How to Build Constructive Conflict into Your Team

How to Build Constructive Conflict into Your Team

It is never too soon to start building the foundation of constructive conflict into your team(s), to harness that creative power as well as preempt potential negative conflict.

Bottom-line reason? Conflict is one of the most powerful tools teams can have. Harnessing constructive conflict creates an exciting environment of innovation, forward momentum and productivity. Negative outcomes from conflict emerge when it is ignored.

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!

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Want Constructive Conflict on Your Team? Get This Tool

Want Constructive Conflict on Your Team? Get This Tool

We now know how important it is to build the foundation of constructive conflict into your team(s) - not only to harness that creative power, but also to reduce the possibility of negative outcomes from conflict.

I’m reminded some weeks that Resologics is sometimes called in by clients in crisis. The costs involved in these situations can be staggering. This is one of the reasons I’m so motivated to talk about harnessing conflict for good outcomes.

One super proactive tool that Resologics uses in our work with leaders and teams is the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI®).

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Managing Conflict in Customer Service: Have a P.E.P. talk

Managing Conflict in Customer Service: Have a P.E.P. talk

In 2008, I started a small business renting living Christmas trees in pots as an alternative to cut or artificial trees. In 2012, we pitched the company on ABC’s Shark Tank, and were joined by billionaire investor Mark Cuban. Our business grew exponentially - bringing along with it the opportunity for conflict. 

One of our challenges was in customer service.

The good and bad news was just how passionate folks were about their time-treasured holiday symbol of hope and joy. Before an acceptable tree was safely in their home, customers tended to get a little animated....

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Easy Conversation Starter Tool to Grow Team Trust

Easy Conversation Starter Tool to Grow Team Trust

Trust is essential to a productive workplace and to a successful team venture. Trust is a cornerstone of our work with strengthening teams through conflict competency, and I’m often asked by leaders, “So, how do I actually go about creating that trust??”

To build trust within your team or group, start right out of the gate to create a space for open, honest interaction. Our team uses conversation to help people feel comfortable with one another. It’s a simple but powerful way to start building trust in a team.

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Team agreements: A key to high-performing, happy teams

Team agreements: A key to high-performing, happy teams

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.

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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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How Conflict Can Help Your Workplace Team

How Conflict Can Help Your Workplace Team

“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!

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Difficult Conversations: What Every Leader Needs to Know

Difficult Conversations: What Every Leader Needs to Know

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!

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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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Step 1 to harnessing "good" conflict in your workplace

Step 1 to harnessing "good" conflict in your workplace

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.

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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 Mediation Process

The Mediation Process

In this post/chapter, I review my definition of mediation and explain the five basic phases of the mediation process, as shown in the illustration above. I also discuss the caucus and how it can be used before the mediation as part of convening, during the mediation as part of the education phase, and after the joint mediation sessions as part of the follow-up process. The chapter ends with a consideration of the involvement of management champions.

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Universal Human Capacities for Conflict Resolution: A Search for Reliable Cross-Cultural Peacemaker Tools

Universal Human Capacities for Conflict Resolution: A Search for Reliable Cross-Cultural Peacemaker Tools

What are the universal human core capacities, desires, and innate abilities people in conflict possess that cross-cultural peacemakers can always count on to help parties resolve conflicts? The purpose of answering this question is to help peacemakers develop a clear idea of how parties from different cultures can be guided through conflict resolution processes. I believe that conflict intervention strategies and processes must largely center on the parties’ common core abilities to resolve conflict. Although several categories of human universals will be explored here, the focus of this literature review and research is to examine the current theories that surround the human ability to resolve conflict. Some questions have naturally emerged from this study: Do we know how to resolve conflicts at birth or is it a learned skill? Are there aspects of our innate abilities that predispose us to resolve conflicts without violence? What are those innate abilities and how can we as conflict managers use them to help keep the peace?

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The Mediator's Stance

The Mediator's Stance

In martial arts training, students are taught the benefit of various body and mental postures. The totality of these postures, when adopted together, amounts to an effective stance for defense and attack. Students are taught to adopt this stance when presented with a challenge, notwithstanding any contrary reflexive or reactive instincts or habits. The familiarity of the stance inspires confidence and prepares them to meet their reality with competence and agility. It ensures that they are on the best footing possible.

In mediation, there are a number of key postures that are helpful to adopt, that together can be described as the mediator’s stance. In essence, the stance is more of an attitude and mindset which ensures that you do no harm, while supporting collaboration and the emergence of a creative solution. It prepares you to respond consciously in the moment when mediating, and allows you to mediate informally.

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Med-Arb: The Best of Both Worlds or Just A Limited ADR Option?

Med-Arb: The Best of Both Worlds or Just A Limited ADR Option?

People in conflict are looking for a resolution process that is fair, consistent, transparent, inexpensive, quick, and in some way allows them to tell their own story. Med-Arb offers parties the ability to obtain a definite resolution of a particular dispute, with reduced cost, efficient process, and flexibility to pursue consensual settlement prior to or during binding arbitration. In the right circumstances, med-arb may represent the process that best serves the interests for your clients.

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What They Want: Their Needs

What They Want: Their Needs

The key to solving a conflict is the identification of the participants’ underlying needs. One of the most important tasks of the mediator is to make these needs explicit. The participants typically come to the mediation aware of what they want (their ideal solution), but few have done the preparation work that helps them to discover why they want this particular outcome (their needs).

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Guide to Emotions

Guide to Emotions

Paul Ekman, a psychologist from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), established the universality of facial expressions and identified seven core emotions that all humans are hardwired to display: anger, fear, sadness, contempt, disgust, happiness and surprise.

Mediators need to recognize the different emotions and decide how they influence the decision-making process in a mediation. They need to tune into and sense the emotional states of the participants. Not only does the mediator need to recognize each participant’s emotional state (let’s say, for instance, anger or sadness), but also the intensity of the emotion (how angry or how sad the person is).

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Cross Cultural Conflict Resolution in Teams

Cross Cultural Conflict Resolution in Teams

Team members work in increasingly diverse environments: in terms of age (there are more older workers), gender (there are more women), race (there are more people of color), language (there are more languages spoken), and nationality (there are more immigrants). Beyond these differences, there are also deeper cultural differences that influence the way conflict is approached.

The use of teams represents an important change in the way we work. The theory is that through the interdependency of the parts greater productivity is achieved by the whole. Experience has been less kind. One reason that teams fail to meet performance expectations is their paralysis through unresolved conflict. This article focuses on the impact of culture on the prevention and resolution of conflict in teams.

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Dealing with Difficult Behavior

Dealing with Difficult Behavior

Conflict is inevitable in the workplace. However, that does not mean that we cannot work to prevent unproductive behavior that leads to conflict. Difficult behavior is a good example of an area where a difference can be made. Although it is easy to label people as difficult, the real focus should always be on the actual behavior. Dealing effectively with difficult behavior is a skill that can nip conflict in the bud.

Difficult behavior is essentially that which inhibits the performance of others. Left alone it will get worse, affect more people and continue to incur hidden costs for the organization in which it occurs. Most difficult behavior is accidental, but it can also be the result of intentional thought. Sometimes it is sporadic and takes us by surprise. At other times it is ongoing and forms patterns.

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Organizational Conflict Management - What's a System?

Organizational Conflict Management - What's a System?

While conflict may be a constant, paradigms to explain conflict in organizations have changed. Systems thinking or chaos theory is the latest paradigm that has been used to understand organizational conflict. The demise of the mechanistic worldview allows us to contemplate how organizations deal with conflict through a fresh set of lenses.

The term "system" is widely used in the field of organizational conflict management. The Federal Interagency Alternative Dispute Resolution Working Group recently sponsored a brown bag Session-"Growing Your ADR Program - Are You Ready for a System?"-that focused on examples of two agencies 'that are attempting to replace ADR programs with ADR systems.'

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