The Foreign Service Journal, April 2024

26 APRIL 2024 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL The following is a true story of conflict conquered in a country that shall remain renamed. … In the faraway Kingdom of Kabau, the U.S. embassy’s public aairs (PA) section was plagued by all the markers of an ineective and undesirable workplace: outbursts, shouting, lack of adherence to boundaries, and failed communication. The PA section had a dozen sta members, was within a midsize embassy, and was under constant pressure because of high-level visits to this popular and prominent kingdom. The o„ce leadership was exasperated, without solutions; and these issues were negatively aecting their ability to deliver on their mission. Does this situation sound familiar? If so, you can do what the embassy in Kabau did. They recognized that temporary fixes were not enough, and to find a long-term solution, they needed to get some outside, objective support. PA leadership contacted the O„ce of the Ombuds (S/O). S/O sta listened attentively, assessed the situation, and swiftly identified an action plan. Leveraging their expertise in mitigating workplace conflict, S/O sta scheduled several one-on-one coaching calls with members of the PA team over the next few weeks. S/O then traveled to Kabau to meet with the full PA section, conducted skills-building sessions, facilitated conversations, and provided specific recommendations on the positive path forward. Following the monthlong intervention, sta described feeling “supported and trusted,” and the next VIP visit was a conflict-free success. Brianna Bailey-Gevlin joined the State Department Foreign Service in 2017. After completing two tours (in Lagos and Bridgetown), she transitioned to Civil Service and now works in the O ce of the Ombuds. Her spouse, Sarah, is an FSO currently posted to Copenhagen. ey have one child together. Straight from the Source O ce of the Ombuds Takes on at State FOCUS ON WORKPLACE WELL-BEING A decade after its establishment, this oce is finally getting funding to address bullying and incivility. BY BRIANNA BAILEY-GEVLIN MARK SMITH Bu ying