Jon Wortmann, principal of Novel Communication LLC, coached humnan resources professionals on conflict management during the Massachusetts Municipal Human Resources holiday meeting on Dec. 7.

The Massachusetts Municipal Human Resources holiday meeting today featured registered dietitian Heidi Roth discussing healthy eating during the holidays, and Jon Wortmann on conflict management.

Roth, owner of Heidi Roth Nutrition, shared strategies to avoid overeating during holiday festivities and to prioritize healthy habits, including how to choose a more balanced plate and practicing mindfulness. She also offered tips for modifying favorite recipes to make them healthier. Her session was accompanied by a virtual recipe swap, where members shared favorite recipes with colleagues.

Wortmann, principal of Novel Communication LLC, presented the workshop “Who Are You? Who Are They? How to Unstick Your Brain and Relationships.” He coached participants on using a series of quick assessments to understand their personality, communication style, conflict style, motivations and values — as well as those of others — in order to navigate conflicts in the workplace and reach resolutions.

Wortmann was assisted by a panel of three MMHR members: Pittsfield Human Resources Director Michael Taylor, South Hadley Assistant Town Administrator and Human Resources Director Chuck Romboletti, and Shrewsbury Human Resources Director Kristina Ordung. Wortmann began by assessing each panelist’s stress level when it came to a recent workplace conflict they had experienced.

“Your alarm … is trying to protect you,” he said. “So when it sends this spike of adrenaline around the person that drives you crazy, it’s because that relationship isn’t right.”

The panelists then worked through each assessment in real time. Together, the assessments provided a framework that municipal human resources professionals can use to better understand themselves and their employees.

“The thing that’s so important as people professionals, as HR leaders, is that we’re not just compliance experts,” Wortmann said. “In the new world of HR, you are relationship experts. … You have to understand people’s points of view, the things that are most important to them, and the way they think.”


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