Thoughts and Insights by Michael Gregory

Enhancing Effectiveness

Climbing up steps
October 24th, 2022

When using a mediator what process might be used?

When humans interact on a conflict it does not mean there have to be negative consequences. Disputes, conflicts, or disagreements can be addressed in a number of ways, but sometimes a third party mediator may help the parties look at the situation differently allowing the parties to actually grow as part of the process. A trained mediator familiar with the area in question can often cut to the chase and help de-escalate the situation to focus on the substantive issues. In previous posts the various alternative forms of mediation were introduced (evaluative, facilitative, transformative) including with an application to family businesses. What these demonstrate is that mediation can play a vital role in addressing these types of disputes.

"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.

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.

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.

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.

A series of white doors with one gold door
May 1st, 2022

How amazing that our brain can adapt to address conflict and promote collaboration

You may believe that you cannot control your anger. You may believe that conflict and disputes are fixed in our brains. However, our brains are unique in that they are the only organ that has the ability to change and adapt. This is called neuroplasticity. Some interesting research has found how our brains can adapt even when up to half of the brain is missing. Now think about this from the perspective on how your brain can adapt and change when addressing conflict or a dispute.

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