Posts Tagged ‘teamwork’

What dealing with difficult people is costing you

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Dealing with difficult people is a challenge for all of us at times. Take a moment to think about the most frustrating person in your life right now.

Dealing with difficult peopleMaybe there’s a recent hire in your office who’s been really getting on your nerves? You sense a blow up with them is probably on the horizon.

Does your oldest friend drive you up the wall with those passive-aggressive questions about how everything’s going? Or your sibling fail to hide his or her contempt for your chosen career path?

Today, I want to invite you to reflect on what this conflict is costing you, and suggest a new approach to your interactions.

What do we mean by 'conflict?'

It’s worth noting that when I speak about ‘conflict’ we may have a different understanding of what it means. When we think of conflict, we typically think about two or more people, organisations, parties or countries that have fallen out and are openly hostile to one another.

And when we think about the term in relation to ourselves, we would often say we don’t have any conflict because what we’re experiencing doesn’t align with our worldview of what ‘conflict’ is. To give you an example from my own life, even when I was estranged from my Dad for 17 years, I wouldn’t have said we were in conflict because I’d severed my ties with him, so there wasn’t any ongoing dispute - at least not externally.

But the reality is, if there’s someone in your life you find difficult, you’re experiencing conflict, even if you’re not visibly coming into dispute with them. Internally, they have an effect on you – at the cost of your own peace of mind.

The physical and emotional costs of conflict

Our response to the mere mention of those challenging individuals is a clue that there’s a lot going on under the surface. We’re constantly carrying (often subconsciously) our emotions about that person. And that takes some of our energy, each time we think about, interact with, or anticipate our next encounter with them.

Those challenging people take up space in our minds, and can actually create physical responses. When I asked you to think about who they were, you might have noticed some sensations. Did your jaw clench, your heart start to beat faster, or your stomach churn? Perhaps you simply experienced a sinking feeling or noticed a deep sigh?

On a physical level, then, we’re paying a price in terms of the stress response our bodies go into: raised cortisol levels can cause all kinds of effects, from slowed metabolism to raised blood pressure. But the costs of conflict don’t stop there.

Conflict has an impact on many areas of our lives

As well as the physical and emotional effects, being in conflict with someone also has an impact on how well we’re able to focus and concentrate. If an argument or difficult relationship leads us to lose sleep, that can go on to have a whole other chain of effects on our performance, cognitive processing and ability to make good decisions.

What’s especially frustrating is when you know you’ve done everything you can – you’ve tried being on your best behaviour; you’ve tried pointing out how the other person is making you feel; you’ve tried ignoring them, or avoiding them, or cutting them out of your life entirely. But the situation is still invading your thoughts. Whatever you have tried, however you have changed your behaviour, it doesn’t seem to have had any effect on theirs. It feels as though you are out of options.

These lingering conflict can show up in “echoes” in other, unrelated situations. We might find, for example, that coming into contact with someone who reminds us of someone we’re in conflict up suddenly triggers similar emotions.

(If someone you’re managing reminds you of your stubborn younger brother who you haven’t spoken to in years, it can be tough to treat them the same way you would someone else.)

The rewards of effectively interacting with those difficult people

It can be uncomfortable to realise just how big an impact difficult people have on our lives, and to see the conflict we’re experiencing for what it is. It’s also very normal! Our workshop participants often express surprise to find that the simmering anger or hurt they feel about neighbours, friends, family members or colleagues is shared by others in the room.

But recognising the effect they have also opens up the potential for incredible transformation that’s a lot easier than we think.

When we learn effective strategies to bring ease to interactions with difficult people, it releases the energy, focus and physical stress they would otherwise cost us.

That doesn’t mean that we’ll never have a challenging interaction again. There’s no magic wand we can wave to stop infuriating people from coming into our lives, or change the behaviours of the ones who are already there.

But there are simple techniques you will experience at our award-winning workshop that  you can put in place to bring a sense of freedom and ease to the way you experience those people.

And if the costs of staying stuck are great, the rewards of allowing that ease to come in feel even greater.

Over to you

Who's the most challenging person in your life, and what about their behaviour niggles you? Without naming names, can you share a few details in the comments? It can be so helpful to know we're not alone – and your experience might help someone else take steps towards resolving their own challenging relationship.

If you're ready to move on

If you're ready to bring ease and freedom into your life no matter how challenging the people in your world are, then do join us for one of our popular, award-winning, open-access workshops. The next one is on 13th July 2018, and we have just five spaces left at the time of writing. So if you’re looking for a first or next step on your journey of personal development, we’d love to welcome you. Click here to find out more and book your place.

Want to find out what the impact could be on your team sooner? We've been running in-house workshops using our award-winning methodology for over a decade; simply click here to get in touch or call us on +44 (0) 20 8191 7072 and let us know what you're looking for. To be the first to hear about our new open-access workshop dates, and get free monthly tips and strategies for your relationship challenges, just leave your name and email address below.

P.S. pass it on!

If you know someone who might find this article helpful, let them know. Share it by using one of the buttons below.

 

 

Who's the most frustrating person in your life right now? Have you considered the real impact they're having?

Here's what dealing with difficult people is costing you (and what to do about it), from @halcyonglobal

 

 

 

Photo via Pixabay

The War to Peace® experience: Gill and the redundancy negotiation

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

The War to Peace® experience: real-life case studies from our workshop attendees. Here, Gill shares her experience of using War to Peace® in an emotional redundancy negotiation.

redundancy negotiations: an empty conference roomThe redundancy news came as a big surprise. All the roles in the team where I worked were going to go, and the initial communication wasn’t handled as smoothly as it could have been, so emotions were running high when negotiations about the settlement began.

There was no doubt, it was going to be a challenging time in terms of exchange of views. However, the experiences I’ve had in that area – including War to Peace® – meant I felt confident putting myself forward to be one of the employees on the consultation group.

Then I was voted to be the Chair – the one who led the employee group.

All of a sudden, there was a lot riding on my ability to stay calm, negotiate effectively, and manage a highly volatile situation.

My experience of War to Peace®

I first discovered War to Peace® via my husband, who had been working on a separate project to link War to Peace® with the the powerful ‘7 Elements’ Negotiation Methodology, which came out of Harvard. The efficacy of War to Peace® is that it helps people to remain un-triggered and authentic (in other words, the best version of themselves), which is especially helpful during interactions that are likely to be highly-charged. This, coupled with the interest-based negotiation tools in the 7 Elements, is a powerful combination.

So I’d experienced War to Peace® as well as having the tools to draw on for the negotiating itself.
Now, it was time to put these into practice.

First things first

One of the first things I did was to acknowledge to myself that this could well be an extremely challenging process. On top of the current issues, there were long standing resentments about things that had previously happened in the company. Some people were really angry, really upset; others had completely checked out of the process and needed to re-engage.

I started by asking myself: “How can I make sure that whatever happens, I am able to be in the moment where we can get the most done?”

I knew that was what I had to be sure of, in order to handle whatever unexpected things came up. To know that if a decision, action or behaviour triggered me, I’d be able to return to a place of being at Peace so that I could continue to move things forward as effectively as I could.

And I certainly needed to draw on that during the process.

The redundancy negotiation in practice

To give you an idea of the tensions involved: the first meeting, which I was only able to attend remotely, was a five hour teleconference – and it quickly escalated into an intense interaction.

A lot of my role involved communicating difficult news to the other employees; things that simply weren’t going to be changed. At times there was conflict within the consultation group; we had some legal involvement that didn’t always feel constructive. There were plenty of instances when things other people did or said would previously have made me furious.

Using War to Peace®, I was able to step away, and understand the 'why' behind those actions: someone who’s unhappy and doesn’t feel heard, for example.

I really found I could look beyond whatever behaviours were there. It put me in the best place possible to focus on the outcome – which was, ultimately, so much more effective than feeling angry or upset about other people's behaviour.

I had a language I could use to explain this to people too, even if they weren’t in the same place. I was able to say "It’s not that I’m not cross, or I don’t understand. I’m simply trying to find a way for us all to express our feelings without jeopardising something that we might have had agreed."

The outcome...

When it was all over, a colleague was keen to acknowledge my role. They said that the way I’d been during the negotiations had really changed people's focus, in a way that had a huge impact on the outcome.

Certain things people quite rightly had a gripe about we couldn’t change. The only thing we could do was explain why they had happened and make sure nothing like that happened again.

What we could do was work on other things; like fair remuneration for past work. Because those decisions were made closer to home, we were able to get people some quite significant financial compensation, depending on their position in the company. If we'd only focused on the things that people were unhappy about, this simply wouldn’t have happened.

The things we could change we did change, and a couple of the other decisions were really softened. Not just what was happening, but in the way we were communicated to. There was a specific letter which apologised for previous errors in communication, and overall the langauge of the communications became much more helpful; understanding rather than dictatorial.

How War to Peace® helped

I think without using the War to Peace® methodology, the situation could have been a total disaster. Instead, we were able to keep things constructive.

I reminded people at times that industries are never as big as you think they are – in high-emotion situations, it’s vital not to burn your bridges. You never know when someone you’re in conflict with will end up being a colleague, or your boss, at a later date. To put the best foot forward for yourself, it’s really important to be aware of how you’re being. You won’t want to be in a place where you’re so angry, that it spills over into how you show up at future interviews.

I felt I was able to offer some kind of map that said “Remember to be the best that you can be, even while you're seeking the outcome that you want”.

Without War to Peace®, there’s no way I would have had the propensity to be able to do it. After all, I’m not a robot – I still have things that trigger me! But I also know I don’t have to take things personally - and I've learned, crucially, how to choose how I feel about things, rather than being hijacked by my emotions.

I have real solutions that mean I don’t get stuck in emotional ruts and instead have concrete ways of changing things. Even if you’ve been fabulous at identifying places you get stuck or triggered, and being aware of them, having ways of getting yourself out of that place and changing how you're being just transforms everything.

Over to you

  • Have you ever experienced redundancy, whether you were the one leaving the company, or having to convey the news to others? What was it like?
  • What tools and resources do you draw on in high-emotion scenarios like this one?
  • Do you feel confident in your ability to advocate effectively for what you want without letting emotion take over?

Leave a comment below letting us know your thoughts.

War to Peace® workshops 2017-8

Our next open access workshop is on 13 July 2018. We have just 9 spaces left! Click here to find out more and book your place.

Ready to find out what the impact could be on your team sooner? We've been running in-house workshops using our award-winning methodology for over a decade; simply click here to get in touch or call us on +44 (0) 20 8191 7072 and let us know what you're looking for. To be the first to hear about our new open-access workshop dates, and get free monthly tips and strategies for your relationship challenges, just leave your name and email address below.

P.S. pass it on!

If you know a leader who might find this article helpful, let them know. Share it by using one of the buttons below.

 

 

“The whole team I worked in were being made redundant" Gill shares her high-stakes War to Peace® experience on the blog today.

 

 

 

Photo by Breather on Unsplash

When one person lets down the team

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

I loved my team - we were dedicated, high performing, go-getting and made up of the most intelligent, action-taking, committed individuals I could have wished for.

Except for Martin. Team meeting - what to do when one person lets down the team?

Martin was the exact opposite. Every annoying habit you could conceive, he had. From turning up late, to repeatedly promising he’d do things and then not delivering, he was the one bad egg in the team of my dreams.

As his line manager, the stress of trying to shift his behavior was keeping me up at night. I felt like I’d tried everything: I’d check his understanding of his tasks and ask him to set his own deadlines, I’d ask him why he hadn’t delivered to his own deadline and what support he needed, I even tried to show an interest in him and his home life to see if there was something at home that was troubling him. Then I tried being tough, setting non-negotiable deadlines and threatening disciplinary action, which eventually was the process that was entered into. Martin was impossible, and in the end I asked my boss to remove him from my team and give us his entire workload, as I concluded that it would be easier to take on all of his responsibilities than the amount of time, effort and frustration managing him was costing me.

We breathed a collective sigh of relief when Martin exited our team and moved into another department. Finally, we could be high-performing once more, albeit feeling somewhat resentful of all the extra work we had to do under already pressurised conditions.

The unexpected twist

Several months later, I met someone who was now working with Martin. I was ready to commiserate when they told me he’d been promoted! I was floored. This incompetent, irritating, un-manageable person... promoted... how had he fooled them? My team were incredulous when I told them, it’s not as though we’d forgotten about Martin - his name had become a euphemism for non-delivery. But it bothered me nonetheless...

Several years later, I had changed roles a good few times in the organisation and was again fortunate enough to be heading a high performing team. Once more, we had uncompromising deadlines and pulled regular all-nighters to meet them. This time it was Amy who was the thorn in our side. Clearly intelligent, her role was essential to our success, as she was responsible for updating our ever changing project plans and PowerPoint presentations to the board. However, she made it known to us on a daily basis that she felt this task was way beneath her capabilities and frequently suggested that she had much better ways of doing things. I’d brace myself before every encounter with Amy, knowing that she was going to roll her eyes, highlight the inadequacies of our approach, complain and would input the data through deep sighs, tutting and a slowly shaking head.

Was this going to be Martingate all over again…?

A new approach to conflict

Amy bothered me. On the one hand, I’d feel perfectly justified in telling her to get on with it - it was her job after all and we were all under immense pressure, often not agreeing with the decisions made above our heads and having to do work that didn’t exactly satisfy us either a lot of the time. On the other hand, how many times in my career had I been shut down and told to JFDI (just do it) when I had great ideas about doing things differently? It wasn’t exactly motivating and it would be easy to see how this could escalate into full blown war if I wasn’t careful. But then she did have a poor attitude that was in real danger of bringing down the team, so it wasn’t as though I could leave things as they were, so what could I do?

Often at the times when urgent action seems necessary, it’s a good indicator for us to pause and reflect. With the Martin experience still ringing in my ears years later - and all the time and stress that it had cost me - I decided to invest some time in contemplating Amy’s situation and how I’d want to be viewing this in years to come. I concluded very quickly that whilst she clearly wasn’t a good fit for our team and it would be easy to make her wrong (just as I had with Martin), this wasn’t going to solve our issue, any more than imploring her to just do her job would.

When I looked at the situation from Amy’s point of view, I could see why she was frustrated and that some aspects of the role were beneath her razor-sharp intellect. I could also see that there were other departments in the organisation that could use someone with her desire for process improvement. That said, with my experience of her attitude, I didn’t feel I could wholly recommend her, but that was part of a conversation I could now have with her.

Speaking honestly

Instead of wasting weeks in conflict, trying to get her to change her behavior and venting to anyone who’d listen about how she was making life a misery, a much more honest conversation ensued with her than ever it did with Martin. I was able to tell her frankly why she wasn’t a fit for our team – and the kind of position I thought she’d be better suited to. I also explained that even though I understood her frustration, her attitude didn’t leave me feeling able to fully recommend her, but I did want her to succeed and shared the potential I saw in her.

Key to this dialogue was getting into a frame of mind that was empathetic to Amy’s situation. Imagine how she might have experienced being on the receiving end of the same words from someone who felt angry and aggrieved? Instead, together we were able to mutually agree a plan for her to move on and, funnily enough, her attitude in her remaining weeks with us was considerably better, and she even helped source her replacement!

Moving out of the vicious circle

What is less important in the War to Peace® methodology is the action we take. What’s far more important is the way in which we take the action, in other words, how we are being. So, in this case, the action taken was to remove an under-performer from the team. In the first case, it cost dearly and there was bad feeling for everyone involved. It could have been exactly the same in the second case had it not been for a change of attitude - mine not theirs.

I can only imagine how Martin feels about his time with and exiting our team. And I know how Amy feels about hers, because it turns out it was the first time she had experienced such frank feedback and she later shared the positive impact it had on her.

I am sure you’ll be able to think back to similar examples in your life. Times when you’ve managed to have what seemed like difficult conversations – in work or at home – with grace and aplomb. And others when you wish you could turn back time and do it all differently. I’m willing to bet it was your own attitude that made the difference.

Next time you find yourself facing a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario ask yourself what viewing the situation from your own narrow perspective is costing you (I know you feel justified because it’s affecting other people too, but it’s still costing you dearly to focus on this). You may be surprised at how imagining yourself on the receiving end of you may lead you to a change of heart - and a solution that you couldn’t otherwise see.

Healthy boundaries, easy change

If you ever find yourself frustrated by colleagues, team or family members, or just want to be able to handle challenging conversations without being a pushover or sacrificing your boundaries, then War to Peace® is for you. In our one-day, practical workshop you’ll experience our award-winning methodology for yourself and apply it to a real-life challenge that’s coming up for you right now.

Our first open access workshop with spaces available is on March 2nd. Click here to get your spot, and move into Spring with your biggest time-suck taken care of. (Because if you have a Martin or Amy on in your life right now, or find yourself landed with one in future, all the productivity hacks in the world won’t give you back your time or your sanity).

And to be the first to hear about our new workshop dates, sign up for our monthly blog posts containing tips and strategies for your relationship challenges.

P.S. pass it on!

If you know someone who might find this article helpful, let them know. Share it by using one of the buttons below.

 

 

What to do when one person lets down the team – and doing nothing's not an option. A true story from @halcyconglobal

 

 

 

Photo via Unsplash

The hidden block to effective teams

Monday, September 25th, 2017

A team of cyclists - but how can you build effective teams?As a team leader, there are lots of things you can do to increase the performance of the people you manage. For example, if you want to improve your results you might start with making sure that everyone is 100% clear on your shared goals and objectives, so their energy is being directed to the same place.

You could look at how your team interact with each other. Boost connection, maybe by adding in informal meetings or group activities, to see if you can develop stronger bonds.

A third approach would be to focus on the individual skill levels of your team, with an aim of increasing each person's competence so that collectively, they perform better.

Ideas like this tend to be the focus of a lot of advice around building effective teams, and for good reason: All of these are great strategies.

But even when you've looked at each of these behaviours, it's common to feel like your team’s missing its “edge”.

Effective teams aren't built by behaviour alone

If you’ve managed people for any length of time you’ll almost certainly have come across this issue, even though it’s something that’s rarely discussed in leadership literature. Teams that look like they're doing everything 'right', and yet still aren't able to get past a certain level of performance.

  • It’s the team member who's irritable and impatient – because his marriage is breaking up, and he doesn’t know where to turn.
  • The individual who’s distracted and barely able to concentrate, because their intractable issues with their noisy neighbours are keeping them up at night.
  • The high flier who hasn't got their "mojo" back since a family bereavement brought conflict between their siblings that doesn't seem like it'll ever get resolved.

These scenarios can be difficult to tackle, because they're not really about how our people behave at work. We might not have the full picture about what's going on, and it's certainly not our place to ask. And even when we do have some of the facts, as leaders, these “personal issues” can feel as though they fall outside our remit. We might decide they're matters for HR, or facts of life that can’t be changed.

But the truth is, all the strategy in the world won’t help shift your results when your team members are not showing up in a way that's helpful to work.

Conflict makes most of us miserable, and miserable employees are uniquely ineffective.

How to address issues that go beyond the working day

In a competitive and complex marketplace, keeping home and work separate isn’t as simple as taking off your jacket at the end of the day. Getting great results means bringing your whole self to the table; being able to be flexible, adaptable and empathetic to others. Holding firm boundaries, and knowing how to negotiate and say no without sacrificing important relationships.

So often, the “unrelated” personal issues of our teams point to deeper challenges in how they’re able to show up. (The Spiral of Disempowerment™ shows how our trickiest relationships can become our greatest teachers). However well-hidden they might seem, these issues will almost certainly impact their performance.

So what’s the solution when it comes to building an effective team?

Let’s be clear: You’re certainly not expected to solve all of your team’s problems. If you’re thinking that their marriages, family relationships and community conflicts are none of your business, you’d be right. And it's also important to remember that these issues are a completely normal part of all of our lives. Everyone experiences conflict from time to time, and there's nothing we can do to stop that from happening.

What it might be helpful to consider is how you can support your team to react differently to those issues, in a way that can help them with any relationship they're in, whether at work or in their personal lives.

This is where War to Peace® comes in. It’s an experience that isn't so much about changing what you do (the way that a new communication technique or a different goal setting strategy might have an impact) as looking at the underlying way we show up. The behaviour changes flow from the deeper shift in whether we're living in a way that's at War or at Peace.

When we’re at Peace, we’re naturally more interested and helpful towards others, which invites the same behaviour to come back in return. And it's not about learning how to say certain things, or 'acting' a certain way  - you can’t fake being at Peace! One of the key differences about the approach is that we’re not doing it for other people. Instead, it allows us to be (effortlessly) the best version of ourselves no matter how someone else is behaving. That means we’re able to stop giving our power away and waiting for others to change, and start taking control of how we're being.

Can you see how this could have a more lasting impact on your team's results than trying to change their 'surface' activities and behaviours? How once you have a competent team in place, what they're doing at work might become less important than how they're doing it.

Over to you

    • Have you experienced this hidden block come up with people you manage?
    • How might your current team see better results with a whole-person focus on their communication styles?

Leave a comment below letting us know your thoughts.

War to Peace® workshops 2017-8

Our upcoming open-access October 2017 workshop is now fully booked (though if you’re keen for a place, feel free to join the waiting list in case of any last-minute changes).

Our recent War to Peace® workshops have all sold out well in advance, and so we're delighted to let you know that we we will now be running 4 open access workshops in 2018. The first of these will fall on on 2 March 2018, and you can click here to find out more and book your place.

If you don’t want to wait that long, it's possible to organise an in-house workshop for you and your team; simply click here to get in touch or call us on +44 (0) 20 8191 7072 and let us know what you're looking for. To be the first to hear about our new workshop dates, sign up for our once per month blogs posts containing tips and strategies for your relationship challenges.

P.S. pass it on!

If you know a leader who might find this article helpful, please share it by using one of the buttons below.

 

 

Manage teams? You might not have considered this hidden block to improving results, from @halcyonglobal

 

 

 

Photo by James Thomas on Unsplash