Thoughts and Insights by Michael Gregory


A large group of people with various cartoon faces
January 22nd, 2023

Do individual differences matter in negotiations?

Researchers at the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiations presented an article on Individual Differences in Negotiation – and How They Affect Results.  This article shares with you highlights from that article and offers additional insights to help you with your own negotiations. As presented in a blog on December 19, 2022 entitled, Conflict and dispute resolution in cross cultural negotiations, differences between nations, regions, geography, culture, profession, and class are areas to be sensitive to in negotiations. Research at the University of Washington found that individual personality differences accounted for 49% of variance in negotiators’ performance and satisfaction. This was a major finding. That study looked at personality differences; cognitive, emotional, and creativity differences; and motivational differences. This article introduces these concepts and goes a bit deeper.

Photograph of lady justice statue
January 9th, 2023

What does it mean to be ethical in a negotiation?

Having taught ethics to CPA societies and in other venues I make use of my own texts and also those of Linda Fisher Thornton with her book, 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership.  This commentary makes use of these sources and an article from the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation written by Katie Shonk entitled Ethics in Negotiation: Avoid Complicity in Wrongdoing. In negotiations this implies not committing illegal and immoral acts, but also calling out unethical behavior of others. Shonk’s article highlights Max Bazerman’s book, Complicit: How We Enable the Unethical and How to Stop. You only have one reputation. You need to protect that all costs. So, what do you do? Read on.

October 17th, 2022

What kinds of questions should good leaders ask to demonstrate listening actively?

In the book, The Collaboration Effect, is a chapter on listening actively. I believe the most important chapter in the book to address conflict, disputes, and collaboration is the chapter on listening actively. Associated with listening actively is the ability to ask good questions and good follow up questions. In the commentary that follows I offer some of the kinds of questions you may want to consider as a leader. Let me know what you think? I welcome your ideas too.

two people. One with hands on face and possibly crying. The other has arms crossed
October 10th, 2022

What mediation techniques should you use to resolve disputes between employees?

Invariably conflicts or disputes arise between employees for a variety of reasons. Often the best solution is for the two parties to determine how  to work amicably with one another. However, sometimes these issues simmer over time or become caustic in nature. As a manager or peer this can poison a work environment. As a leader you may be called upon to work with the parties to help them come to a solution that everyone as a minimum can live with going forward. The hope would be to come to a solution where everyone is pleased with the final outcome. In reality often times the final solution maybe anywhere between these two extremes. So, how can you do this?

Four fists all coming together in unison from four different people
September 26th, 2022

Why is collaborative leadership replacing top-down leadership?

In our complex world that is very interconnected leadership is increasingly moving from a top-down to a more collaborative approach overcoming conflicts and disputes more readily and earlier while improving productivity, morale, and customer satisfaction. This type of leadership tends to be encouraging, listening, and understanding. Leadership tends to be empathetic, focus on buy in, and being authentic. Collective leadership results in less rework, misunderstandings, and frustration as employees are aligned with their leadership. Because leadership is allowed to shift according to who has the expertise as various needs arise, everyone knows that depending on what is needed anyone may be called upon to share what they know, and everyone is encouraged to speak up.

"words have power" having been typed by a typewriter many times on an 8 1/2" by 11" white paper
September 19th, 2022

Do you want to know how to promote collaboration with cooperative language?

In order to promote collaboration and to prevent conflicts and disputes have you ever considered the language you use to promote or not promote cooperation? This commentary explores some leadership techniques, neuroscience implications, and provides practical considerations to help you promote cooperation when working on collaborative tasks with others. It is possible to use language unintentionally that can cause friction inadvertently. Consideration of needs and feelings can go a long way to promote collaboration. Empathy may be your most significant tool in your tool box when enlisting others to collaborate with you

24 emojis depicting various emotions
August 29th, 2022

Did you know that your life is shaped by the emotions you want to feel?

Do you want to be happier, calmer, and more energized? The answer to this question has a direct impact on how you collaborate, address conflict, and disputes, healing, empathy, listening, and leadership. In an article by the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley entitled How Your Life is Shaped by the Emotions You Want to Feel the author, the Managing Editor, Kira M. Newman, shares a series of studies with some enlightening insights. Keys points from that article are summarized here with some personal observations.

Stressed woman with hand to face being overwhelmed
August 22nd, 2022

Promote collaboration – yes, but to much of a good thing is not helpful

Collaboration with others often leads to better outcomes with others supplying ideas, energy, and effort. However, your desire to be a team player, to help others, and to be there for others can lead to too much collaboration and burn out. It is ok to say “no.”  You can do this diplomatically. It is necessary to say “no” sometimes. Become aware of your triggers, apply diplomatic commentary to say “no,” and keep balance in your life. That is the focus of this commentary.

Three signs pointing in opposite directions secure-unsafe, valued-useless, included-outcast
August 8th, 2022

What should you do when you don’t feel good enough?

One of the reasons that you may be in conflict with others leading to disputes may have to do with your view of self. In his new book, The Extraordinary Gift of Being Ordinary, Dr. Ronald Siegel of the Harvard Medical School, shares that everyone has doubts about themselves and so does he. You have continual self-evaluative thoughts. This is normal. However, rather than proving yourself he offers ideas and tips to address “not feeling good enough” and how you can build a better self. This ties into the Yale University course on happiness too. These ideas are introduced in this article.

Four people in a negotiation
July 25th, 2022

Does lying in collaborative business deals really pay off?

As a promoter of collaboration, a mediator, a conflict resolution specialist, and a person that teaches ethics and negotiations, I did not initially appreciate the title  of The Dark Side of Collaboration offered by Scientific America. However, the subtitle of  “People working together often scheme to put profits ahead of telling the truth. New research points out ways to stop this behavior” gave me hope. I found this article extremely helpful and enlightening. This commentary that follows shares some of the highlights of that article and offers some additional observations.


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