Disabilities and South African law: Know your rights

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Manage conflict at work

Disagreements are inevitable, but there is always an opportunity to learn from them and potentially come to a better understanding. Read on for advice on what to do when you disagree in the workplace.

In the book Collective Genius, coauthor and Harvard Business School professor Linda Hill says, ‘[Diversity and conflict] are the critical ingredients to innovative solutions. When I looked at healthy organisations, I found that they build these norms in, where it’s psychologically safe to have conflict and discussion.’

Creating a safe space where conflict and disagreements are welcome can be tricky, but it is beneficial. You should strive for a healthy work environment at all times. These tips might help:

1. Be clear

Articulate the issue clearly. Most arguments stem from one party not expressing their view explicitly, resulting in the other party interpreting what is being said incorrectly. Don’t be afraid to be direct and upfront, but make sure you do it in a respectful manner that leaves no room for ambiguity.

2. Know that you’re not always right

Approach every argument as a learning experience. It’s human nature to always want to be right, so taking a step down can be tough. In the workplace, it’s about finding the best solution that works for everyone. Set aside your pride and use constructive criticism for professional improvement. It’s also a good idea to ask questions in order to gain a better understanding of the other person’s point of view.

3. Listen and accept feedback

After you’ve stated your side of the argument, be ready to hear and accept feedback. Listening is an important part of resolving an argument: you can gain perspective about the argument and your argument style from what others tell you. Feedback may not always be constructive, but it can help you and the opposing party find opportunities for compromise.

4. Calm down

If the conversation becomes heated, take a step back. Disagreement should not be a catalyst for rudeness or aggressive behaviour. Always be civil and remember that the goal is to find a solution that works for everyone, not break your team apart in the office.

The information is shared on condition that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a healthcare professional. E&OE.


What you can learn from influential women

Success can mean different things to different people: a large salary in your bank account, a promotion, succeeding at starting a new business or seeing your children graduate. Whatever your definition of success, we’ve put together a list of influential women who have valuable advice to share to help you make your aspirations a reality.

1. Gender parity can be a motivator

‘How can we ensure we get equality in our homes, in our communities, in our places of work? I think you have to start at home. Bill [Gates] was the top of the biggest, at the time, software company in the world, and of course he was used to being the CEO. So when he retired we had to really look at that and say: “Okay, well, why am I driving the kids to school more? Who’s getting them ready for school? Who’s participating in what roles?” Unless you have those uncomfortable conversations in your marriage, and you make sure you have equality there, at least for me, I didn’t feel like I could be out in the community talking about equality.’
Melinda Gates, American philanthropist, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and former general manager of Microsoft

2. Achieving success comes with embracing the risks

‘Is taking a risk a good idea? I have no idea! That is why it’s a risk, right? There is no right time, but there is an inner knowing when you want to go ahead and do the unthinkable. Following your inner knowing is always a good idea. The risk might not always work out the way you thought it would, but following through is what improves your ability to be daring. Building that muscle is what makes you comfortable with change and unfamiliar spaces.’
Pride Maunatlala, Head of Marketing at The Foschini Group

3. You can learn from your past actions

’Just trying to figure out how to balance being a mother of a six-year-old and twins that need me, and giving myself creatively and physically – it was a lot to juggle. It’s not like before when I could rehearse 15 hours straight. I have children; I have a husband; and I have to take care of my body. I definitely pushed myself further than I knew I could and I learnt a very valuable lesson: I will never, never, push myself that far again.’
Beyoncé, entertainer and performer, on her 2018 Coachella performance

4. You can forge your own path

‘As a researcher, you are often told you should read all the available literature and build on it. But this locks your thinking and then you fall into the same traps as the other researchers. I approached [my] problem as if it were an untouched area of research.’
Fatima AlZahra’a Alatraktchi, nanophysicist and inventor of PreDiagnose, a tool that can detect problematic bacterial infections faster than traditional methods

5. Be open to accepting advice and help

‘I was very aware that even when I announced that I was having [a baby], that there was this sense that I needed to somehow prove that it was possible for women to do everything. And I have always been open about saying that actually, I can’t. I can’t physically do the job of being prime minister and mother by myself. … I do what I do because I have the support and help and co-parenting of my partner. That’s how I do what I do; I’m not a superwoman, and we shouldn’t pretend that we are – that does a disservice to all women and raises expectations that no one can meet.’
Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand

The information is shared on condition that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a healthcare professional. E&OE.


Sex education: How to talk to your child

You can never start too soon when it comes to talking to your child about sex. How do you broach the subject and how much detail is appropriate?

Today’s Parent makes the good – and potentially scary – point for many parents that we’re sexual beings from birth. Tara Johnson, a sexuality education specialist, says infants are curious about their bodies and will often touch their genitals. Toddlers also have no sense of privacy and may masturbate openly. This is why it’s important to educate your child as early as possible about their bodies and sex. What you share and how you share it is dependent on many factors, including their age.

0–2 years old

Today’s Parent suggests 2 points to include during this life stage:

  1. Allow your child to explore his or her body, but also teach them when it’s appropriate to do so. Don’t scold or embarrass them; simply explain that we don’t show our underwear in public, for example.
  2. Teach him or her the correct terminology of all their body parts. This discourages feelings of shame or shyness about their genitals from the beginning.

3–5 years old

Start teaching the difference between good touching and bad touching. Without alarming your child, explain that their genitals are private and they shouldn’t allow anyone except their parents or a doctor (when they have a check-up) to touch them.

Today’s Parent adds that children are intensely curious at this point and that it’s important to answer their questions correctly as they’re also very imaginative and susceptible at this stage. How much you share should be dependent on how much your child wants to know. You don’t have to go into too much detail – your child will no doubt have a short attention span and may be overwhelmed if the information is too complex.

6–8 years old

Show yourself to be a non-judgmental, honest parent at this stage, says Planned Parenthood. If your child asks a question (even if it’s about oral sex, for example), answer in simple terms but truthfully. At this stage, your child will be in primary school, where they’ll come into contact with other curious children and adolescents who may take it upon themselves to share (possibly inaccurate) information.

Your child is also only a few years away from entering puberty, so this is a good time to start preparing them. You can give them an educational book and encourage them to approach you if they have any questions after reading.

9–12 years old

By the time your child reaches puberty, you want to have established an open relationship with him or her. Your child will be going through physical and emotional changes that could be overwhelming. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) lists depression, anger and low self-esteem as some of the feelings your child could be experiencing. Offer support and remind them that their home is a safe space.

Now is also the time to make sure your child knows how to practise safe sex. Talk about romantic relationships as well. It may seem too early to do so, but once your child reaches their teens, they may start engaging more with the opposite sex and it’s important to teach them to be respectful of their own and others’ bodies. You also want to educate them about the emotional aspects of being in a romantic relationship, including break-ups and rejection, so that they’re able to handle these negative emotions when the time comes.

As they become more interested in romantic relationships, they’ll start questioning their gender and sexual orientation. Remain open and non-judgmental and don’t assume that they’re ‘going through a phase’ – what your child is experiencing is very real and how you handle it will greatly influence how they feel about themselves. If your child ‘comes out’ to you, educate them and yourself, if necessary, and respect them. Follow their lead.

13–18 years old

At this stage, hormones will be informing a lot of your child’s decisions. They might be experiencing pressure from their peers to have sex. If they trust you and are willing to come to you for advice, don’t become angry or judgmental. Remember that everyone has experienced this and how you and your child handle these moments will inform their relationships going forward. Make them aware and be sure they understand the emotional (and legal, if they’re below the age of consent) consequences that come with sex.

If your child thinks he or she is ready for sex, talk to them about their contraceptive options as well as sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Provide additional resources, such as educational books or appropriate online articles, as children are also easily influenced by what they see and hear. If they want to use contraceptives, go with them to a clinic to show your support and help them make an informed decision.

News24 offers the following tips on how to talk to your child at any stage:

  • Remain calm so your child doesn’t think he or she did or said something wrong.
  • It’s natural to feel embarrassed when talking about sex but it’s important to do so. The more you talk about it, the less likely your child will be to engage in inappropriate sexual behaviour when they’re older.
  • Use cues from their environment. For example, if your child hears about something relating to sex on the news, use the opportunity to talk about the subject.

For confidential assistance, contact your CAREWAYS EMPLOYEE WELLNESS PROGRAMME; SMS your name to 31581 and the Care Centre will call you back.

The information is shared on condition that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a healthcare professional. E&OE.


Social media: A legal minefield

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What does it mean to be a parent?

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Rules are made to be broken

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Conflict resolution at work

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