Managing people in a collaborative, open, transparent yet accountable way

Going Around in Circles in a Conversation? Here’s How to Break That Cycle

A common question in ‘Difficult Conversations for Managers’ workshops is what to do when it feels like you are in one of those fruitless dialogues, repeating the same thing without achieving anything. The other person isn’t listening or taking on board what you need them to hear or understand. A recent example was where a…

Frustrated trying to deal with difficult behaviour? Try these 3 simple shifts

Frustrated trying to deal with difficult behaviour? Imagine you had a magic weather wand. A simple wave and you would have glorious sunshine, a gentle breeze with a cloudless blue sky above. With your magic wand you would lighten people’s moods, you’d lift people’s energy and motivation. In one swoosh, you could banish the grey…

The Secret Ingredient for Success in Difficult Conversations

Does the thought of difficult conversations make your stomach churn? Here’s the most important ingredient to make it work. In a recent holiday in Italy I went on a ‘Try a Dive’ lesson. The dive centre was at a sandy beach next to a clear blue lagoon. The water looked so inviting and delicious. But…

Are you in ‘Parent’, ‘Child’ or ‘Adult’ Mode (or all 3!) at Work?

“But what if you needed to give her a telling off…” This was the comment of a participant in a recent ‘Difficult Conversations’ training session with a group of managers. The discussion was around the room layout and whether the manager should sit behind a desk or not, when giving negative feedback to an employee.…

All Conflict Leads Us Back To Ourselves

All Conflict Leads Us Back To Ourselves. Many years ago I worked quite closely with another colleague. Overall, we had a pretty good working relationship, but some disagreements also as to how things should be done and what the best course of action was to take. I remember clearly at times finding those disagreements quite difficult:…

Making Feedback Work

‘Feedback’ is one of the top three issues that can cause conflict or sour working relationships. The reasons for this are many. In some cases, the feedback ‘giver’ may be abrupt, overly negative or passive-aggressive (“yes, you did an ok job with that” through gritted teeth). But the receiver of feedback also plays a role…

Managing ‘Difficult’ Behaviour – Are You Walking on Eggshells?

‘All those ideas around conflict resolution are really great Mary, but what about ‘difficult behaviour’ – someone who just won’t sit down and talk things through in a reasonable way…how are you supposed to deal with them?’ This was the comment of a client in a recent team conflict case. She described herself as constantly…