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Archive for the ‘Conflict Management’ Category

Resolving ConflictIn Resolving Conflicts at Work, Kenneth Cloke and Joan Goldsmith help readers understand the underlying causes of conflict and how to approach it in new ways. Conflicts at work arise because companies are made up of diverse group of people with different communication styles and differing expectations. Few people have been trained to resolve conflict in a healthy manner, which is why conflict is common in every workplace. Transformation does not occur until people first resolve how they became stuck in conflict and take time to develop new strategies. When an organization operates with a culture where conflicts are avoided, honesty and creativity is lost in the process. People need to take time to look inward and understand what conflict means to them and how their perceptions impact the way they respond to these situations.

According to the authors:

  • All conflict is influenced by an individual’s background and learned responses. When people understand this, they can work to uncover the hidden meanings behind any conflict.
  • When people listen to opponents with an open mind, their opponents will do the same for them.
  • The language used to describe a conflict reflects attitudes and assumptions. It can reveal the interests, emotions, and histories that are behind the surface-level issue.
  • Difficult behaviors are present in every workplace and, in some cases, are inadvertently encouraged through reward systems. When these behaviors are discussed in the open, there is opportunity to improve on all sides and develop perseverance.
  • Resistance is often the result of an underlying need, such as improved communication or greater involvement in decision making. When the reasons for resistance are explored, it becomes easier to collaborate and negotiate for a solution.
  • To prevent the same conflicts in the future, systems can be developed within an organization. This prevents conflicts and sets the standard for how they are to be managed when they do occur.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

 

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What I Didn't Learn in Business SchoolMany of the widely accepted strategy tools taught in business schools do not apply in the real world. In What I Didn’t Learn in Business School, Jay B. Barney and Trish Gorman Clifford relate the fictional story of Justin Campbell, a recent MBA graduate. Through the story, the authors show that traditional strategy tools do not work because they do not take into account the ways that human interactions and individual goals interfere in the workplace.

According to the authors:

  • Many strategy tools taught in business school do not take into account how human interactions and office politics interfere with decision-making processes.
  • Assumptions may work in the classroom for demonstration purposes, but they will not be adequate in the real world. Different assumptions lead to vastly different outcomes in real-world scenarios.
  • One of the hardest skills to learn is how to remain objective and base decisions on facts and research. Sometimes it is easy to take what others say at face value, but all information should be verified and questioned.
  • When attempting to get buy-in from leadership, it is important to identify those on the executive team who oppose the idea. Most effort should be spent convincing these individuals.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

 

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93255873Politics exist in organizations of all sizes. This is because people by their very nature are political animals that constantly engage in power-seeking behavior. When not fully understood, the politics at play in professional relationships can prevent a person from achieving success. In The Office Politics Handbook, author and political scientist Jack Godwin, PhD, examines the role power and politics play in all social relationships. Through an exploration of political theory and examples of eight different politically powerful archetypes, Godwin offers readers tools to gain more power in their lives and greater participation in decision making on personal and professional scales.

Despite the fact that politics are an intrinsic part of human nature, most people do not know how to navigate the politics of their personal and professional relationships. It is only when people learn the true nature of interpersonal politics, or “micropolitics,” that they can acquire more power and success in their lives. Godwin offers the following insights on micropolitics:

  • People are political animals, therefore politics exist anywhere people are present. Politics is about power. Politics exist in any social relationship that facilitates the control of one human over another.
  • Politics is a social affair rooted in human nature. Those who master micropolitics, or politics on the most basic and interpersonal level, do so by pushing their sense of objectivity outward into social space, and downward into their primitive human nature.
  • The “political mystique” is composed of the acquisition of power and the distribution of power. To better understand how power is acquisitioned and distributed, it is necessary to break micropolitics into its most basic components: political structures, power instruments, and complex systems.
  • In order for people to master micropolitics, they must first journey inward. For people to be able to gain more power in their personal and professional relationships, they must first get in touch with their inner political animals.
  • By putting forth a political persona, people protect themselves and make better strategic decisions. Political personas are masks, or the strategic way people present themselves to the world that can be used to conceal a person’s vulnerabilities, such as their motives and interests.
  • By mastering the eight “Gods of micropolitics” a person can learn how to win people over in any personal or professional situation. The “Gods of micropolitics” are archetypes that represent the different ways people can use power and protect themselves against an adversary.
  • Everyone must assign themselves their own roles in life. Many people are assigned roles in life that have little significance. People must act on the foundation of freedom that is accessible to all humans to assign their own roles in life and work humbly toward fulfilling this goal.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: The Drama-Free Office, The Blame Game, Outsiders on the Inside

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88408705The purpose of Stop Complainers and Energy Drainers is to teach people how to spot a complainer and fix the problem quickly. Complainers and energy drainers in the workplace can have strong negative effects on a company through lost work, loss of good employees due to an unhealthy work environment, and damage to a company’s reputation. Complainers inhibit innovation and growth in companies while negatively affecting daily productivity. Linda Swindling attempts to help readers identify the types of complainers they are dealing with, understand the reasons for their behavior, and learn strategies and solutions to deal with them. The options, strategies, and solutions provided can help turn chronic complainers into chronic contributors and let everyone get back to work.

Swindling offers the following advice to readers:

  • Every complainer has their own motivations for behaving the way they do. Understanding their reality versus their outward reactions is key to helping them change their own behavior.
  • Workplace productivity can suffer from energy drains. Energy drains come in many forms including: technology and software that is complicated or not understood by its users; bottlenecks; too much work for a given timeframe; misaligned values between the company and workers; and depressing work environments.
  • Not all complaining is counterproductive. Constructive complaining can be beneficial to a company’s growth.
  • Changing chronic complainers into chronic contributors can go far to improving a company’s morale, promoting effective communication, and increasing productivity.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: Make Difficult People Disappear, Three Signs of a Miserable JobEngagement Is Not Enough

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87598529In his book When Teams Collide, cross-cultural expert Richard D. Lewis offers pragmatic advice for assembling, blending, and strengthening international teams. An advocate for the frank discussion of the differing attitudes and values of different cultures, Lewis presents a guide to building and caring for these teams. Millions of these international teams will exist in the 21st century, and each of these teams needs to be capable of making decisions quickly while also striving to break new ground. When a team of international minds has a complementary skill set, members of that team can become key figures in the company as a whole.

Lewis offers the following advice to readers:

  • There are three main types of cultures: linear-active, multi-active, and reactive. Linear-active cultures are task-oriented and organized. Multi-active cultures tend to be emotional and impulsive. Reactive cultures feature good listeners who rarely initiate action, preferring to listen and then formulate an opinion.
  • Teams must be organized from the outset. National strengths, weaknesses, and taboos must be considered.
  • The team must share a lingua franca, or common language. Each language has its own benefits and limitations, with English, Chinese, Arabic, Russian, and French being common choices.
  • The leader of an international team must be selected carefully. However, in the end, good leaders are defined by personality, not by their passports.
  • Cultural differences and taboos among team members should be acknowledged right away. Openness promotes synergy.
  • Humor is a powerful tool in a manager’s arsenal. When a team develops its own humor style, it signifies that it has “come of age.”
  • A decision-making process must be clarified to keep the team running smoothly. There must be a system to break deadlocks.
  • Ethics may vary from culture to culture, but behaving ethically is important in all cultures. Be aware of potential gray areas.
  • Building trust takes time. Trust often has to be earned, though it can occur spontaneously among countrymen.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: Team TurnaroundsThe Secret of TeamsCollaborate!

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In The Blame Game, Ben Dattner examines the detrimental effects of focusing on the assignment of blame and credit. There is general acceptance that people should receive praise for good deeds, and they should not be blamed undeservedly. However, an overemphasis on culpability can create a negative work environment that hinders creativity, honesty, and teamwork. Dattner traces the origins of this obsession, explores the role of personality, and offers suggestions for creating an environment that focuses on future success instead of past mistakes.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: It’s All Politics, All Rise, Games at Work

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The news of the Democratic walk out in Wisconsin and the possibility of a government shut down in the near future emphasize the need for responsible leadership now more than ever. As politics become more extreme, it is not a matter of who is right or wrong, but whether or not our leaders can act responsibly and be held accountable for carrying out the functions of their position.

In corporate life as in politics, leaders must be willing to fight for what they believe is right, but also have the courage to face challenges head on. There will always be opposition for any leader when working toward a vision or goal, but that opposition is necessary for pushing the leader to be his or her best. Individuals become stronger by having to surmount obstacles. Running away only delays the inevitable confrontation and weakens a person’s character.

When a leader is hired or appointed, his or her followers have expectations concerning what their leader will accomplish. Leaders must do their best to come through on these expectations, but must work within the system they find themselves. When hired or appointed, leaders recognize and agree to the rules and terms of their position; they should fight for what they believe is right, but respect the responsibilities that come with the job. If victory is not possible, leaders must accept defeat graciously and hope the opposition will do the same in the future.

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