Many people don’t enjoy conflict. We often undervalue the positive role that healthy conflict can contribute to the workplace. Workplace disagreements don’t have to result in hurt feelings, anger, or anxiety. When properly facilitated, healthy conflict can create opportunities for innovation, better decision making, and more robust strategic thinking.
The first thing to recognize is that at the heart of disagreement is passion. Individuals who don’t care deeply about the success of a project, future of the organization, or organizational values won’t devote any energy to engaging in conflict. Disagreement means your team members are engaged enough to care about the outcome, and that is an important element to be harnessed when possible. It can also be one way to establish common ground when facilitating positive conflict. When everyone remembers that they share a common goal, it creates an opportunity for parties to recognize that conflict isn’t always a zero-sum game.
People-watching has long been one of my favorite hobbies. I enjoy watching people’s behavior, body language, and facial expressions, especially when they believe no one is watching. I enjoy making hypotheses about what the person will do next and imagine backstories for each person I encounter. While people-watching is a fun way to pass the time (and reduce time spent doom scrolling), building the skill of people watching, even online, can be particularly effective in the workplace.
In early 2015, Dan Price (CEO of Gravity Payments) made headlines with his ground-breaking decision to cut his own wages from $1.1M down to $70,000 per year. At the same time, he instituted a new organization-wide minimum wage of $70,000 for all positions. The announcement was met with both praise and skepticism. Some analysts feared the decision would be detrimental to the organization’s profits. They speculated that the increased wages would create conflict between more skilled workers who were already making near $70,000 based on their career growth and unique skill-set. The decision to increase workers’ wages and take a more socially-conscious approach to compensation was expected to be a Business School case study for years to come. Today, if you type “Gravity Payments” into Google, the first suggested search phrase is “Is Gravity Payments still in business?”
From the archives —”The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge”—Thomas Berger
In our fast-paced world of virtual meetings and overly packed calendars, communication for most managers involves an endless rut of “report and update” meetings. In these meetings, each party is responsible for reporting out updates on their progress, results, issues, etc. One by one, each person delivers prepared status updates that may or may not be the exact same updates they delivered a week ago. The meetings are usually so packed with updates (or the façade of new information) that, in the interest of allowing everyone time to share their updates, no one has time to ask questions.
There is no greater error than failing to ask questions.
Asking questions can be an art, a skill, and a tool depending on the purpose. In every situation, I believe if you ask 3 more questions than you’d previously prepared to ask, it will completely change the outcome of the communication. Three is truly the magic number for questions. When you ask three additional questions, you’re investing in information. Three questions shows you’re not superficially interested in the topic.
Here are three instances where three questions make all the difference:Read More
Executives across the world are facing difficult decisions regarding the future of work. Many organizations are still operating with a 100% remote workforce, while others have chosen a hybrid model that allows a small percentage of workers back in the office.
To plan for the next stage in the “return to normal,” organizations are engaging their employees for feedback. They’re asking individuals to share their preferences for working remotely full-time, working from the office full-time, or a hybrid model. While it’s important to gather data and plan the workspace strategically, there are much broader perspectives that should be captured immediately and addressed through employee surveys.
From our archives: Employers are always seeking out ways to predict human behavior. Which candidate will excel? Which comp plan will improve retention and drive the biggest results? Which employees will remain engaged? Which employees will burn out? Which employees are high risk? Which employees are planning to leave?
An HR technology vendor recently pitched their latest employee retention product to me. They believe they can predict (with alarming certainty) which of your employees are a flight risk. The algorithm they use to arrive at this conclusion is complex and expansive, but one key factor is the most predictive of an employee’s plan to leave—LinkedIn. After years of analysis, these researchers determined that people who are planning to leave their current employer not only check in on LinkedIn more often to network, but they like, share, and post more updates.
But before you start closely monitoring your employees’ activity on LinkedIn, ask yourself this tough question: even if their social media activity has increased, what do you plan to do about it? Read More