Men: Three conflict management strategies to break down stereotypes and improve workplace relationships

Men don’t listen, aren’t in touch with their feelings, want to win (at any cost), abuse their power, are arrogant, are afraid to show weakness, think of nothing but sex, don’t see any gender problem, and so forth. I know and/or consciously intuit that I’ve been labeled with each of those stereotypes, at one time […]

Difficult conversations go better when you find and negotiate with your feelings

I was a cigarette smoker in my younger days. For close to 15 years, I wrestled with the addiction. When I finally committed to being a non-smoker, I gained a different perspective on smoking. Many years after my last cigarette, I spent several years as a contract business analyst, working on the development and implementation […]

Demonstrate humility to gain respect from your team

When your team member screws up, and admits it, that’s a good sign. The ability to eat humble pie is a virtue. “Humility is the single greatest and most indispensable attribute of being a team player”, says Patrick Lencioni, in The Ideal Team Player. Teamwork and humility Over the decades, I’ve been a part of […]

Aligning values and behaviours makes for a healthier workplace culture

I’ve yet to encounter an organization whose stated value is ‘workplace harassment’.  Yet, the  sexual assault, abuse and harassment stories shared under the #MeToo hashtag on social media this week would almost suggest that’s the case. In a healthy workplace, values and behaviours closely align. Align behaviours and values: Walk the talk Values are words. Behaviours […]

Conflict: Thank you [A poem]

[October 9, 2017 is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. My poem gives thanks to conflict’s role in my learning journey.] Hello Conflict, my trusted friend I can count on you, to put in an appearance, every day A gift, of sorts Thank you. When I work with you, respect you My differences with others turn small […]

Smart Urban Design Focuses on Safety and Relationships for Healthier Interactions

Whenever I rush into a difficult conversation without first creating a safe space to have that conversation, I invariably regret my impulsivity. Difficult conversations, especially relationship-oriented ones, demand paying attention to the ‘how’ conversation is to take place as much as ‘what’ the conversation is about. No matter the place, safety precedes authentic conversation. Relationships […]

Apply a “My 15%” Rule to Develop and Leverage Conflict Competency in Your Organization

The U.S. Army has what it calls its’ “My 15%” rule.  Believing that most people have about 15 percent control over their work situations, the Army asks everyone, no matter their rank, “What’s your 15% of the problem?” “Where do you have freedom to act?”, for mutual benefit. No matter your organization, to me: adopting a”my 15%” […]

How to minimize the extent unconscious bias impacts your decision-making process

“That’s not what I meant to say.”  Yet, I did.  Was I tripped up by my unconscious biases? The list of cognitive biases, a subset of our unconscious biases, is long (150+). Biases influence how we behave in the world. Unconscious bias is a performance killer “Unconscious bias is a powerful yet quiet performance killer. It literally […]

A “Strong Middle” is Vital for a Healthy Workplace Conflict Management System

All too infrequently, I get down on the floor and do a few sit-ups. I’m doing it knowing the benefits of a strong middle (i.e., core). The body functions better, is healthier, with a strong middle. I know that. You know that. What’s less obvious is that a strong middle also applies to workplace conflict […]

Union-Employer Collective Agreements emphasize rights over power

When I was 18 years old, I had no interest in school. So, I went to work at National Steel Car, in Hamilton, Ontario. The company made railway cars. The scale of the operations was huge, overwhelming for me. At the time, I felt a boy among men. Yet, as a (Steelworkers) union member I was […]