The title of a Harvard Business Review article snagged my attention: “Why We Should Be Disagreeing More at Work.” I have made a science and life’s work out of this concept, called (perhaps loftily) “conflict competence,” and to see it described so simply really turned my head. Author Amy Gallo’s take is refreshing and spot-on, and a recommended read.Read More
Important Topics on Harnessing the Power of Conflict
- Building Great Teams 16
- Conflict Data Points 9
- Conflict Tools 34
- Conflict in the Workplace 17
- Costs & Value of Conflict 1
- Culture and Conflict 9
- Difficult Conversations 5
- Groupthink 4
- Innovation and Conflict 12
- Mediation 10
- Mergers and Acquisitions 4
- Ombudsman 4
- Productive Workplace 8
- Teamwork 6
- Trust Building in Teams 5
- Understanding Conflict 19
- World of Conflict 3
Your team has outlined your change effort process, including team agreements. You’ve done a great job building strength, common purpose, and cohesion within your team. Everyone bolts out of the conference room with Super Bowl energy, pumped-up for success! Yet … three weeks into implementation it’s already apparent that the team is woefully behind on its first accountability goal. What happened to the agreements that everyone signed-off on?Read More
Someone is soon to be leaving your organization, whether it’s a long-time employee, founder, partner, CEO. People leave organizations for many reasons; it is a normal feature of any workplace. The separation may be considered under “good terms,” maybe less so. Whatever the dynamic, any workplace separation involves much more than signing agreements and getting the security pass turned in.
It’s easier to let the separation blow over and “move on.” But these are sensitive, complex events that can make or break an organization.Read More
As a leader, you may have gone through this, are going through it now, or (inevitably) will sometime soon. What is it? One or more people separating from your team or organization.
Maybe your project phase is ending and some of the team is leaving. Or it's more complex: a founding partner has decided to leave after a long-standing dispute. Or worse, is being forced out.
There are as many reasons for people leaving teams as there are teams; it’s a normal feature of any workplace. And … it can be one of the most complex issues a team ever has to deal with.Read More
Whether your team is a startup partnership, annual fund drive committee, you and your siblings working together to make caretaking decisions for your parents, or the exec board for a Fortune 500 company, understanding trust is a cornerstone of getting the job done well.
A treasured mentor and colleague once told me. “There is no such thing as trust.” That one comment has had me puzzled and searching for answers for years - in a good way.Read More
An organization, no matter what size, can find itself facing a conflict so entrenched, so ugly, that a key person is paralyzing the productivity of an entire group, a department is chronically unable to come up with a new idea, or leadership is in such disarray that partners aren’t speaking to each other and some are ready to walk.Read More
I’m about to give you a cold, hard truth: You have conflict in your workplace - yes, you. But here is some good news: Conflict is a natural occurrence, any time there are two or more people in the same space who have a divergent idea, need, or want. It’s normal, inevitable, and every organization experiences it.
Conflict does not have to be negative. In fact, proactively engaging with conflict is a proven best practice, creating an environment of robust communication, high engagement, and innovative contributions to business growth. Constructive conflict is perhaps the most effective innovation generator you’ve never heard of.Read More
An active conflict is a crossroads. Skillfully managed, an active conflict can propel an organization down a path of new opportunities, awareness, and ideas. Handled badly, a dispute can quickly cause distraction, raise stress levels, and create barriers to good things like productivity, communications, and creativity.
Much has been written on the great benefits of dispute resolution, and of the potentially transformative power of high-quality interventions brought in to play when circumstances have already become contentious and disruptive. As an antidote to the destructive problems of organizational conflict gone wrong, responsive mediation, coaching and similar supportive efforts are proven methods of returning a working team to a successful path. The value of getting back to work, having harnessed the catalytic energy of opposing ideas, can’t be overstated.
But what is the value of taking a more proactive approach to dispute resolution? Is there a way to quantify the return on an organization’s investment in training and support for the purpose of developing conflict competency skills and systems before a dispute arises?Read More
Whether it's an operating agreement between startup founders, a safe communications agreement within a team, or ground rules for a project committee -- every team has agreements around how they will work together.
For most teams these agreements are unspoken, unwritten and un-negotiated, nonetheless they become the rules of behavior and are binding on team members. They are "the way things are done around here." They may not be in the policies and procedures manual, but it doesn't take long for new team members to figure out what is rewarded and what is punished.Read More
Instead of avoiding conflict which only makes it more destructive, welcome conflict in your workplace as a tool for creative interaction, innovation, and employee engagement. Well-managed conflict is good for business!Read More
Creative Tension Zone is where huge ideas emerge, innovation thrives, and empires are built! The most successful workplace teams know how to manage constructive conflict to encourage creative tension. What every leader needs to know about leveraging the power of conflict in a team.Read More
“Conflict, when well managed, can breathe life and energy into workplace relationships that inspire more productivity, creativity and innovation.” ~ Mark Batson Baril
Conflict - probably not the first item on your business-building success list, right? However, conflict is a natural occurrence in your workplace and can either catalyze positive experiences that boost growth, or negative experiences that have been known to break a company. So, time to put it on your list!Read More
How to shift the "difficult" conversations that arise in your workplace, to become "meaningful" and effective conversations. The result? A strong team that can exchange ideas effectively, disagree healthily, innovative creatively, be productive, and get stuff done!Read More
One of the many blessings of time here in Bangkok was my father coming to visit. He and I made a commitment several years back to build our relationship, in part, so I could share the rich life I’ve been afforded because of the father he chose to be. Stated diplomatically, he was not always the likeable, easy-going parental figure my younger self wanted, but the one who shaped who I am today.
A real highlight for me was for my father to see me ‘real-time’ in the mediation work I’m doing with Resologics, Mediators Beyond Borders, and as a Rotary Peace Fellow. He got to be part of a conversation with my Cambodian colleague, Savath Meas, about peace-making processes and building conflict resiliency within teams. But, I’m ahead of my story … let me start at the beginning.Read More
Have you ever said: “That person just presses my buttons”? We call these 'conflict hooks', because your reaction to the button-pusher has the potential to feed conflict. Understanding what conflict hooks are can help you and your team make better response choices.Read More
What is harnessing "good conflict?" Building strong teams that embrace and encourage creative exchange of ideas, collaboration, respect, trust, making and keeping agreements. Here is a great first-step tool to help your team build these qualities to become an innovation asset and productivity-driver for your organization.Read More
“Wow, I never saw THAT coming!” As a leader, this is a statement you never want to make. Many of us think we know what trouble in the ranks looks like, but too often conflict is simmering without our awareness. And suddenly we’re getting blindsided by a full-blown crisis, and all the costs that it entails.
Conflict doesn’t just appear out of nowhere. There are always red-flag warnings that a conflict is developing, and you are much more likely to avert disaster if you know what to look for early on - and then can act on it in a productive way.Read More
This is the first in a series of posts from Resologics' Senior Practitioner Scott Martin. Offering an inside glimpse into the wide-reaching impact that mediators can have in the world...not to mention the adventures!
It’s my third day in Yangon (Myanmar), and I’ve been doing my best to fit in. I’ve got a longyi tied around my waist just right, a tucked-in collared shirt, and sandals just like the locals. Maybe it’s the bright papier-mache giraffe sticking out of my pack or the handlebar mustache, but as I stroll through the park, locals freely point, giggle and some stop to take a picture with me. Clearly blending in will take some time.Read More
How do you, as a leader, go about building a creative conflict foundation for your team(s)?
One tool that Resologics uses in our work with leaders and teams is the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI). It is a self-report assessment that allows you to discover your (and your team members’) particular way of approaching conflict. The TKI has been the worldwide leader in this area for almost 40 years, so you can be confident that it's a tool that has withstood the rugged test of time.
I’m going to share with you some of the conflict-handling behaviors you might be able to spot in your team members - or yourself!Read More
Mediators are the custodians of the communication flow. They need to pay close attention to communication, both their own communication skills and the communication dynamics of the participants. They should strive to model clear communication that supports collaborative action, and be very aware of the challenge Shaw describes in the quote above. They should also be aware that to manage the conversation in a manner that maintains focus and supports resolution is a skill that matures over time.
Most mediators consider empathic listening to be their core skill. In addition, the advanced listening skill of reframing is vital. Mediators need to constantly reframe what they hear in order to discharge unnecessary negativity and personal attacks and thereby enable the conflict to be worked on productively. This is one of the most active ways in which they engage in the conflict. Mediators also need to ask a lot of questions, not to satisfy their curiosity but to support the conflict-resolution process. And when they need to assert themselves or be persuasive, mediators are tactful communicators.
This chapter focuses on the key communication skills that support the mediation process. Each of these skills is reviewed from the perspective of the mediator.Read More