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Tag Archives: Conflict Management

Although they may be daunting, difficult conversations are part and parcel of any manager or leader's job.

While these conversations never necessarily stop being difficult, you can take steps to make them easier.



The following basic principles may help.

  • Choose a suitable time and place. Whatever the nature of your difficult conversation, you should book a private room where you won't be interrupted, and ensure you allow sufficient time to explore both sides of the story.
  • State your intent up front. Use your opening sentences to outline what exactly you want to talk about; including why the conversation has to happen and what you would like to see as an outcome (if appropriate). This should help focus the conversation, and allow you to steer it back on track if need be.
  • Gather evidence and stick to the facts. When conducting a difficult conversation, you should always rely on factual information and direct observations, and use these as specific examples to back up what you are saying whenever possible.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. Talk to your team members informally at first, giving them an opportunity to explain things and state their side of the story.
  • Practise active listening. Don't assume that everyone thinks like you: ensure you give the other person time to share their views without interruption, and really listen to what they are saying. Pay particular attention to non-verbal signals and body language.
  • Be clear about next steps. In your conversation, state clearly what will happen next, including likely consequences if things don't improve (if your difficult conversation is about problem behaviour).


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Where do you think you would be if you did not have mental limitations?

What could you achieve?

This activity enables you to explore these barriers and how to plan to overcome them.


Breaking Down Mindset Barriers Activity

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Team leaders will need the ability to create teams, get them performing effectively and then disband them on a positive note

Teams are set to play a critical role in the organisations of the future.The hierarchical structures of the past are giving way to agile teams that can respond quickly to new challenges and innovate at speed. Our recent research shows that 69% of managers now work with five or more teams and that 88% were responsible for at least one team.

The emergence of working cultures where teams are increasingly virtual and are formed and disbanded as priorities change, poses many challenges for team leaders, particularly those who have been used to working in more conventional environments. So how do managers need to respond to the changing nature of teams – and what can HR do to help
equip them for the future?

The March of the Millennials: Generation Y employees will play a big part in the teams of the future, so it’s important for team leaders to understand how to get the best out of them. Our research shows that Millennials want challenging and interesting work, flexible working patterns and frequent praise.

They want informal, friendly relationships with their managers, and for their bosses to share their knowledge and experience with them. They are digital natives who have grown up with technology, and expect to be able to use it to its fullest extent in the workplace. Much of this is alien to team leaders, who have grown up against a more hierarchical, slow-moving backdrop. HR needs to help line managers understand how they can maximise the potential of this key group of employees while at the same time integrating them successfully with the rest of the workforce. (more…)

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Do you have someone at work who consistently triggers you? Doesn't listen? Takes credit for work you've done? Wastes your time with trivial issues? Acts like a know-it-all? Can only talk about himself? Constantly criticises?

Our core emotional need is to feel valued and valuable. When we don't, it's deeply unsettling, a challenge to our sense of equilibrium, security, and well-being. At the most primal level, it can feel like a threat to our very survival.

This is especially true when the person you're struggling with is your boss. The problem is that being in charge of other people rarely brings out the best in us.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” Lord Acton said way back in 1887. “There is no worse heresy than the office that sanctifies the holder of it.”

The easy default when we feel devalued is to the role of victim, and it's a seductive pull. Blaming others for how we're feeling is a form of self-protection. Whatever is going wrong isn't our fault. By off loading responsibility, we feel better in the short-term.

The problem with being a victim is that you cede the power to influence your circumstances. The painful truth when it comes to the people who trigger you is this: You're not going to change them. The only person you have the possibility of changing is yourself.

Each of us has a default lens through which we see the world. We call it reality, but in fact it's a selective filter. We have the power, to view the world through other lenses. There are three worth trying on when you find yourself defaulting to negative emotions.

The Lens of Realistic Optimism: Using this lens requires asking yourself two simple questions when you feel you're being treated badly or unfairly. The first one is "What are the facts in this situation?" The second is, "What's the story I'm telling myself about those facts?" (more…)

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There are sayings such as 'one man's trash is another man's treasure' - well a similar idiom could be said of problems. 

It can be hard to have a positive perspective on your own problem, but that one person’s problem MAY be someone else’s treasure.

The purpose of this activity is to enable team members to share their problems and get different perspectives on how they might be solved.

Materials Required:

  • Full sheet of A4 paper and writing instrument for each delegate
  • Clean, empty wastepaper basket or rubbish bin

What To Do:

Ask each delegate to write a problem, concern or barrier they face on the top of their sheet. They need to leave 80% or more of the sheet blank.

Tell them to crumple up the paper. They may stomp on it too, just for fun, but it is important that they do not tear it.

Have each of them throw their problem or barrier in the basket/bin, with as much style or emotion as they please.

Explain how hard it is to have perspective on your own problem, but that one person’s trash MAY be someone else’s treasure.

Divide the participants into small groups of 4 or more. (more…)

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Next time you defend your blunt candor as something noble, consider what you might be covering up and what it’s costing you in terms of trust, authenticity and integrity.

Is it just me, or have you seen a surge in the popularity of “telling it like it is?” Whether it’s a brash, in your face CEO — many of whom boast about their direct, no-nonsense, unvarnished telling of the truth — many leaders wear it like a badge of honor.

But when people learn more about their personalities, their communication preferences and their distress patterns, they progressively back off on their bluster about telling it like is. Why? Because they gain insight into some important, and sometimes uncomfortable, truths.

  • You can be direct without being honest.
  • Telling it like it is often reveals more about our own distress than anything else.
  • An “in-your-face” approach to leadership undermines effectiveness in the long run.
  • Being blunt often reveals lack of skill to use a more effective approach.
  • Healthy conflict with another person is a learned skill that few people acquire naturally.

So, where’s the confusion? The problem comes from failing to distinguish authentic emotions from cover-up emotions.

When people are in distress, they mask their authentic feelings with cover-up emotions. For instance, emotional displays can be deceptive and cunning, appearing legitimate, but they’re often just diverting attention from the real issue. Four cover-up emotions are closely associated with an attitude of telling it like it is.

Righteous Arrogance: Righteous arrogance is often expressed through opinionated, judgmental pushing of beliefs. These people believe it’s okay to tell others what’s right and wrong, and push their pious beliefs. Statements like, “You should know better,” or “Clearly you lack the moral character to be a leader” cover up their own fear of not being up to the task. If these people were truly honest, they’d share their fear that they might not always be right and might not be able to perfectly live up to their responsibilities. This fear keeps them up at night wondering if they are worthy. Instead of owning it, they question everyone else’s worthiness, claiming they are just telling it like it is.


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The next free Acas webinar takes place on 25 April 2018 at 1 pm and looks at Managing a Fair Disciplinary Process, covering investigations, hearings and appeals.




Numbers are strictly limited  Register here to attend.

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