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Less-Is-More Blog by Pierre Khawand

5 Ways to Manage Conflict at Work You Can Use Right Now

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Tue, May 20, 2014 @ 03:22 PM

Lorraine Segalby Lorraine Segal

Many of us shudder with fear or dread when we hear the word “conflict.” We would do anything to avoid it, sidestep it, ignore it, or somehow fix disagreements without actually dealing with them.

Unfortunately, conflict is an inevitable part of human interactions, at home or at work and it won’t go away just because we, understandably, would prefer not to deal with it.

Sign up for our free webinar with Lorraine Segal, June 5, 2014 at noon PT, "Effective Strategies to Manage Conflict at Work."

Tips for managing conflict at work

The good news

When we accept the reality of conflict, it is absolutely possible to learn techniques and ways of thinking that help us manage and even resolve conflict with co-workers, bosses, or employees. It can take practice, support, repetition and willingness to integrate and use these approaches well, but my clients, and I vouch for their effectiveness.

Here are a few effective strategies and mindsets to get you started:

    1. Accept that conflict happens.

    Conflicts will arise. You don’t need to blame yourself or another for a disagreement. This helps you keep an open mind to focus on solutions.

        2. Manage your own emotions and responses.

          Are they saying or doing something that sends you through the roof? Chances are the intensity of your reaction has to do with past experiences, not just the current problem. Becoming aware of what is getting triggered, and then separating the past from the present situation, will help you stay calm and present.

            3. Make the first move.                                                              

            Be willing to make the first move toward resolution, even if you think it is their fault and they should be the first to act. Do it anyway, and you will get the benefit.

                4.   Be willing to listen.                                         

                  Each of us has our own way of framing and describing our experience. When we recognize that they have a different story about what happened, and become willing to listen to and understand their perspective, we can see more clearly how we got embroiled and how we might resolve the conflict.

                    5.   Take responsibility for your part.

                    Did you make a mistake that affected someone else, lose your temper, or hurt someone’s feelings? This is human and inevitable, as well. If you can acknowledge your part, instead of reacting defensively, it can defuse conflict. This does not mean taking all the responsibility, but sincerely recognizing what you did wrong.

                      The rewards of mastering conflict skills

                      It takes a lot of practice and willingness to become aware of your assumptions about the other person, and to change your behaviors and ways of thinking about conflict. But making these changes will reap rich rewards—including peace of mind, more energy for your work and your life, and better interactions with those around you.

                      Get good enough at it, and you may be seen as the “go-to” person for helping others with their disagreements, which is an excellent leadership ability. Individual communication/conflict management coaching or classes can offer support, rehearsal, and guidance for strengthening these crucial skills.

                      Click now to sign up for our complimentary webinar on 6/5/14 with Lorraine Segal, "Effective Strategies to Manage Conflict at Work."

                      Lorraine Segal (M.A. TESOL) was a tenured community college professor for many years before she found her true passion for helping people communicate better, resolve conflicts, let go of resentments, and forgive themselves and others.

                      Now, she is a communication and forgiveness specialist, a certified conflict management coach, a mediator, and a teacher. She has her own Sonoma County-based business, Conflict Remedy, offering individual and group coaching. She also teaches communication and forgiveness skills at Sonoma State University and St. Joseph’s Health Life Learning Center. For more information about Lorraine and her work, visit her website: www.ConflictRemedy.com.

                      Topics: human resources, Lunch & Learn Webinars, management, collaboration, team work, leadership

                      Leadership Advantage in the Modern Workplace

                      Posted by Pierre Khawand on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 @ 03:50 PM

                      Valencia Rayby Valencia Ray, M.D.

                      Women do have an advantage in leadership style in today’s workplace, not simply because we are women, but more so because “heart” behavior, such as showing another person empathy or exercising better listening skill is becoming more socially acceptable as exemplary leadership behavior. Yet, do not men have a “heart” as well? Judy B. Rosener in the Harvard Business Review article “Ways Women Lead” postulates that characteristics generally considered to be “feminine” accounts for why women are succeeding in the 21st century workplace. “Macho male” leadership styles tend to lead to disengagement in today's world.

                      -> Sign up for our free webinar Thursday, May 1 at noon PT, Leadership BEYOND Gender: Transform Limiting Mindsets to Become an Engaging Leader.describe the image

                      Let me be explicit here for a moment. While I know that our language implicates “feminine” as being only of the female or woman, I find it striking that the functional qualities of our right-brain parallel qualities that our language defines as feminine or female. Yet, human beings – men included – have a right-brain hemisphere. Perhaps we need to rethink the etymology of “feminine” and realize that with the clearer understanding of the roles of the brain hemispheres, our tendency to define behavior along gender lines may be antiquated. Our brain capabilities give us the ability to act as we need to in order to evolve and adapt to our environment. Could it be that we have artificially segmented and categorized behaviors unwittingly according to gender, when really it is culture that has determined what is “feminine” versus “masculine” behavior? That true biology as related to the physiology of our brain has much greater flexibility than this?

                      For the sake of males who are leaders in today’s world where empathy is valued, I would think that looking at behavior based upon our brain’s ability to respond should supersede outdated definitions that connect behaviors along gender lines. Empathy is a human quality that can be cultivated, not a limited-to-gender quality. Perhaps we can start to recognize that our left-brain and right-brain contain functional qualities that can help us on an individual basis as needed, instead of pegging behavior into gender role-playing. Enough said; something to think about.

                      The opportunity for leadership development is to allow each individual human being social access to their whole brain as needed, and as uniquely expressed by their unique personality. I believe it is fear and the need to conform that is at the root of so many people’s behaviors, with the pressure to conform to gender stereotypes being one of the most pervasive in our workplaces. One’s behavior may not even feel like authentic expression to him or her. I know; I’ve been there, and I am still growing in self-knowledge. Learning never ends. When I was a “command-control” leader, I felt like a fake, though I would not have admitted it. I was hiding my fear behind aggression, which is a common phenomenon. In light of this, I am drawn to the words of Shawn Anchor, a Harvard researcher, taken from his book, The Happiness Advantage:

                      Happiness is not the belief that we don’t need to change; it is the realization that we can.

                      Men who reject empathy and other “right-brain” related traits and continue to push women into gender conformity boxes are cutting off their noses to spite their faces. Think of the word right-brain and the word “heart” as interchangeable. Men have access to “right-brained” styles, but they tend to under-develop them. Recall the concept of neuroplasticity. We need to reframe the connotation of the word “heart” because the right-brain is critical to innovation and creativity. Currently we stereotypically attribute the word “heart” only to females in its connotation. Again, do men also have a right-brain? The brain can adapt and, quite frankly, some men’s authentic personality is more prone toward these “heart-centered” traits, if the truth were told.

                      More often than not, the brain is performing as programmed. This prompts us as leaders to change the conversation from one that constantly compares women with men as if their biological sex is responsible. Continuing this old conversation only helps to sustain the “battle of the sexes,” which does not serve organizations or society and is now, in fact, limiting our progress as a whole. This kind of conversation also avoids a critical reality: when made self-aware, both women and men can change. This is good news to those who are willing to embrace change and evolve. This is not about “fixing” our self; it is about learning and growing to reach more of our true potential.

                      describe the imageIn fact, our inclination to cling to stereotypical role-playing models based on gender is at the heart of many of our leadership woes. For example, men limit their leadership ability by clinging to the belief that they must be stoic and repress their sense of empathy and connection to others. This type of behavior limits heart engagement and the ability to inspire others. There is new research demonstrating that men indeed show signs in early childhood development and into adulthood that they have equal ability to access empathy. Women who believe the “woman’s place” is to remain in the background are not very likely to assert themselves when needed, or to voice their authentic opinion without fear of rejection. Needless to say, the ability to navigate change in organizational culture is limited by this type of behavior on the part of the leader. Both of these socially perpetuated behaviors tend to be unconsciously conditioned in us as children and in social contexts, and there is now new, compelling research to support this claim. If we are all going to start performing at our best and living more passionate and fulfilling lives, we will need to move leadership beyond gender. What are your thoughts or experiences?

                      VALENCIA RAY, M.D. coaches and consults for organizations that want to help their leaders and teams perform at their very best. She also helps to restore vision by shining a light on the core issues that keep people from reaching their true potential. She is the author of, Leadership BEYOND Gender: Transcend Limiting Mindsets to Become a More Engaging Leader. To contact Valencia, visit her website at www.ValenciaRay.com.

                      Click now to sign up for the complimentary webinar 5/1, Leadership BEYOND Gender: Transform Limiting Mindsets to Become an Engaging Leader with Valencia Ray.

                      Topics: career, team work, leadership

                      7 Public Speaking Tips for Business from Author, Speaker Jenny Blake

                      Posted by Pierre Khawand on Fri, Mar 28, 2014 @ 01:47 PM

                      Jenny Blake has a refreshing take on public speaking—it’s OK to feel nervous! It’s normal!

                      “It was simply my body doing its job—engaging my flight or fight response as a survival instinct during what it perceives as a very dangerous situation,” reflects the Life After College author and now international speaker on the inevitable nerves that came with one of her first, big speeches.

                      Even though, it’s perfectly normal to get the pre-speaking engagement jitters, Jenny is quick to remind, “It doesn’t have to be this way.”

                      Join Jenny as she presents at our free webinar on April 3, 2014, "Speak Like a Pro: Practical Tips to Propel Your Confidence, Delivery, and Impact."

                      According to Jenny, speaking like a pro is all about preparation of mind AND body, and knowing how to give yourself a break while engaging with your audience with full authenticity.

                      Here are seven public speaking tips below adapted from Jenny’s writing on the topic:

                        1. Know where you want to take the audience.

                          A great speech involves taking your audience on a journey and inspiring them to action. Go-to quote from Jenny: “How do you want to impact the audience, and what would you like them to DO as a result of your speech?”

                          jenny blake wds speaklikeapro

                            2. Make change happen.

                              The desired outcome of your speech should improve the lives of the audience members in some way. If you’re not making change happen, then there’s no point.

                                3. Get prepared.

                                  Commit your speech to memory over and over again, so it actually moves out of the front of your mind it's become so natural. (Jenny will discuss the brain science behind public speaking more at our upcoming webinar.)

                                    4. Get prepared some more.

                                      Jenny recommends practicing your speech in the morning and at night for one week before your presentation. Practice “sticky” sections until you have them down. Record yourself and listen, or seek feedback from a trial audience, co-worker, or friend.

                                        5. Make the mind, body connection.

                                          Proper sleep, deep breathing exercises, and even pacing will help to quell and channel that adrenaline before the big speech.

                                            6. Have fun!

                                              “The audience wants you to succeed and they want you to be human, not a speech robot!,” says Jenny. During the presentation, it’s important to be yourself. Give yourself a break, smile, and enjoy the moment.

                                                7. Keep strong and carry on.

                                                  The most important thing to remember is that you CAN do it! Even if nerves take over or technical problems occur, it’s still your time to shine by taking your speech to the finish. As Jenny shares, “People will love you more for keeping strong and (awkwardly) carrying on.”

                                                  Register now for Jenny's free webinar, "Speak Like a Pro: Practical Tips to Propel Your Confidence, Delivery, and Impact," on April 3, 2014 at noon PT.

                                                  You can learn more about Jenny Blake in the video below, or by visiting www.jennyblake.me.

                                                   Additional Resources & Webinars

                                                  Topics: career, Lunch & Learn Webinars, leadership

                                                  What Matters Most to Employees: 6 Authors Explore Employee Engagement

                                                  Posted by Pierre Khawand on Thu, Feb 27, 2014 @ 06:17 PM

                                                  describe the imageEmployee engagement worldwide is at a low, as so reported a widely publicized Gallup study last fall indicating that only 13 percent of employees are engaged at work. 

                                                  Part of the dilemma in understanding the complex, human capital issue of employee engagement is really starting with a definition. What does it mean for employees to be engaged?

                                                  Christine Mellon, VP of Human Capital Management Transformation at Oracle will present on this topic at People-OnTheGo’s free webinar, March 6, 2014: “The Employee Engagement Trap: How HR should approach the ‘Employee Experience.’”

                                                  Click to register for the free webinar.

                                                  In this 40-minute presentation, Mellon will discuss the difference between employee engagement and the “employee experience,” and will offer valuable insight into strengthening the employee-employer relationship.

                                                  Indeed, finding out what matters most to employees means going beyond the standard understanding of employee engagement. Here are six authors below who are also challenging what it means for employees to be engaged, and their thoughts on the issue:

                                                  Going beyond satisfaction.

                                                  “Engaged doesn’t mean satisfied… You can be satisfied at work, but that might mean you are satisfied only enough to do the bare minimum to get by. You might be satisfied but still taking calls from recruiters offering a 5% bump in pay. Satisfied isn’t enough.”

                                                  - Kevin Kruse, Employee Engagement for Everyone: 4 Keys to Happiness and Fulfillment at Work

                                                  Contributing to something bigger.

                                                  “All employees have an innate desire to contribute to something bigger than themselves.”

                                                  - Jag Randhawa, The Bright Idea Box: A Proven System to Drive Employee Engagement and Innovation  

                                                  Respect and engagement go hand in hand.

                                                  “I realized that the concept of respect perfectly explained how in the span of two months I had gone from an enthusiastic new hire to handing in my resignation… It was clear to me that respect was the lynchpin of employee engagement.”

                                                  - Paul L. Marciano, Carrots and Sticks Don't Work: Build a Culture of Employee Engagement with the Principles of RESPECT

                                                  More than just perks.

                                                  “The organization may lavish you with perks, but those perks don’t hold the key to engagement. Feeding the pleasure center of the brain through extrinsic rewards doesn’t engage a person and build real, lasting fulfillment.”

                                                  - Timothy R. Clark, The Employee Engagement Mindset: The Six Drivers for Tapping into the Hidden Potential of Everyone in Your Company

                                                  A feeling of commitment.

                                                  “Employee engagement is characterized as a feeling of commitment, passion, and energy that translates into high levels of persistence with even the most difficult tasks, exceeding expectations and taking the initiative.”

                                                  - Linda Holbeche & Geoffrey Matthews, Engaged: Unleashing Your Organization's Potential Through Employee Engagement Hardcover

                                                  A company culture based on authentic values.

                                                  “There was a time when every employee from the top to the bottom of an organization needed to be able to deliver the company’s “elevator blurb”… Today, your employees should also be able to enthusiastically describe your company’s values and culture during that same elevator ride.”

                                                  - Bob Kelleher, Louder Than Words: Ten Practical Employee Engagement Steps That Drive Results Hardcover

                                                  Additional Resources & Webinars

                                                  Topics: human resources, management, team work, leadership

                                                  The Secret to Silicon Valley Innovation | TEDxTalk & Webinar

                                                  Posted by Pierre Khawand on Wed, Jan 29, 2014 @ 03:21 PM

                                                  Silicon Valley's abundant landscape of innovation is difficult to duplicate. Many outside companies have tried to "clone that magic mix of what makes Silicon Valley," says Reinhold Steinbeck in his 2011 TEDxTalk, and he thinks they haven't been able to accomplish it.

                                                  innovation People OnTheGo CreativeCommonsWhy is this?

                                                  One of the reasons, he says, is the learning taking place in local institutions, like Stanford, and how this connects with the many corporations and startups that call Silicon Valley home. It's this "innovative approach to teaching and learning," Steinbeck says, that gives the Valley its leading edge.

                                                  Steinbeck is no stranger to the fertile ground of innovation in Silicon Valley, having worked in the area for over 20 years, including at Apple in their Advanced Technology Group and at the Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning. He'll be presenting with his colleage and innovation specialist, Edgard Stuber, at People-OnTheGo's free webinar, Thursday, February 6 at noon PT: How to Use Design Thinking to Create an Innovation Company Culture.

                                                  Click to register for the complimentary webinar.

                                                  Watch Reinhold Steinbeck's TEDxTalk below (note: presentation is in English.)

                                                  Additional Resources & Webinars

                                                  Topics: Technology, Lunch & Learn Webinars, management, leadership

                                                  Top 10 Productivity Articles of the Year: Less-Is-More Blog in Review

                                                  Posted by Pierre Khawand on Thu, Dec 19, 2013 @ 02:19 PM

                                                  Productivity Articles Less-Is-More BlogWe're grateful to have a lot to look back on and feel good about this year at People-OnTheGo: from the launch of our new leadership program and Social Media Academy webinars with Out&About Marketing guru, Milena Regos, to the publishing of Time for Leadership: The Accomplishing More in Less Time, Less Effort, and Less Stress Leadership Journey.

                                                  It's been a productive year, and we've learned as much from our efforts as we have from our participants and interactions with you.

                                                  So as 2013 winds down to a close, we invite you to take this time to reflect on your own professional and personal accomplishments, and please share them in the comments section below. We believe it's in knowing where we came from, and what we've learned, that we can best form our next steps in achieving our goals.

                                                  In this time of looking back, we'd like to share with you our top ten productivity blog posts of the year. We hope you gain new insight from these articles, and we look forward to hearing your own insights, plans, and goals for 2014.

                                                  Thank you for wanting to accomplish more. Have a happy holiday season, and New Year!

                                                  ~ from all at People-OnTheGo

                                                  1. How to Get Started with Social Media for Business? Here's Your Super Sensible Checklist

                                                  Enjoy this handy, visual graphic to help keep you focused on your social media marketing goals for your business, brand, or organization.

                                                  2. Why Your Organization Needs 'Visual Leaders' and How To Become One: An Interview with Author David Sibbet

                                                  Bestselling author, graphic facilitator, and The Grove Consultants International Founder and President, David Sibbet, talks with us about his unique, leadership philosophy.

                                                  3. Why Upgrade to Office 2013? 4 Compelling Features You'll Want to Know

                                                  People-OnTheGo Faculty Member Eve Porcello gives the run down on Microsoft Office 365/2013.

                                                  4. 3 Ways to Quickly Turn Your Weaknesses Into Strengths

                                                  Change yourself from having a "fixed" mindset to one of "growth."

                                                  5. 12 Key Values to Powerful Employee Engagement and Organizational Culture

                                                  Learn about the tenets of building stronger employee engagement at your organization.

                                                  6. Three Surprises About Change: Chapter 1 Summary of Switch by Chip and Dan Heath, Authors of Made to Stick

                                                  Wondering how to make changes happen, personally, professionally, or at your business? People-OnTheGo's Online Community Manager, Melissa Sweat, summarizes how you can get there.

                                                  7. Brain, Interrupted by Bob Sullivan and Hugh Thompson (New York Times, 5/3/13); summary + commentary by Melissa Sweat, Online Community Manager

                                                  This is your brain on interruptions, and it's not pretty. Learn how to get focused.

                                                  8. A Visual History of Project Management (Infographic)

                                                  A great overview of project management's past and present.

                                                  9. 3 Great Reads on Lean Process Improvement

                                                  Pierre Brickey, Director of IT Quality at UCSF Medical Center, presented at one of our free Lunch & Learn Webinars this year, and kindly shared his recommended books about Lean.

                                                  10. Sizing Up the Right Project Management Tool

                                                  Find the best project management platforms for any size project.

                                                  Please share your comments below. Connect with our Accomplishing More With Less groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

                                                  Topics: business results, productivity, leadership

                                                  Watch & Learn: Agile Development Methodology Demystified (Video)

                                                  Posted by Pierre Khawand on Fri, Nov 01, 2013 @ 03:49 PM

                                                  Have you heard of Agile? Agile is a popular software development production method, but is also used in a variety of other fields in the areas of project management, innovation development, and more. Project managers, business owners, executives, leaders, and change managers would well benefit from learning about this powerful development methodology that works in an ongoing, iterative approach, and always with the end customer or user in mind.

                                                  Watch the video below to hear a great explanation of Agile (in under 5 minutes!).

                                                  And please join us for our FREE Lunch & Learn Webinar on Nov. 7, 2013 to learn even more about how Agile can power productivity and innovation at your business or organization: An 'Agile' State of Mind: How Agile software development & values power productivity (in business and beyond).

                                                  Click to register now for the free webinar.

                                                  Additional Resources & Webinars

                                                  Topics: Technology, productivity, Lunch & Learn Webinars, management, collaboration, leadership

                                                  Workplace Personality Traits (and Challenges) of a "Champ," and Why You Need One On Your Team

                                                  Posted by Pierre Khawand on Tue, Oct 22, 2013 @ 11:57 AM

                                                  TrophySoftware Advice recently published their research on four successful personalities in the workplace, “Psychological Profiles of the Dream Team.”

                                                  The profile of The Champ (and the Chip) provides an analysis of a Champ’s characteristics, motivations, strengths, and challenges.

                                                  The Champ

                                                  The Champ is the ideal, high-performing salesperson. Champs are full of energy, positivity, and confidence. These attributes, along with a gift for conversation and a healthy ego, help make them good at what they do. Their confidence makes them good salespeople and, sometimes, good leaders.

                                                  The Chip

                                                  What some refer to as a “chip on the shoulder” is a defining characteristic of the Champ. Whether the Chip comes from a lack of education, scarce economic resources or the Champ’s physical appearance, it often serves as a motivating factor, driving them towards success.

                                                  Strengths of the Champ

                                                  Some of the distinguishing traits that make Champs great include:

                                                  • Optimism. Champs have an innate belief that they will succeed. This helps them push on positively with their sales calls, even in the face of rejection.

                                                  • People skills. Champs have a natural ability to read people. They are great conversationalists and love human interaction.

                                                  • Confidence. Champs are confident (but not cocky). They believe in themselves and their team.


                                                  Some of the unique challenges for Champs include:

                                                  • Arrogance. That confidence that serves the Champ so well in sales and leadership can manifest as arrogance in an immature Champ who has let his ego grow unchecked.

                                                  • Conflict. If that little Chip on the Champ’s shoulder becomes really big, it can turn to cockiness, resulting in conflicts with authority and management.

                                                  • Turnover. Champs have a higher turnover rate than some other personality types, because they absolutely must be on a winning team. They will look elsewhere if their current team isn’t successful enough.

                                                  The Champ is a valuable team member who makes an excellent candidate for a career in sales, c-level executive roles or politics.

                                                  To learn about famous Champs and how to identify, hire and manage a Champ, read the in-depth profile on The New Talent Times.

                                                  Additional Resources & Webinars

                                                  Topics: human resources, management, team work, leadership

                                                  Guest Blog for ProjectManagement.com: Four Productivity Tips for Managing Projects and Teams at the Micro Level

                                                  Posted by Pierre Khawand on Wed, Sep 11, 2013 @ 11:32 AM

                                                  By Melissa Sweat, Online Community Manager

                                                  "When you manage a project for efficiency, accuracy, and speed, it’s not just about managing the details and flow of the project, it’s about managing the details of the details."

                                                  Click to read the full article at ProjectManagement.com.

                                                  Project Management GuestBlog People OnTheGo

                                                  Additional Resources & Webinars

                                                  Topics: effective meetings, business results, time management tips, productivity, management, team work, leadership

                                                  What leadership lesson can be learned from a zebra? (Video)

                                                  Posted by Pierre Khawand on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 @ 11:44 AM

                                                  No, this blog post title isn't the opening line of a joke—it's a powerful lesson about leadership co-author of The Leadership Challenge, Jim Kouzes, shares in this video below.

                                                  Watch to learn how true leaders earn their stripes (pun intended.)

                                                  Share your thoughts on leadership in our short survey, and you'll be entered into our drawing to win free leadership training, and more.

                                                  Also join us for a complimentary, leadership webinar on Thursday, August 1 at noon PT, "Time for Leadership: Finding an Hour to Lead."

                                                  Register now for the free session!

                                                  Zebra Leadership People OnTheGo

                                                  Topics: career, management, leadership