Welcome to the quarterly Working
Newsletter. Our goal is to highlight how we
stronger work relationships, communicate
effectively, and manage conflict
constructively in the workplace.
I hope you'll find our suggestions useful and contact
us when we can help.
|Small, yet powerful, ways to build relationships at work
In talking about what great leaders do, Margaret
Wheatley said "In organizations, real power and
energy is generated through relationships. The
patterns of relationships and the capacities to form
them are more important than tasks, functions, roles,
and positions." If so, we'd be wise to put
more energy into building our work relationships than
counting on a title or recognition to change how
people respond to us.
we can intentionally shift how we interact with others
and build stronger work relationships as we do.
Below are four ways to build a closer bond with
- Share what you know. Everyone
appreciates being "in the know." Therefore, working
with an "information hoarder" is not fun. Those who
are in the know and keep it to themselves give the
distinct impression they are only concerned with
themselves and their personal success. Conversely,
colleagues who are generous with their
knowledge build allies. In showing interest in others
knowing as well, they build
respect, appreciation, and a clear picture of
- Ask for help when you don't
know. Sometimes, people stubbornly refuse
to admit they don't know the answer. In the
process, they can come across as arrogant,
over-confident, and disinterested in the talents of
on the team. To admit not knowing, leaders model a
willingness to learn and show an appreciation for the
talents and contributions of others.
- Develop an appreciation for "small
talk." Being able to converse on
big issues is indeed important, but being able to
informal settings using "small talk" has great value,
too. Some may see "chit-chat" or "polite conversation"
as inconsequential and a time-waster. However,
about activities and people that matter to others (or
interests you both may share) says you care about
people, not just work. A 10-minute casual
conversation here and there builds the kind of
relationships that can withstand stress.
- Look for opportunities to do a someone a
favor. Little generous gestures, especially
aren't looking for anything in return, builds good will
and respect. And when your turn comes to need help,
you can bet others will be there for you.
|Multi-tasking: Do the benefits outweigh the risk?
For a moment, put yourself in these situations
consider what you'd think and feel.
- You are on the phone with a colleague
and are fairly certain the person on the other end is
their computer keyboard while you are speaking.
- You are speaking in a meeting and the
colleague you most want to hear your message is
checking her Blackberry.
Do you feel heard? What messages are you
receiving? Many people will question whether they are
being heard and also may come away feeling they
received very little respect for their ideas and their
Not feeling respected or thinking own opinions
matter are frequent issues in workplaces.
communicating is a small action that has a much
larger consequence that is intended. Time pressures
encourage busy people to make use of every
moment. Yet it is
worth realizing that people say they
come away from these situations very frustrated and
angry. When people don't feel heard or respected,
some people are direct and appropriately let you
know at the time.
Others who respond less directly may pull away from
the working relationship or may let their frustration or
disappointment build to present itself later, possibly
when you need
that person's cooperation or support the most.
"Multi-taskers" quite often think they have the
ability to do two (maybe three) things at once and still
everything being said. In reality, they may be able
hear all of the WORDS being spoken. However, they
almost always are at risk of missing key
communication subtleties found in tone, non-verbal
cues, and what the speaker is NOT SAYING.
Attempting to listen while fitting other tasks into the
process carries a huge risk of sending signals that
you don't respect the speaker and/or don't care about
what is being said and eventually erodes the
The next time you are tempted to multi-task while
listening to a colleague, be both realistic and weigh
the risk. Realistically, your limits of concentration
probably won't hold up to the task. More
importantly, ask yourself if whittling down your to-do
list is worth implying that others are not very important
|Working Dynamics hosts Lunch and Learn on Conflict Competent Teams
When: September 18, 2008 1-2:30 pm
Duration: 1 hour (webinar) with discussion
Cost: Complimentary to the first 12 registrants
(light lunch included)
Conflict can be at the heart of teams' best ideas
as well as their worst failures. This webinar,
presented by Tim Flanagan and Craig Runde, looks
at how teams can use conflict to enhance creativity,
productivity, and the quality of their decision-making.
While teams inevitably encounter conflict, too many of
them fail to develop norms for how they want to
address it when it arises. This session looks at how
to create the right climate and use constructive
communications techniques to manage team conflict
By attending this session you will:
- Discover why conflict is both a challenge and an
opportunity for teams
- Learn how to create the right climate for effective
conflict management in teams
- Develop approaches for using constructive
communication approaches to address team conflict
- Assess your team's current conflict environment
Who Should Attend
The audience for this webinar includes team leaders,
team members, project managers, training and
development managers, and organizational leaders
concerned about ensuring high performance in
Space is limited; register early: Email or call
Susan Gunn, Working Dynamics
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About the Publisher
Susan Gunn is president of
Working Dynamics, a Richmond, VA, consulting
Working Dynamics builds collaboration and
in the workplace through development programs
and and conflict management. Learn more about us
"You cannot hope to build a better world
improving the individuals."
-- Marie Curie
"If you are not listening, you are not learning.
-- Lyndon Baines Johnson
"If you have knowledge, let others light their
candles at it."
-- Margaret Fuller