Conflict management and change process

Over recent weeks, I have discussed several techniques for leading a team through the process of change. For example, we have looked at areas such as Gestalt psychology and Appreciative Inquiry, which help you foster trust, acceptance and participation in the change process and so reduce the need for conflict management. While all of these […]

Managing conflict in the workplace

Over recent weeks, I have been talking at length about the different personalities and dynamics that we come across in any working environment and today I’m going to broaden that out to look at managing conflict. The fact is that everyone is different, and has their own values, attitudes and ways of expressing themselves. Another […]

How to prevent conversational meltdowns: Part two

In the first part of this series, I described the cooling effects on an overheating conversation of taking responsibility for one’s role in verbal escalations. Here are some other powerful methods of preventing conversational fires to add to your repertoire. Social scientist Joseph Grenny perceptively notes that people lose control when they feel threatened. If […]

Emotion – the ‘elephant in the room’ in team conflict (Part 1)

Where does team conflict come from? One of the answers, of course, seems obvious once you name it: emotion. Aggressive emotion to be precise. Emotion can overheat – it’s volatile stuff – and it makes much better sense to learn to become aware of its influence, both in us and in our colleagues or bosses. Leadership […]

Rivalry and reptile brains: converting rivals into allies, Part Two

Let’s walk through Professor Brian Uzzi’s “3Rs” of converting rivals into allies. A young business school graduate has been appointed to a managerial position in a huge multinational company. He’s talented, intelligent, and exudes the kind of emotional, intellectual and behavioural alignments that excellent business leaders need. However, he has a problem: he has managerial […]

Becoming a creative pragmatist

There is a peculiar fact about positive thinking: it tends to evoke a “shadow” of “negative” thoughts and feelings. If I am reminiscing about a lost loved one, I may find myself bathed in feelings of warmth and affection; however, sadness over the loss and even anger at being abandoned are never far away. What […]

Organisational development: working with complexity and the unexpected

Organisational Development (OD) aims at healthy organisational change through harnessing a common value base and collaborative inquiry. In reality, however, organisational life, and change, turns out to be a lot messier and a lot more unpredictable. A traditional model would see the process of OD like this: an OD consultant meets and gains entry to […]

Office politics

When politics is all over UK television and a topic of discussion in every pub, it would be odd if people didn’t talk about it at work. Even if the company itself is scrupulously neutral, individual employees will still have opinions and sometimes those opinions can lead to conflict. How can you manage office politics […]