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Communication Culture: Resolving Conflict and Leveraging Feedback


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Barrie Byron & Ann Grove

Published in: Education, Business, Technology
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Communication Culture: Resolving Conflict and Leveraging Feedback

  1. 1. Communication Culture:Resolving Conflict andLeveraging FeedbackAnn Grove and Barrie ByronVeteran presenters who are passionateabout lifelong learning andexperienced in embracing change2012 STC Mid-Atlantic Regional ConferenceProfessional Development Track1
  2. 2. 2Barrie Byron20+ years– Technical writer,happy team member16 years– Active STCmember and leader11 years– Active Toastmastermember and leaderLifelong learner– Minimal conflict
  3. 3. 3Ann Grove11 years– Business owner, technical communicationconsultant11 years– Active STC memberand leaderLifelong learner– Embracing change
  4. 4. Negotiation is an ongoing,evolving social experiment“The gem cannot bepolished withoutfriction, nor manperfected withouttrial.”~Confucius4
  5. 5. Get started• Passion is good; obsession is bad• Put assumptions aside and listen to allparties• Develop strategies to remain focused,respectful, empathetic, caring• Avoid blame, accusations• Avoid “right” and “wrong”5
  6. 6. Communication Culture• Learn to adapt your communication stylefor your current team culture– High tech versus low tech– Direct conversation versus advance agendas– Phone versus email, or even instant messagechats“Of all things, communicationis the most wonderful.”~John Dewey, 19396
  7. 7. 4 root causes for conflict1. Personalities2. Misunderstandings3. Issues4. Leadership styles“There are two ways of meeting difficulties. Youalter the difficulties or your alter yourself tomeet them.”~Phyllis Bottome 7
  8. 8. The cause behind the causeSometimes theobvious cause isactually a symptomExamples of hiddencauses: powerstruggles,need to take credit
  9. 9. Cause 1Contentious personalities• Dispositions and personalities arecomplex and complicated:• Parenting• Culture• Community• Experiences• Outside influences• Professional history (success, failures, habits)9
  10. 10. 5 personality types1. Know-it-all2. Argumentative3. People pleaser4. Narcissistego-maniac5. Self-loather10
  11. 11. Cause 2Misunderstanding• Miscommunication is primary cause ofconflict• Perceptions vary• Facts, relevantinformation notclearlycommunicated11
  12. 12. Cause 3Issues• Social atmospheres change when teammembers have different:– Opinions– Objectives– Preferences• Virtual work– New challenges12
  13. 13. Cause 4Leadership stylesPreferential responses to the four primaryleadership styles:1. Authoritarian2. Democratic3. Charismatic4. Passive13
  14. 14. • Listen objectively• Understand• Act“Seek first to understandand then to be understood.”~Steven Covey, in 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleLeverage feedback14Graphic shared bypermission fromDon Moyer
  15. 15. 6 methods for resolving conflict1. Ignore it2. Smooth it over3. Force4. Compromise5. Collaborate6. Involve a third party15
  16. 16. Prepare to negotiate•Identify and assess your options•Rough out a game plan“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, Id spendsix sharpening my axe.”~ Abraham Lincoln
  17. 17. Above all, stay positive“Enthusiasts arefighters. They havefortitude. They havestaying qualities.Enthusiasm is at thebottom of all progress!With it, there isaccomplishment.Without it, there are onlyalibis.”~ Henry Ford
  18. 18. Are you ready?Investigated the issueUnderstand team culture & personalitiesIdentified root causes, visible & hiddenIdentified and assessed optionsHave a game planStay positiveReady to negotiate!
  19. 19. Be ready to use your pausebutton“You ask a coworker to do something,and she responds, ‘That’s not my job.’Feeling your blood pressure rise, youmay be tempted to blurt out, ‘well, it’snot my job either, blockhead!’”~Negotiating for DummiesExamples:Sleep on it, go to the restroom, consult with a peer
  20. 20. Body Language• Voice control• Eye contact: 30 to 60 percent of the time• Facial expressions: Smile!• Arms and hands open• Body tilted toward the speaker• Subtly mirror your adversary.• Google: “Forbes How to Win an Argument Without Words”
  21. 21. Know when to move on• Swim with dolphins• Be wary of tunas and sharks Chellie Campbell, inThe Wealth Spirit: DailyAffirmations forFinancial StressReduction
  22. 22. Scenario 1: Face to FaceWriter is asking developer to providefeedback on deadline22
  23. 23. Scenario 2: On the PhoneWriter is asking boss for helpsetting priorities
  24. 24. Practice negotiating• Negotiate in a volunteer position• Negotiate with your kids or a spouse• Shop for a car• Shop for expensive jewelry• Negotiate at an antique store
  25. 25. 25Keep in touch!• Barrie Byron–––– twitter @barriebyron• Ann Grove–––– twitter @AnnGrove