February 06, 2018

World Health Organization Ombuds Says Dysfunctional Management is Impacting Mission

Last week, the Ombudsman for the international public health agency told leadership that managers lack the interpersonal skills required for effective team communications, constructive conversations about performance, and conflict resolution. The report was published by Devex, a media platform for the global development community. According to the report, the Ombuds told WHO's executive board about a number of cases of “dysfunctional” relationships between managers and staff across the three country, regional, and headquarters levels of the organization. 

According to the Ombuds, “There appears to be a prevalent perception among staff that the secretariat tolerates disrespectful behavior at different levels, and is not doing enough to put an end to these types of situations, particularly harassment.” The Ombuds, who is not named in the report, had at least two recommendations: 1. Invest in manager trainings to improve their communication and conflict management skills, as well as cultural competencies; and 2. Establish a program allowing different stakeholders to provide confidential feedback to managers on their leadership. This way, any necessary actions, such as additional trainings, can be put in place. José Martínez-Aragón has been the Ombudsman for the World Health Organization since January 2015. (Devex News.) 

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