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Mediator Tips: Mitigate Conflict with Collaboration

I’m psyched to bring my Resolve Conflict Now training to BBG’s audience of HR professionals on September 18, 2019, in the comfort of their own offices - not BBG’s offices; this is a webinar anyone can join. It’s also free! Register here.

Part of the 101-level, one-hour webinar will focus on how to build a collaborative workforce. I sum it all up with four keys:

  • Curiosity

  • Kindness

  • Engagement

  • Shared purpose

Let’s take them, briefly, one by one.


Your mindset is always a choice: When you can, choose curiosity. Someone at work is in your face, or didn’t do something they’re supposed to, or did do something they are not supposed to do. Instead of focusing on blame or disappointment, choose to get curious - Why did they behave that way? What might be happening that’s motivating them to do that thing that’s completely awful, in your opinion? Why exactly do you think it is completely awful?

Have a conversation with them that focuses on seeking to understand, not to blame or punish.


Too often, I’ve felt it myself or seen it in others: Our basic first instinct to be kind is squashed, for no other reason than “This is work, I have work to do, I’m not here to make friends.”

The kinder we behave toward each other at work, the more productive we all become. So, yes, take a few minutes to really listen to the response when you ask your coworker or employee how their weekend was or if they’ve got fun plans for their upcoming vacation.

Encourage people to unplug when they’re not at work/expected to be responsive, and get curious about what they do in their spare time - and share some of your life, too.

Buy someone coffee, or make the coffee for the office, if it’s not usually your thing.


Avoid pressuring others - or yourself - to multi-task. The more we allow ourselves and others to single-task at work, especially without interruption from others, the better our chances of achieving challenging objectives (or finding flow, if you will).

And the more kindly people treat each other, the more engaged they are likely to be. The best employment benefits package in the world will not compensate for people who are actively disengaged and lack a shared purpose.

Shared purpose

When you work, you need a purpose that is neither profit nor paycheck. Everyone can find a reason to work that fulfills this requirement; it’s just a mental exercise. However, it’s important not to expect other folks to do the mental exercise on their own! The more openly we talk about the company’s purpose and values, the more likely it is that employees will see a match with their own or begin to identify with the company’s. It does not have to be lofty or about social justice or helping people - it can be anything that fits the employee’s value system. Maybe it is changing the world, or disrupting a system; or, maybe it’s about social status and or having power. The point is simply to understand one’s purpose as part of a larger purpose-driven company.

To learn more, sign up for the webinar on September 18. I hope to talk to you then!


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