Listening: Your Most Important Management Skill
“You never listen to me.” “But you’re not hearing me.” What do these accusations mean when
they are hurled at us, and what can we do to avoid them in the future?
Many of us have taken “active listening”
classes, all of which provide useful techniques for hearing the important messages that are being sent our way. However, really
effective listening is based on a decision you make before engaging in a discussion, or especially a conflict, to take certain
steps and maintain certain attitudes and approaches throughout the discussion. Sooner or later the tactics of active listening
may not work anymore, so understanding the underlying process and the most effective approaches will be essential for thoughtful
and effective listening. And for never being accused of not listening and missing important ideas again.
gives you the information you need to develop your most important management skill.
The Language of Conflict Resolution:
10 Ways Not to Make Things Worse
“What did I say?”
How many times have we all said something that sounded perfectly OK to us but generated fury in the listener? How
many times has a discussion of a fact or process suddenly turned personal and someone was insulted? And how many times did
we simply not understand what went wrong?
These Ten Ways Not to Make Things Worse are very practical suggestions
for how to say something so that you don’t escalate the argument, and they can be put to use immediately. These guidelines
will make all the difference in keeping the conversation respectful, appropriate, and effective.
difficult message, either at home or at work, can cause embarrassment and hostility, and maybe nothing will make a particularly
difficult message any less painful, but these suggestions can help reduce the negative impact and maintain people’s
dignity during the process.
Engaging in a difficult conversation or resolving a conflict can cause us to say some
things we regret. If we keep these guidelines in mind, we can minimize the damage.
We Fight: Understanding Core Issues
Conflict costs money and relationships, which no organization can afford
to lose. An important 2008 study from CPP reported that:
• American workers spend more than
two hours every week dealing with conflict at a cost of $328 Billion in paid hours in 2008.
25% of employees have called in sick to avoid ongoing conflict.
• Almost 10% of employees saw
conflict result in project failure.
• 27% saw conflict morph onto a personal attack.
Yet amazingly, 57% of U.S. employees have never received conflict resolution training, although 95% of those people who
received it said it helped.
Workplace conflict simply has to be addressed if an organization or a team leader
is to be successful. This presentation:
• defines conflict;
• identifies core issues that create conflict at work;
steps that can be taken to reduce workplace conflict.
It won’t solve all your disagreements, but it will
give you the information you need to make the argument for conflict resolution training, for OD programs that include approaches
for preventing conflict, and a list of processes that can help to reduce and address conflict.
The steps you take
initially don’t have to be grand or complicated; Improving your own skills is a good start, and demonstrating good models
for conflict resolution lets others know what behaviors you expect.
Are You a Good Fit?
Relationship between Corporate Culture and
Conflict Resolution Style
In this business environment, trying things until someone tells
you “that’s not the way we do things around here” is not the path to success. Employees need ways of understanding
and fitting into a corporate culture quickly, and communicating in ways that are acceptable, that is, avoiding conflicts and
gaining support for their ideas.
Organizational cultures generally fall into four categories, each with its own
appropriate conflict resolution style. Are You a Good Fit? describes these cultures and the conflict resolution styles that
are acceptable in them so you can get a sense of what “appropriate communications” means in that environment and
plan your strategies for communicating your ideas so that the presentation doesn’t undermine the message.
In addition, you can use this information to determine whether or not the organization is a “good fit” for you
as you conduct a job search. Understanding a corporate culture may be among the best ways to succeed in it.