies and procedures
may apply to the situation?
3. How would you delegate and confirm responsibilities to the doctors for fulfilling
their work tasks?
4. How would you support the team of doctors to perform their work tasks (e.g.
what information is required for the doctors to achieve their work
responsibilities?)
5. Develop two consultation processes for the employees to contribute to issues
related to their work and the issues they are experiencing.
6. How did the doctors escalate the issue?
7. How would you go about resolving the existing conflict?
8. Develop a process that could be used for conflict management in the hospital.
9. Explain how you could provide guidance, counselling and support to assist the
doctors resolve the issues they are facing.
10. Develop a process for hospital staff to follow in future to escalate unresolved
issues (e.g. referring to relevant personnel).
11. How would you communicate the outcomes of the conflict management to the
doctors?
12. How would you seek feedback on the management of workplace relationships
and your leadership style?
13. In what ways can the hospital’s workplace relations leadership improve?