Suzie Cro, Freedom to Speak Up Guardian at Gloucestershire Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust, was contacted by a colleague at work by email asking to come and speak to her.

“When my colleague came to see me, what they were describing was the start of a relationship breakdown with their line manager,” Suzie said.

“An incident had happened and things were said in anger. A previously comfortable relationship had turned sour. Resentment and ill-feeling seemed to grow on a daily basis and this had now being going on for months,” Suzie said. “The bad feeling was spreading as it felt like people had taken sides.”

Work was making the colleague feel very stressed; they wanted to leave and did not know how to get things back to the way they were. They hated coming to work and felt disengaged.

A resolution model was used to help the worker articulate what this situation would look like if it was resolved. The worker wanted to go back to having the relationship they needed from their line manager and was clear that they wanted to manage the situation themselves.

It was agreed that coaching sessions might be beneficial and these were arranged. In the trust, in speaking up situations, workers can get an urgent coaching appointment to help them resolve issues.

After two coaching sessions, the worker felt able to have the conversation they were dreading.

“After the conversation, the colleague came back to feed back to me,” said Suzie. “They felt empowered that they had fixed the situation themselves.

“After the difficult honest conversation, the line manager and the worker were able to get back to talking again and were repairing their relationship.”

This case study was part of our 100 Voices publication which accompanied the 2019 Annual Report.

Case studies are vital to illustrate the good work of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians. We encourage all organisations to share the learning from their speaking up stories.

If you have a Freedom to Speak Up story to share, please send an email to [email protected]