The value of conflict

Have you ever found yourself thinking “If they would just listen to me, we could finally make some progress!” You begin to judge others as difficult, maybe even incompetent. You feel self-righteous, misunderstood, unappreciated, frustrated, or worse, ignored. Your motive shifts from wanting to solve the problem, to wanting to prove you are right, and…

Working with emotions in the room

I recently conducted a team building workshop for a group of employees experiencing rapid, massive change in their organization. Teams that had worked together for years were ending. Some people were leaving the organization. Others were staying, but losing longtime relationships and familiar surroundings as they transitioned into new teams and new locations. I asked…

Feedback that builds relationship

A supervisor recently sent us this question: I am a supervisor with several direct reports. I have good relations with all of them, except one. I recently had to give her performance feedback to help her get back on track with her peers. She became defensive, blamed others, yet seemed to accept the feedback by…

Got conflict? Yes! Now what?

Conflict handled well can build strong relationships and lead to better results. But it can feel more like a car wreck when handled poorly.  If you are experiencing conflict at work and hoping to avoid a crash, what can you do? Depending on the type of conflict you are experiencing, there are resources for employees…

Seven conversations for resilient groups

Are you working in a group that tends to blow up or clam up when challenged by important issues? If so, nurture your group’s resilience by holding any or all of the following conversations. Each conversation helps the group clarify intentions and create group norms, while deepening trust and respect— the foundation for stronger relationships…

What does confidence look like?

I love this quote about confidence as investment by Rosabeth Moss Kanter in Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End: Confidence influences the willingness to invest—to commit money, time, reputation, emotional energy, or other resources—or to withhold or hedge investment. This investment, or its absence, shapes the ability to perform. In that sense,…

What, me defensive?

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to shift from feeling collaborative, and in an instant, combative? One moment I see my workmate as a partner, the next she is my enemy. I shift from wanting to solve problems with her, to wanting to argue and win. Solution-seeking gives way to blame. Up-beat feelings of confidence, appreciation, and…

What’s your conflict style?

Communication and conflict go hand-in-hand when we work together on teams—especially when decisions need to be made. Our need to work together to achieve our goals bumps up against our varying responsibilities, temperaments, values, information, expertise, and cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Each of us has a personal approach to dealing with conflict situations. You might…

Are you learning in conflict?

In conflict situations, the way we say what we say often leads to more problems. In the book Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most, the authors Stone, Patton and Heen present two stances, or ways interacting with the others: Telling and Learning. In moments of stress, most of us reactively shift into a…

Sculpting our better selves

Michealangelo was known for his ability to see form within a slab of marble. He allowed the form to emerge as he chiseled away the extraneous material. How might we sculpt others—liberate them to emerge as they dream to be? How might we help ourselves and others emerge as our best selves while working together?…