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By now, deep into the most polarizing year in recent history, you’ve probably had a few clues. You’ve tried to respond to anger and vitriol with facts. You attempted to battle ignorance with evidence. You’re hoping you can change someone’s might with a snazzy graph.

But by now, you’ve realized that facts don’t solve fights.

Why Not?

Because opposing facts and information aren’t the cause of the conflicts you face. When you’re grappling with different facts, it will feel more like problem solving, not fighting.

As soon as the source of the issue is something buried beneath the facts in the realm of conflicting values and motives, that’s when it will start to look, feel, or smell like a conflict. In that case, the facts are just a diversion your opponent creatively curates to justify how they feel and what they believe. …

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Now that we’re trying to keep calm and carry on, many teams are back to hiring employees and facing the question of how to integrate a new team member when everyone is working remotely.

On the plus side, you don’t have to worry about the security badge not being ready on time.

On the downside, there’s no opportunity to decorate the newbie’s cubicle or do the meet-and-greet walkabout (now that I think about it, that might be another upside).

One way or another, we’re going to need to find creative ways to onboard new team members during work from home.

Set Your Orientation Objectives

Everything I’m going to say in this section holds whether you’re onboarding a new team member during a global pandemic or just on a typical Monday in June. …

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You’re trapped in a meeting where everyone is rehashing last month’s performance at the most ridiculous level of detail. Thirty minutes into a 60-minute meeting and you’re only a quarter of the way through the 147 page deck.

Wow…nothing more efficient than sitting together and reading off of slides.

How do you pivot the meeting from a complete waste of time, mired in unfiltered data, and baseless conjecture, into a valuable discussion with some hope of triggering insight and maybe even action?

There are a few simple pivots that will do the trick.

Before we get to the pivots, we need to talk about the difference between a low-value, information dump discussion and a high-value insight generating one. …

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Is your team stuck in the weeds and dragging you down with them?

I asked people to tell me how they know when they’re in the weeds and these were a few of my favorite responses:

I spent 8 hours working on a report only to realize a week later that no one ever opened it.

I was two hours into a meeting before realizing it could have been replaced by a 5-minute email.

I was two hours into crafting an email before realizing could have been replaced with a 5-minute phone call.

I spent 45 minutes down a stock image rabbit hole in search of the perfect images for an internal-use-only presentation. …

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Photo by Hunter Newton on Unsplash

Would you call yourself a manager or a leader? And what’s the difference?

How much of your time is spent producing work yourself, not even managing or leading?

Your team probably needs you to be a producer, a manager, and a leader. It’s worth taking a few minutes to reflect on how much of your time and energy is going to each of these very different roles.

Let’s start with some quick definitions so we’re on the same page.

Definitions

Producing

The standard way of talking about the leadership progression is “do-manage-lead.” …

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Photo by Frank Busch on Unsplash

“Never come to me with a problem, only come with solutions”

-Everyone’s Boss

I’m going to tell you that this can be really bad advice; advice you should ignore.

Before I do that, let me defend your poor managers and remind you why it makes sense for your them to tell you to come prepared with a solution, rather than bringing unresolved issues to the discussion:

  1. Requiring you to bring solutions and not just problems significantly cuts down on the drama and moaning your boss has to endure. …
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New research* suggests that if you’re willing to dish out negative behaviors at work, you’d better be prepared to take them.

A meta-analysis of almost 100,000 people over 200 studies shows that negative behaviors (ranging from avoidance, to incivility, all the way up to bullying, and even violence) tend to be returned in kind. And if anything, those reciprocations were more likely to escalate the conflict, rather than deescalate it.

And don’t kid yourself; some of the most intractable, enduring team conflicts can start over the tiniest transgression.

In our culture of busyness and overwhelm it’s so easy to give in to a moment of behaving impetuously only to find that you’ve inadvertently started a vicious cycle that can hamper both productivity and engagement. …

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Have you ever been in an argument and wondered, how the heck did this fight get started?

If you could rewind the tape, I bet you’d find it all started innocently with someone trying to resolve an issue. But they were really invested in the issue and probably delivered their point of view a little too definitively.

And if the camera had panned over to your face as the person was speaking, it would have caught a nanosecond of you being shocked and confused, an instant of you taking exception and preparing your rebuttal, and then an onslaught of you refuting and rebutting their argument. …

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You’re worrying about too much at work, aren’t you?

How do I know?

Because the vast majority of people I meet are in the same boat. I see it in their eyes. I spot it in their reactions when they’re asked to take on even the most trivial new task. I feel their stress at not being able to get everything done and their panic at the thought that they might have forgotten about a ball in the air that’s about to drop.

We are talking constantly about our unmanageable workloads. …

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I was giving one of my favorite keynote speeches. It’s called, “Change Has Changed,” and it’s about the different ways you need to manage people when change is constant. I spend time at the end talking about the importance of resilience and one of the topics that often comes up is how email is destroying our resilience (and maybe ruining our will to live).

I decided to pull together some of the guidelines and techniques I recommend to improve email on a team. I thought I’d share them with you.

How to Stop Email from Sucking

Focus on the Receiver

To make email work for you, make it work for the person you’re sending it to. As you type the name of the recipient into the To: line, start thinking about what they need from this email so they can give you what you need. Yup, it’s the classic help me help you situation. …

About

Liane Davey

NYT Bestselling Author, Keynote Speaker, Ph.D. Organizational Psychology, Conflict Doctor

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