Five Habits of Highly Effective Conflict Resolvers

Written by Dina Beach Lynch, Esq.


Steven Covey hadrepparttar right idea. There are discreet skills and attitudes, habits if you will, that can elevate your conflict practice to a new level. This article shares a selection of habits and attitudes that can transform a good conflict resolver into a highly effective one. By that I mean someone who facilitates productive, meaningful discussion between others that results in deeper self-awareness, mutual understanding and workable solutions.

I have usedrepparttar 119518 term ‘conflict resolver’ intentionally to reinforcerepparttar 119519 idea that human resource professionals and managers are instrumental in ending disputes, regardless of whether they are also mediators. These conflict management techniques are life skills that are useful in whatever setting you find yourself. With these skills, you can create environments that are respectful, collaborative and conducive to problem-solving. And, you’ll teach your employees to be proactive, by modeling successful conflict management behaviors. .


Since you’rerepparttar 119520 ‘go to person’ in your organization, it’s natural for you to jump right in to handle conflict. When an employee visits you to discuss a personality conflict, you assess a situation, determinerepparttar 119521 next steps and proceed untilrepparttar 119522 problem is solved. But is that helpful?

When you take charge,repparttar 119523 employee is relieved of his or her responsibility to find a solution. That leaves you to dorepparttar 119524 work around finding alternatives. And while you want to do what’s best for this person (andrepparttar 119525 organization), it’s important to ask whatrepparttar 119526 employee wants first-- whether it’s to vent, brainstorm solutions or get some coaching. Understand whatrepparttar 119527 person entering your door wants by asking questions:

•How can I be most helpful to you? •What are you hoping I will do? •What do you see my role as in this matter?


By now everyone has taken at least one active listening course so I won’t addressrepparttar 119528 basic skills. Collaborative Listening takes those attending and discerning skills one step further. It recognizes that in listening each person has a job that supportsrepparttar 119529 work ofrepparttar 119530 other. The speaker’s job is to clearly express his or her thoughts, feelings and goals. The listener’s job is facilitating clarity; understanding and makerepparttar 119531 employee feel heard.

So what’srepparttar 119532 difference? The distinction is acknowledgement. Your role is to helprepparttar 119533 employee gain a deeper understanding of her own interests and needs; to define concepts and words in a way that expresses her values (i.e. respect means something different to each one of us); and to make her feel acknowledged—someone sees things from her point of view.

Making an acknowledgement is tricky in corporate settings. Understandably, you want to helprepparttar 119534 employee but are mindful ofrepparttar 119535 issues of corporate liability. You can acknowledgerepparttar 119536 employee even while safeguarding your company.

Simply put, acknowledgement does not mean agreement. It means lettingrepparttar 119537 employee know that you can see how he got to his truth. It doesn’t mean taking sides withrepparttar 119538 employee or abandoning your corporate responsibilities. Acknowledgement can berepparttar 119539 bridge across misperceptions. Engage in Collaborative Listening by:

•Helprepparttar 119540 employee to explore and be clear about his interests and goals

•Acknowledge her perspective

oI can see how you might see it that way. oThat must be difficult for you. oI understand that you feel _______ about this.

•Ask questions that probe for deeper understanding on both your parts: oWhen you said x, what did you mean by that? oIf y happens, what’s significant about that for you? oWhat am I missing in understanding this from your perspective?


Messages transmitted from one person torepparttar 119541 next are very powerful. Sometimes people have to hear it ‘fromrepparttar 119542 horse’s mouth’. Other times, you’ll have to berepparttar 119543 transmitter of good thoughts and feelings. Pick up those ‘gems’, those positive messages that flow when employees feel safe and heard in mediation, and present them torepparttar 119544 other employee. Your progress will improve.

Balance Your Managerial Life

Written by Matthew Rekers, MBA

We have only one life, but we live in three overlapping worlds—our business world, our family world, and our other social world. Imagine bringing your spouse and kids to a meeting with seven of your salespersonnel. Sitting off to your left, Miss Wright asksrepparttar question onrepparttar 119517 minds of all her fellow sales colleagues, “Why did you bring your family to our meeting today? Will they be playing any sort of role in our discussion?” You simply respond, “No, they’re just here so I can tend to their needs.”

Of course, this is a highly unlikely scenario. You don’t bring your family into work with you every day. However, Heather Howitt does. Howitt,repparttar 119518 CEO of Oregon Chai in Portland, Oregon, balances motherhood with her responsibility of running an eleven million dollar manufacturer of tea lattes. “Our office is a very casual place. We’ve got a family element going on here.”

Living inrepparttar 119519 rain soaked city of Portland, 32-year-old Howitt often arrives at her office lightly splattered with mud. She often spends her lunch break taking her one-year-old son, Sawyer, to a nearby park, or to her nanny who takes him home. On other days, she simply places him in his crib in her office.

Withrepparttar 119520 growth of her company, Howitt hired some key executives including a chief operating officer to manage operations and finance. She also delegatedrepparttar 119521 sales calls that she used to make herself. “I used to come in at 6 a.m. and make calls nonstop,” she explained. “I don’t have to do that anymore.” Howitt positioned herself in a way so that she is no longer personally over-worked or over-challenged by her daily responsibilities atrepparttar 119522 company. She balanced her business and private life. She not only recognized her strategic contribution torepparttar 119523 success of Oregon Chai, but she also appreciates her unique role inrepparttar 119524 life of her young son.

As an entrepreneur or a business executive, you must give your best in two entirely different worlds. The needs of your business andrepparttar 119525 needs of your family and friends compete for your time and attention. And both expectrepparttar 119526 very best from you. Heather Howitt found one way to do it; you may have another way.

To enjoy bothrepparttar 119527 rewards of business success and family fulfillment, you need to constantly work to keep your balance. To successfully tacklerepparttar 119528 challenges of a fast-growing company, you need allrepparttar 119529 personal resources that come from a balanced life. “How do you develop a balanced business personality?”

Some entrepreneurial executives suffer from dangerous imbalance. Others achieve top excellence in maintaining optimal balance. “Early in my career, I use to think that entrepreneurship was more an art than a science, that it was a gift or something,” says Cherrill Farnsworth. “I don’t believe that anymore.” Entrepreneurial leadership is not some automatic personality trait or some artistic talent some people are just born with and others happen to lack. Instead, entrepreneurial effectiveness with a balanced life is a dynamic process that you must constantly work at. If you don’t keep developing and nurturing your entrepreneurial personality, it might just die. Then, only drastic action might revive that entrepreneurial spirit.

That’s exactly what happened to Sam T. Goodner. His software company,repparttar 119530 Austin-based Catapult Systems Corp., ranked 77th amongrepparttar 119531 fastest growing companies in America while Goodner served asrepparttar 119532 founding CEO. At age 33, Goodner decided to step down as CEO of Catapult to take onrepparttar 119533 new challenge of serving as CEO of Inquisite Inc., a Catapult subsidiary that sells software overrepparttar 119534 Internet. But Goodner soon found his new digs to be “harsher, more spartan” than what he was accustomed to. “Half of it is actually under ground,” he explained, describing his much less attractive new office space.

But Goodner was not complaining. After all, it was his own idea to leaverepparttar 119535 comfortable CEO position of Catapult with a staff of 115, to head Inquisite Inc., with only 20 employees. But now something was wrong. To be sure, there were plenty of challenges to attend to. The phone rang for his attention, paper kept fillingrepparttar 119536 “in” box, and email messages steadily came in from employees, venders, and customers. Every day, and every hour, urgent decisions had to be made, so much so that anyone in his shoes could have been overwhelmed byrepparttar 119537 “tyranny ofrepparttar 119538 urgent.”

But increasingly, he felt like he was only reacting to demands and not taking a visionary proactive role any longer. And too often, long hours of work would crowd out what he’d prefer to do in his home and personal life. Even worse, he realized that even if he could experience any gratification in his personal world, it could not make up for what was missing in his business world.

“I had none of my entrepreneurial creativity left,” Goodner reflected. “I was falling back on what was easy. You know that’s happening when you start just going through your email all day long.” Recognizing that his former entrepreneurial spirit was gone, he resigned and hired a new CEO to headrepparttar 119539 company.

Perhaps Goodner had already achieved financial independence and had other worthy goals to pursue in life. In that case, relinquishing his CEO position could berepparttar 119540 best decision to make. But could there have been another way to recover his entrepreneurial spirit with a healthy balance of attention to work, family, and friends?

Entrepreneurial functioning can range fromrepparttar 119541 low level, “You are personally over worked and over challenged”—torepparttar 119542 most desirable level, “You regularly implement action plans to improve every aspect of your life.”

The lowest level of functioning leaves your company endangered. Top management is personally over worked and over challenged. The unrelenting urgent matters of your business seem to demand so much of your time that you go to work earlier and earlier, and stay later and later intorepparttar 119543 evening. You are like a runaway tire, rolling down a steep hill, turning faster and faster and faster until finally, you run out of control and then crash. “There must be a better way.” And you are right! There is.

“Overrepparttar 119544 past three years, I’ve been able to identify gradually what things I can give to my CPA, or to my bookkeeper, or to my office manager. I read about people who work 60 or 90 hours a week and build multimillion-dollar businesses atrepparttar 119545 expense of their health and family. Those aren’t success stories in my book. Success is having a multimillion-dollar business andrepparttar 119546 other stuff, too,” says 40-year-old Tom Melaragno, founder ofrepparttar 119547 $7.6-million Compri Consulting, an IT consulting and staffing firm founded in 1992. Although he put in 12-hour days when he startedrepparttar 119548 business, today he works just 8 or 9 hours and makes sure he’s there to watch his two sons’ Little League baseball games inrepparttar 119549 summer and coachrepparttar 119550 older one’s football team inrepparttar 119551 fall.

Taking a proactive stance means you take control to invest your life wisely. Scott Tinley is an extraordinary triathlete who has competed in more than 350 triathlons including 19 Hawaii Ironman triathlons. The triathlon is an endurance sport involving swimming, bicycling, and running. Amazingly, Tinley has won nearly 100 races. “This sport is about a combination of personal challenge, camaraderie, and achievement of self-knowledge,” Tinley explains.

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