Keys to High Performing Teams part 8 – Workplace Conflict Resolution

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Businessman yelling.This is the eighth in a series of Ten Keys to High Performing Teams. This article looks at the role that conflict resolution plays in workplace performance.

Conflict, like change, is inevitable. But it does not have to be destructive. Handled well, conflict can be a driver of innovation leading to better outcomes for everyone. The good news is that if you implement the other Keys to High Performing Teams in this series, you are already avoiding some of the drivers which can make conflict damaging and costly.

But because conflict is usually seen as something negative, painful and destructive, many people and organisations try to live in denial, seeking to avoid open conflict at all costs. This is not a good idea! It leads to even more pain over time as the conflict goes underground spreading its toxic fruits without being given a chance for a positive resolution.  (more…)

Ten keys to getting high performing teams

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

GoalsThis is the first of a series of ten blog posts where I will expand on each of the ten keys to high performing teams that I have identified.  Watch out for future posts over the coming weeks.  But first off, here are the Ten Keys to High Performing Teams: (more…)

Discover the Other, Discover yourself

Monday, July 1st, 2013
Image: 'Dialogue' by Viennese artist Oskar Kokoshka

‘Dialogues’ by Viennese artist Oskar Kokoschka. From his book ‘The Dreaming Youths’

Discovering the Other goes hand in hand with Discovering Yourself. You cannot have one without the other.

On the one hand, you cannot discover your own identity except, as J Krishnamurti puts it, ‘through the mirror of relationships’. All of us have a self-image which is different from the way other people see us. You might think you are smart while other people see you as a fool – or vice-versa. You might think you are good looking, while others see you as ugly (again, or vice-versa). You might think you are fair and honest while others see you as a selfish schemer. Only by listening to the perspectives of others can we correct the distorted picture we have of ourselves. I’m not saying that other people’s perspectives are any less distorted than your own. But by allowing your own self-image to be challenged by others you can gradually come to a deeper understanding of yourself. (more…)

The straw man argument

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Staw ManPeople who love to win arguments love the “straw man” argument technique (also known in the UK as an “Aunt Sally”).

This is how it works:

Instead of arguing with your opponent’s position head on, you construct a false version of their position – the straw man. This looks similar on the surface, but is usually a caricature – a distortion of what they are really saying. It is easy to pick holes in the straw man’s argument and demolish it. Slaying the straw man gives the illusion that you have won the fight.

Politicians love it! Once your eyes are open to this technique you see it everywhere. (more…)

Alan Jones: How can we disagree without being disagreeable?

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

toxic behaviourLast weekend I spent some time writing to all the companies who advertise on Alan Jones’ 2GB Radio show. For non-Aussies, I should explain that Alan Jones is a Sydney based ‘shock jock’. A right-wing radio talk-show host. He doesn’t like our current Prime Minister. He has previously said that she should be placed in a chaff bag and dumped at sea. But the comment which sparked people like me into action was a reference to the Prime Minister’s father, John Gillard, who died recently. ‘The old man recently died a few weeks ago of shame to think that he had a daughter who told lies every time she stood for Parliament,’ Jones told a Sydney University Liberal Club dinner audience. As of today, I’m glad to note that several companies have pulled their sponsorship from the show, although the chances are that they will return once the noise has died down. (more…)

Peace is not the absence of war: the limits of conflict transformation

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
US troops in Iraq

US troops in Iraq

My third contribution to the Peacebuilders Panel on TransConflict centres around Baruch Spinoza’s observation that Peace is not an absence of war.

The proposition we were asked to write about is this:

Conflict transformation goes beyond merely seeking to contain and manage conflict, instead seeking to transform the root causes themselves – or the perceptions of the root causes – of a particular conflict;

Here is what I wrote: (more…)

Frameworks for understanding & managing diversity – part 7. Gender differences

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

This is the seventh, and last (for now) in a series of articles on frameworks for understanding and managing diversity. Part 1 looked at different developmental stages. Part 2 looked at the huge issue of cultural diversity. Part 3 looked at the sensitive question of religious differences,  part 4 looked at the role of different values, part 5 looked at the role of personality differences and part 6 looked at at our different representational systems.

Last, but not least, as author John Gray has pointed out, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. This article looks at gender differences. (more…)

Understanding the Causes of Conflict in the workplace – ebook

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

I would like to offer you a free PDF ebook on Understanding the Causes of Conflict in the Workplace. This is one of the chapters of my forthcoming book Discover the Other – 4 keys for better relationships in the workplace

Often, people involved in a conflict are not aware of the root causes. And the incident which triggers the conflict is often not the real reason for it.

The ebook explains the four root causes of workplace conflict and what you can do to resolve the issues. It also includes a questionaire tool at the end which you can use to analyse any conflict.

This analysis is important, because the different causes of workplace conflict each require a slightly different response.

If you would like to download a copy, just fill in the form below.

Mike Lowe
Helping individuals and teams get into flow






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Understanding the Causes of Conflict in the Workplace

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Tonglen meditation as a tool for workplace conflict resolution

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Do you have some people you work with whom you dislike? Do you feel irritated, angry, anxious, nervous or bored around them? Do you find that their presence in your life is a source of conflict – either with you or with others?

If that is the case, then here’s a great tool for dealing with people  you find challenging – whether it is people you see daily or the occasional frustrating encounter with an aggressive motorist. It is called the tonglen meditation and it comes from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

If you are familiar with meditation, you might find some of this counterintuitive.  Like other Eastern practices, it involves becoming aware of your breathing, and taking slow deep breaths. You might find it easier to do the following with your eyes closed. (more…)

Workplace conflict resolution – Understanding our communications filters

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Communications skills for workplace conflict resolutionMiscommunication is a common cause of workplace conflict. In these cases, successful conflict resolution requires improving communications skills and understanding our communications filters.

Every second our senses send millions and millions of bits of information to our brains for processing. Our eyes capture more information than the highest resolution digital camera. Our ears hear more detail than can be produced by the most expensive 24-bit recordings. Every hair on our arms feels the slightest breeze etc. (more…)