Thoughts and Insights by Michael Gregory

Collaboration

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.

A person writing the word delegate on a piece of paper with arrows pointing away from the word
July 11th, 2022

Want to know how to avoid conflict when delegating or being delegated to?

The number one problem for new managers is believing they have to do it all and show that they can get things done. This can result in conflict, frustration,  and even burn out. As a leader focusing on listening delegation is a tool to be both more effective and efficient. The lack of delegation is a major issue for many managers. This commentary explores delegation, obstacles to delegation, effective delegation, six key elements of delegation, benefits of delegation, and gives you links to both the delegator’s checklist and the delegatee’s check list.

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.

African descent woman with hair in a bun walking away from the camera
June 20th, 2022

Diversity, Inclusion, Hair, and Business Results - What do they have in common?

What do diversity, inclusion, hair, and business results have to do with each other. Conflicts or disputes may arise from one of a number of issues. To avoid conflicts or disputes takes an active effort to promote communication and collaboration. When you think of diversity you likely think about the primary level of what you can see, and you think about areas such as race, age, ethnicity, gender, physical abilities, sexual orientation, and class. As a secondary level below the human surface, you may think of elements of religious beliefs, nationality, geographic location, marital status, parental status, education, income, work background, and military experience may come to mind. Finally at a third level elements of learning style, personality, or professional orientation may come to mind. All of these are relevant related to diversity, but in today’s commentary the focus is on the primary level with a focus on hair and what you can see.

holograms of five different people in various colors
June 13th, 2022

How to address employee conflict and reduce turnover

Everyone likes to work for a kind, considerate, caring, professional supervisor and on a team where everyone is valued and aligned towards a common goal. Everyone looks out for one another and the overall goals of the firm. However, when negative employee conflict or disputes arise, and they are not addressed in a timely and in an appropriate manner this can cause a host of problems including lower productivity, lower morale, increased costs, and employee turnover. The question arises with what can you do to reduce and address employee conflict and reduce employee turnover? That is the focus of this article.

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.

Three figures arguing with various colorful on each image
May 15th, 2022

What does it mean to disagree well?

To encourage collaboration, healthy competition, and overcome conflicts and disputes one technique you can apply is to disagree well. You like many in our society today appreciate monologues that are provided to you by those with whom you agree to reaffirm positions, how smart you are, and how angry you should be with those that do not share that same perspective. The classic example in our society today has to do with reds and blues in our current political environment. Braver Angels offers an opportunity to overcome these differences with dialogue. This is one example of how to disagree well. The commentary that follows addresses the issue of what does it mean to disagree well.

Hand holding a deck of cards
May 8th, 2022

The games people play in negotiations and mediations and how to address them

To avoid conflicts and to help resolve disputes in a negotiation or a mediation it is important to know your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) and to consider the other party’s BATNA in order to work to resolve the situation. Before entering into the situation knowing that if your BATNA is not met you will simply walk away gives you room to exercise your own power. Knowing that you have tried your best to work with the other side, but what has been offered will not be acceptable so you need to move on This article explores how knowing your BATNA and what to consider can help you in a negotiation. It is important to understand why negotiations fail.

Green peas in a pod with one red pea
April 11th, 2022

Five great articles summarized on the latest neuroscience insights on bridging differences

Addressing conflicts, disputes, and mediation here are five articles with great insights to help you bridging differences with others. Below are links to these five articles that I found insightful and helpful from the neuroscientists at  Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley. I thought you may enjoy one or more of these too. All five articles provide different insights. Take a look at the commentary and decide which ones may be of interest to you.

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.

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