Thoughts and Insights by Michael Gregory

Trust

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 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.

Hammer coming down on a nail with statement "I'm the boss"
July 4th, 2022

Should you lead with compassion, toughness, or empathy –why does this matter?

To avoid negative conflict and disputes and to promote collaboration, alignment, and purpose it is important to lead with compassion, have appropriate toughness, and listen with empathy. As a leader all of these matter. When someone is not performing well how should you proceed? Frustration is often a first response. I am sure you can relate. Especially if it reflects negatively on you. Responding with negative reinforcement is an initial knee jerk reaction, but research shows that when confronted with an underperforming employee that compassion and curiosity with suspended judgment works better. With appropriate coaching  to the individual, you may have far better results. Compassion and empathy build trust. You want greater trust to promote improvement.

Two red open hands. One facing up and the other facing down. They are nearly touching each other
June 6th, 2022

Too much trust can actually undermine collaboration

Trust is fundamental to business success, but too much trust may actually undermine collaboration based on an article in the  Harvard Business Review by Per Hugander entitled “When Trust Takes Away from Effective Collaboration.”   This can lead to conflict, disputes, frustration, lost productivity, poorer relationships, and more. For example, an employee may withhold information or share incorrect information when bad news has to be given to avoid conflict. To promote collaboration with your leadership there needs to be a balance between trust and collaboration. The commentary that follows summarizes key points from that article and offers insights based on this author’s experiences to help you in application.

Person at their home stand up work station
April 4th, 2022

Build Collaboration into your hybrid workplace

Collaboration equity in your hybrid workplace ensures an environment that minimizes conflict and disputes while maximizing engagement, customer service, and profitability. This article addresses how to have a flexible, compassionate, and meaningful workplace where the best and brightest want to work and stay. Many businesses including Google are trying to figure out how to do this right. As firms consider how to address collaboration with an ever changing environment it is clear that collaboration equity where everyone feels valued, the entire team gels and performs much better.

Man looking down with hand on his forehead looking very distraught
March 14th, 2022

How to respond to clients in crisis

Have you ever had a potential client or client contact you upset? Someone may have referred them, simply found you on the internet, or they are one of your long term clients. It really does not matter. What matters is that they are currently concerned about something, need help, and have reached out to you in the hope that you can help them. So, what skills do you need? You need to listen,  de-escalate the situation, network with the experts you know that could help, and help them through this crisis. Here are some thoughts to help you.

Here are ten ideas from positive psychology on how to be happier and more productive
December 20th, 2021

Here are ten ideas from positive psychology on how to be happier and more productive

In an article from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkley the author, James McConchie, PhD, looks at two of the great minds from the field of positive psychology and shares what he has found from their body of work. The author provides ten lessons learned from these two giants in the field, Ed Diener and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Starting with these ten lessons you are provided with additional commentary that you can use to be happier and more productive

The words "Well done" with white chalk on a black board
November 15th, 2021

Success in business and appreciation

Have you ever volunteered at an activity, and come away with a positive feeling for what you have done? You feel good about yourself and for having made a positive difference in someone else’s life. Have you noticed that the leadership was extremely appreciative and gave you many kudos at the beginning, during the activity, and at the end? Learn from this and treat your employees as volunteers. Provide authentic appreciation at work on a timely and regular basis for something specific. This will enhance collaboration, engagement, and a sense of belonging. Side benefits are better productivity, more revenue, and more profit. These are not the goals, but these are the tangible benefits by taking these proactive, positive, engaging, appreciating actions when genuinely and authentically applied.

How do you make uncomfortable situations comfortable
October 22nd, 2021

How do you make uncomfortable situations comfortable?

We all must deal with people and stressful situations at work, home, and life.

Ethics in the center of a group of other related terms
August 27th, 2021

Ethics and Negotiations - Eight principles to be a better bargainer

Having blogged previously on how to apply ethics in negotiations that commentary will not be repeated here. Rather, having presented Ethical Leadership – Principles and Practices to the Illinois CPAs this past week, upon reflection I wanted to share with you eight principles of negotiation to boost you bargaining skills in various business situations. These eight principles are not in a priority. They are character, reciprocity, publicity, trusted friend, people, advising others, legacy, and planet and greater good. Each of these is elaborated on below.

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