Welcome    June 26, 2006

Developing People ... Inspiring Success
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Volume 3, Issue 6 June 2006 ISSN 1556-3820

“Conflict and confrontation can be healthy when dealt with in ways in which room is given for both people to be able to make mistakes, to distinguish between what’s personally right or wrong for them, to express needs, and to have room to grow as individuals.”
-- Amy E. Dean, Author

 Note From Regina

It is June and summer is now officially in full swing! If things are heating up in your workplace and it doesn't have anything to do with the weather, then be sure to read my feature article, Five Steps for Handling Workplace Conflict.  I'd also love your feedback on how you handle conflict in the workplace, so be sure to take this month's short poll.

You know what they say about all work and no play, right? It makes Jack (or Jill) dull, dull, dull!  So schedule some play time and stop by and visit my Blog where you can read my book review on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a great inspirational read.  Or, for the more serious minded interested in upcoming business trends, read about how you can Act Now to Avoid the Consequences of an Impending Talent Shortage

Don't forget to visit my website, www.redladder.com, where you will find more information about our consulting, executive coaching, and speaking services, as well as other resources, articles, and tools to help you be more successful.

Yours in success,

Regina Barr

  Feature Article

Five Steps for Handling Workplace Conflict

You're at work. You've been assigned an exciting, highly visible project. You can't wait to get started. You arrive at your first team meeting ready to rock and roll. You take one look around and you immediately hone in on several scowling faces.  Almost immediately, you are confronted and a conflict ensues.  Your excitement quickly diminishes as you realize you have your work cut out for you.

Sound familiar? Maybe not exactly this scenario but I guarantee almost anyone you talk to in the workplace has encountered one form of conflict or another.  You may experience this conflict one-on-one or in a team setting.  Not to worry.  Conflict in the workplace is not uncommon, and in fact, in some instances it is even worthwhile.  That's right.  It can be worthwhile particularly if you can shift the conflict to make it work to your advantage.

Why does conflict occur?  Typically, conflicts arise when expectations are not met in some form, when one party perceives a threat to themselves in some way, or through simple miscommunication. 

So, what can you do to manage conflict when it arises? Follow these simple steps.

  1. Determine the cause.  You can't solve the problem until you are sure that everyone has a mutual definition of the problem and that everyone is talking about the same problem. Gather as much data as you can. Ask for information and be sure to involve the impacted individual(s) in discussions. Ask "what else" questions to raise all of the issues and show a willingness to listen.  Do not become defensive or personalize issues. 

  2. Collaborate on solutions. Use a "yes... and" response to focus and build on potential solutions.  Avoid using a "yes... but" response, which tends to shift focus back onto the problem and away from solutions.  Whenever possible, always engage key stakeholders in developing solutions. This will help facilitate buy-in when final decisions are made.

  3. Provide alternative options.  Whenever possible, provide choices. People tend to feel empowered when they are involved in the decision making process.  This will also help you in soliciting ongoing support and champions once the final decisions are made.

  4. Communicate key decisions.  Develop a communication plan that communicates the decision as many times and as many ways that you feel are appropriate.  This might include meeting one-on-one with those involved, announcement at a team meeting, and an email announcement or written memo to follow-up.  Be sure to involve your boss (and senior management or human resources when appropriate) to reinforce and support the final decision.

  5. Implement solutions. Once a decision has been made, it is important that you be assertive in the implementation of that decision. When challenged (and do expect to be challenged) be calm, re-focus on the process used to identify issues and develop solutions, and be confident in the knowledge that you have done the best you can to resolve the situation.  Don't get angry or over-apologize, as this will only serve to weaken your position. 

Handling workplace conflict is never easy but it is necessary if you want to be perceived as a strong leader capable of getting things done. Avoid conflict and you put yourself on a path of manipulation and distrust.  Handle conflict straight on and you will earn the respect of your peers, your staff, and your boss.  Even more importantly, you will feel more confident and capable, no matter what situation you find yourself in. 

Copyright 2006 Regina Barr, Red Ladder, Inc.

Regina Barr is a management consultant and speaker. Her consulting firm, Red Ladder, Inc., specializes in helping organizations and their leaders develop their full potential through strategic project management, executive coaching and training. Regina also helps companies develop strategies to attract, develop and retain women leaders. For more information visit www.RedLadder.com or http://www.redladder.blogs.com/.

  Pass it on ...

If you find value in this newsletter, I invite you to share it with someone you care about who could benefit. Please forward in it's entirety. You may also publish or reprint this newsletter as long as it is accompanied by Regina Barr's byline and contact info (below the feature article). Please send us a link to the article when it's published.  

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About Red Ladder

Red Ladder, Inc., provides people development services for individuals and organizations with a goal of developing people and inspiring success. Regina Barr, CEO of Red Ladder, holds a BBA, an MBA and an MA in human development. With over seventeen years in the financial services industry, she has a broad range of leadership experience in product, sales, and marketing. In addition, Regina has a special passion for helping companies attract, develop and retain women leaders.

in this issue ...

Today's poll ...
My response to conflict in the workplace is...

Take this simple poll and view others' feedback regarding this topic.

What's New ...

Regina Barr's five step process to achieving goals is featured in the Star Tribune article, Revisit Goals

Regina Barr obtained her Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst designation, a nice complement to the designation she received last month (Certified Professional Values Analyst).  This designation shows Regina's commitment to helping organizations develop their best asset -- their people -- through the use of assessment tools that focus on behavior and emotions in the workplace using the DISC Instrument.

Regina Barr featured in Star Tribune article, Business Etiquette

Regina Barr featured in San Bernardino Sun article, Getting it Done Among Multitaskers

Speaking Schedule ...

Interested in hearing Regina speak? Here are some of Regina's upcoming programs:

November 18, 2006
Banking and Finance Leading CEO & CIO Summit
Challenges Facing Women Banking Leaders
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

for information on how to register or if you are interested in having Regina speak to your organization.

Resources ...

Work With Me! Resolving Everyday Conflict in Your Organization. Author Gini Graham Scott has written a clear, easy-to-understand book that helps readers find creative solutions to disruptive workplace problems. This book provides Illustrations, charts, and fill-in-the-blank questions. She is also author of Resolving Conflict.

What Our Clients are Saying ...

"Red Ladder's strategic approach, use of meaningful statistics, assessments, supporting materials, and practical ideas was excellent."

--Susan J. Fronk, Performance Consultant, The Bob Pike Group

Copyright 2006 Regina Barr, Red Ladder, Inc. All rights reserved.
www.redladder.com | info@redladder.com | 651-453-1007 | Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076