In this article I want to cover what some of your rights are in the workplace. With this I don’t mean things like the right to regular breaks and access to coffee etc. What I mean is your professional rights when working on projects in a team, and these rights are very important if you are ever in a position of conflict with another person on your team. It is in times of conflict that rights are very important, so they are described below from that perspective.
The rights are:
- To be treated with respect. No matter what you dispute is, you all deserve to be treated with respect no matter what the outcome is.
- To hold my views and have them heard. You have the right to an opinion just as the other people in a conflict do, and it is all your right to express these viewpoint as long as you treat each other with respect.
- To have my own feelings and have them taken seriously. Everyone has feelings and people’s feelings can change depending on the situation. This is ok and expected. It is very important that you take other peoples feeling seriously. If someone is upset, even if you think they shouldn’t be, then you have to take this seriously and try to empathise with their situation.
- To make and arrange my own priorities. In a professional workplace, people generally want to do well and achieve. Part of helping people to do this is when they can set their own priorities in their work. Sure they may get an overall steer from their management, but then people should have the right to decide how they are going to achieve these goals with their teams.
- To make mistakes. This one is very important. Everyone should have the right to make mistakes. This is after-all how we learn best by recovering from a mistake and learning something new. There is nothing worse than working in an environment where people fear making mistakes and this can itself lead to conflict as people start blaming each other. Mistakes happen, it’s only natural, and people have the right to make these mistakes and learn from them.
- To change my mind. When someone makes a decision with the best information they have at the time, they also have the right to change their mind. This could be because they are in possession of facts that they didn’t have at the time. If people are accepting of this, then it can do a long way to avoiding conflict.
- To choose to not answer personal or intrusive questions. When people go to work, they are there to do a job and then be paid for it. As people build bonds on a team they will no doubt discuss their personal lives, but if you or they are in a conflict position, then it is everyone’s right not to answer questions that relates to their personal lives outside of the professional environment.
- To refuse without feeling guilty. Throughout our professional lives we will be asked many times to work on different tasks. There may even be a time where we don’t want to do a task for a perfectly valid reason and refuse. This is our right, but it must be exercised carefully. There is a difference between refusing a piece of work for a specific reason and just being evasive and not doing our jobs.