Communicating to Maximize Results
Discover Early Indicators of Conflict
By Cheryl Vallejos
Communications play a strategic role in the
workplace. A big part of developing
personal power is the ability to get ideas across in a constructive,
collaborative manner. Therefore, in
order to be a productive and efficient leader, effective communication skills
are paramount to your success.
As in all daily
interactions, it is important to remember you will converse with people from various
background and life experiences.
Speaking and listening effectively are crucial to creating an atmosphere
of respect with others. Showing respect
to everyone, and encouraging open communication can help bring you a motivated
and congenial staff while impressing your colleagues.
Here are 10 ways to maximize
- Deliver clear and consistent messages in your
- Manage communication problems with knowledge and
awareness of conflict management.
- Work on you first. Don't try to
change the other person.
- Handle all conversations with respect and you
will receive respect in return.
- Stay within your boundaries and values, and keep
emotionally balanced during conflicts.
- Inspire, energize and motivate others.
- Actively listen.
- Never make the other person wrong.
- During a conflict, find mutual ground, then
resolve the issue with that in mind.
- Don’t be a victim or play the villain in a
Communication and leadership are inseparable. Our ability to energize, inspire, and
motivate people to high levels of performance is directly related to our
ability to communicate well. Be ready
with your conflict resolution skills at any time. By communicating with empathy, yet with
strength and diplomacy, you will model effective communication to all around
you, and the results will happily affect the bottom line.
- Conflict is inevitable.
- Conflict develops because we are dealing with people's lives, jobs
children, pride, self-concept, ego and sense of mission or purpose.
- Early indicators of conflict can be recognized.
- There are strategies for resolution that are available and DO work.
- Although inevitable, conflict can be minimized, diverted and/or
- Poor and disrespectful communication.
- Individual seeking power.
- Dissatisfaction with management style.
- Weak leadership.
- Lack of openness.
- Change in leadership.
- Certain body language.
- Disagreements regardless of issue.
- Withholding bad news.
- Strong public statements.
- Airing disagreements through media.
- Conflicts in value system.
- Increasing lack of respect.
- Lack of candor on budget problems or other
- Lack of clear goals.
- No discussion of progress, failure relative to
goals, failure to evaluate the superintendent fairly, thoroughly or at
Conflict is destructive
- Takes attention away from other important
- Undermines morale or self-concept.
- Polarizes people and groups, reducing
- Increases or sharpens difference.
- Leads to irresponsible and harmful behavior,
such as fighting, name-calling.
Conflict is constructive
- Results in clarification of important problems
- Results in solutions to problems.
- Involves people in resolving issues important to
- Encourages authentic communication.
- Helps release emotion, anxiety, and stress.
- Builds cooperation by people joining to resolve
- Helps individuals develop understanding and skills.
Techniques for avoiding
and/or resolving conflict:
- Meet conflict head on.
- Set goals.
- Plan ahead and communicate frequently.
- Be honest about concerns.
- Agree to disagree; understand healthy disagreement builds better
- Get individual ego out of management style.
- Let your team create; people will support what they help create.
- Openly discuss differences in values.
- Continually stress the importance of following policy.
- Communicate honestly; avoid playing "gotcha"-type games.
- Provide more data and information than is needed.
- Develop a sound management system.
How does a school board cause conflict
with a superintendent?
- Trying to be administrators; overstepping authority.
- Making promises as individuals instead of board members.
- Involving themselves in labor relations or
- Not doing their "homework" and failing to prepare for
- Not following procedures for handling
- Not keeping executive session information
- Failing to act on sensitive issues.
- Failing to be open and honest with the
- Making decisions based on preconceived notions.
- Not supporting the superintendent; lack of
- Springing surprises at meetings.
- Having hidden agendas.
How does a CEO cause conflict?
- Not treating board members equally.
- Not informing the board members of public
- Not providing adequate financial data or
- Using poor public management practices.
- Making public statements before informing the board
- Failing to be open and honest with the board.
- Not providing alternatives in an objective
- Not adjusting to the new reality of an involved
- Not support the board; lack of loyalty.
- Springing surprises at meetings.
- Having hidden agendas.
Elements of a strong
partnership or team:
- Full disclosure.
- Frequent two-way communication.
- Careful planning.
- Informal interaction.
- Periodic evaluation.
- Mutual support .
The controversies usually involve:
- Changes in the way "we've always done
- Notions of fundamental values.
- Determined, articulate advocates for every side.
- Inability to compromise.
- Rampant rumors .
- Threats of retaliation at the polls at the next bond, levy or school.
- Board election.
Searching for the causes of conflict is
essential to be successful in resolving the conflict.
Nine possible causes of conflict include:
- Conflict with self.
- Needs or wants not being met.
- Values being tested.
- Perceptions being questioned.
- Assumptions being made.
- Having minimal knowledge
- Expectations are too high/too low.
- Personality, race, or gender differences are present.
- Listen more carefully and more responsively.
- Explain your intent to others and openly invite
- Make an effort to express yourself more clearly
- Transfer your criticisms and complaints into requests
and positive statements and use appropriate language to communicate them.
arguing over individual ranking or position. Present a position as logically as
2. Avoid "win/lose" statements. Discard
the notion that someone must win.
changing your mind in order to avoid conflict and achieve harmony (people
majority voting, averaging, bargaining, or coin flipping. These actions do not
lead to consensus.
the attitude that holding different views is both natural and healthy to a
initial agreement as suspect. Explore the reasons underlying apparent agreement
and make sure that members have willingly agreed.
Practice, practice, practice…..
you’ll be amazed at the results!
Reprinting These Articles
You are welcome to use one of my articles. Just be sure and include this “author’s box”
at the end:
Want more profit and success in your
Cheryl Vallejos, author of “Injecting the Juice
into Leadership” and “Low Carb Leadership”
www.PrimeLeaders.com for more articles and ways to improve
leadership skills, business development and create more time to do things you
2004 © Cheryl Vallejos, Prime Leaders, all rights reserved