Workplace Conflict: The Costs of an Abrasive Leader

Workplace Conflict: The Costs of an Abrasive Leader

If the ingredients of a successful workplace team include trust, open communication, support, respect, cohesiveness, healthy conflict, and fun … what happens when an abrasive leader or “bully boss” is tossed into the mix?

You got it - a recipe for disaster for the whole organization!  If that leader’s behavior were to change, would the organization be more successful? The answer is a resounding yes. But how to address what is surely a sticky situation when a power position is in question?


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Constructive Conflict: Your Most Important Change Management Tool

Constructive Conflict: Your Most Important Change Management Tool

Conflict is a natural aspect of any change process, and well-managed constructive conflict will in fact accelerate and enhance success. Or, more to the point, unmanaged negative conflict can create a speed bump that will slow the process to near-stop – or a rocky landslide that causes long-term damage in its wake.

As a leader, which side of conflict do you want to be on?

The leader who sees conflict as a useful tool rather than a negative thing to avoid at all costs, helps increase employee engagement and the vibrant exchange of ideas that take your business on the innovation and growth path.

So how do you start to create the kind of organizational dynamics that harness the power of constructive conflict?  Read on…

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Workplace Conflict: How to Make It Good for Business

Workplace Conflict: How to Make It Good for Business

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!

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Workplace Conflict: How to Deal with Hot Buttons

Workplace Conflict: How to Deal with Hot Buttons

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. 

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6 Red Flags of Workplace Conflict

6 Red Flags of Workplace Conflict

“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.

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The Leader’s Guide: How to Use Constructive Conflict as an Innovation Generator

The Leader’s Guide: How to Use Constructive Conflict as an Innovation Generator

This is the second in our series of Leader’s Guides on harnessing the power of conflict. Conflict, when well managed, can breathe life and energy into workplace relationships that inspire more productivity, creativity and innovation.

I talked in the previous article, The Leader’s Guide: The Key to Boosting Employee Engagement in Your Workplace: It’s Not What You Think, about what conflict is - a natural occurrence in a workplace that can either be a positive or a negative experience. And that a leader who sees conflict as a useful tool rather than a negative thing to avoid, helps increase employee engagement and the vibrant exchange of ideas that take your business on the innovation and growth path.

So how, as a leader, do you start to create the kind of organizational dynamics that harness the power of constructive conflict?  Read on...

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The Most Effective Innovation Generator You've Probably Never Heard of

The Most Effective Innovation Generator You've Probably Never Heard of

Many businesses rely on innovation for success. There is a lot of literature on how to encourage the creative thinking that inspires innovation, but you won’t often hear this tip: Welcome conflict into your teams! Yet this is exactly what I’m enthusiastically promoting. It sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Most leaders are busy looking for ways to avoid fights and disputes, not invite them.

Conflict is a natural part of human behavior and...

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3 Steps to Building Trust Within Your Team

3 Steps to Building Trust Within Your Team

We explored in the earlier article "How Trust is Essential to a productive Workplace," what can happen when trust is missing, and how trust is a cornerstone to employee engagement, productivity, and more. As Dr. David Ballard, the head of APA's Center for Organizational Excellence, says:  “...Lack of trust should serve as a wake-up call for employers...Trust plays an important role in the workplace and affects employees’ well-being and job performance."

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9 Early Warning Signs of Workplace Conflict

9 Early Warning Signs of Workplace Conflict

Conflict doesn't just appear out of nowhere. There are always signs warning that a conflict is developing. Managers who know what these signs are can be more effective leaders by confronting the problem before it rages out of hand. By resolving conflict in the early stages, the company will run much more smoothly and the overall productivity level will be increased considerably. What are these subtle signs of conflict to look for?...

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Save Your Company through Mediation Only?

Save Your Company through Mediation Only?

“If this thing fails, I’m not sure what I’m going to do,” Lance tells me as we finish our first call.. “And under no circumstances can our investors find out what’s going on.”

Par for the course for a mediator to hear, and quite understandable. I give him the assurances of confidentiality and a look at the powerful toolbox we as an experienced mediation team will be drawing from. And this reality check: “I guarantee that at the end of this process there will be change; and I guarantee that not everyone is going to like it.” That’s often how the “team performance sessions” begin when we get called in to support a team in crisis.

He and his cofounders are about to entrust us with some of the most important things in the world to them – their startup dreams and their identities. Sugar coating what they are about to enter into won’t help anyone.

Can a mediator singlehandedly save a company? I submit – yes, we can!  (Superhero cape not included.)

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Top 10 FAQs about an Ombudsman

Top 10 FAQs about an Ombudsman

If you’ve been in business for years and have never heard the term ‘Ombudsman,’ don’t worry, you’re not alone. This weird-sounding word (it’s Swedish for “representative” coined in the 13th century) represents a vital service to organizations in just about every sector of society.

A company finding itself in the midst of a conflict management crisis that is sapping resources, creating a deep rift in the workplace culture and heading toward a legal nightmare, finds out fast how valuable an Ombudsman’s services can be in resolving the conflict and restoring peace and productivity to the organization.

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How Conflict in the Workplace isn’t as Bad as You Think (and What to Do About it)

How Conflict in the Workplace isn’t as Bad as You Think (and What to Do About it)

An HR director I know who works for a 500+ person company, described their technique for working with conflict this way: “We don’t work with conflict proactively. We sweep it under the rug until at some point we’re tripping over the bump in the rug. That’s when we deal with it.”

Conflict avoidance is one natural way for humans to get through difficult conversations at home. In some cases, it can help keep the peace and may be a good way to roll. Avoidance also happens in a work environment, especially in teams that have not built the mutual trust needed to have difficult conversations on a regular basis.

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The Psychology of Conflict in the Workplace

The Psychology of Conflict in the Workplace

Many of us spend at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week in the company of this group of people known as our workplace. To understand how conflict shows up in the workplace, consider this: Each of us is shaped by experiences as far back as our early childhood, and (often subconsciously) we bring those experiences into our daily lives, and in the workplace, every day.

One can only imagine what each of us is bringing to the collective table that we can’t possibly know or understand in the other, let alone in ourselves! Is it any wonder conflict happens?

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Mergers and Acquisitions: 3 Powerful Ways to Prepare Your Team for Change

Mergers and Acquisitions:  3 Powerful Ways to Prepare Your Team for Change

In my blog about Mergers and Acquisitions and the Transitions that Can Cause Conflict I talked about the challenges that management typically faces in the post-merger implementation process – which, in fact, applies to any change management effort big or small.

What we know is that the ‘human factor’ is a key to successful change. And that conflict is the underpinning of any type of change.  As much as we try to avoid conflict or brush it under the rug…it happens, especially in response to the unsettling nature of change. We at Resologics have found that conflict can help or hurt your team, that unaddressed conflict can actually cost you in real dollars (find out how here).

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The Best Ways to Utilize Mediation in the Workplace

The Best Ways to Utilize Mediation in the Workplace

When do you know you need mediation in your workplace?

The first thing to know is what mediation is (and isn’t) so that you’re equipped to recognize the need if and when conflict at work arises.

The second thing to know is that when your company has a built-in system to proactively manage conflict, then you will never have to face the question of needing mediation. But I’m getting ahead of myself, because here’s the reality:  Few organizations have such a system, and we’re most often called in to provide mediation services when the client workplace situation has reached the crisis point – and spiraling out of control fast.

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Mergers and Acquisitions and the Transitions that Can Cause Conflict

Mergers and Acquisitions and the Transitions that Can Cause Conflict

There’s at least a 34% chance that an investment in an organization will be adversely affected by destructive conflict within the team. The statistics – and stakes – can go even higher when the investment is in the form of a merger or acquisition.

The human aspects of post-merger implementation of M&A deals have been studied thoroughly in recent years, and what they find in a large number of cases is that the merger, a good match on paper, fails in the transition process. Many companies focus on the financial and business systems transition, but don’t pay attention to the human factors until it’s too late. Cultures clash, employees leave, production declines, shareholders are unhappy, things fall apart. This has even been dubbed a “merger syndrome.”  A study by KPMG found that “83% of all mergers and acquisitions (M&As) failed to produce any benefit for the shareholders.” The overwhelming cause for failure that was reported? 

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Conflict Curve Theory and How It Fits High Potential Startups and Their Investors

Conflict Curve Theory and How It Fits High Potential Startups and Their Investors

The dynamics of people working with each other is complex. The area of strong relationships and extreme idea exchange is called the Creative Tension Zone. Teams fall out of the Creative Tension Zone for a variety of reasons. This article is intended to help you build a greater awareness around the idea that tension can tip into destructive conflict and is predictable. I believe that in any part of our businesses, being as aware as possible of what is happening all around us, in real time, is the key to making good decisions and staying in high growth mode. The last post talked about warning signs that conflict is brewing. Here I’ll broaden that view a little by talking about the Conflict Curve. It’s fascinating!

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Tight Rope Walking 101: High Potential Startups Balance between Creative Tension and Destructive Conflict Every Day

Tight Rope Walking 101: High Potential Startups Balance between Creative Tension and Destructive Conflict Every Day

I have put together and delivered a workshop at several business incubators recently.  I have fun with it because I really enjoy watching the faces of the participants when a piece of information answers a question they have been struggling with for years. What is that question?

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Business Busting Conflicts are Real and Frequent in Startup Teams

Business Busting Conflicts are Real and Frequent in Startup Teams

Destructive conflicts are real and frequent in startup companies. Almost two thirds of all startups that fail, fail due to interpersonal conflicts, disputes, and problems within the management team (Wasserman). 

In 2012, after having worked for almost five years as a mediator, conflict coach, trainer, and confidant in more than 300 business conflict management cases, I was struck by a few cases in particular. They were cases involving ....

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