Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

The Secret To Better Conflict


The following is a guest piece by HBR columnist (and fellow Canadian) Liane Davey.

I am a strong believer that the scarcity of high performing teams is due to our inability and unwillingness to engage in productive conflict. Often, the problem is too little conflict: teams filled with passive-aggressive members who would rather take their gripes underground. Sometimes, the problem is a dysfunctional or even vicious group who spend all their energy going back and forth instead of moving forward.

So if no conflict is a sure path to oblivion, but too much conflict is equally risky, how do we avoid going from ditch to ditch and instead find a path to productive conflict somewhere in the middle? The secret lies in changing your assumptions.

First, let’s start with a little experiment. Imagine the person on your team who rubs you the wrong way. This is someone you just don’t see eye-to-eye with. Somehow all of your interactions with this person are tense and uncomfortable—even over the most innocuous thing. Can you picture that person? Now I want you to imagine receiving this email from them… Click here to continue reading »”The Secret To Better Conflict”

A Look Back At My Top 10 Leadership Insights From 2013


As we welcome the arrival of a New Year, many of us are naturally filled with hope and excitement about the possibilities and opportunities for growth, change and success over the upcoming 12 months.

The beginning of a new year is also an excellent opportunity for reflection; of contemplating where we’ve been and where we could be. From that perspective, I’d like to share with you some of the leadership insights I’ve written about over the past 52 weeks, not just as a reminder of the lessons that were shared, but also so we can contemplate how we might apply them going forward.

Instead of a list of articles, though, I’d like to share a quote from ten of the most shared and commented pieces I wrote for my blog this past year, along with a link back to that piece if you’d like to learn more about that topic.

In this way, I hope to inspire you to celebrate your accomplishments of the past year in leading your team and organization, as well as to encourage you to find opportunities to become the kind of leader your employees need you to be. The kind of leader who will not only help them to succeed and thrive, but one where you will also find a sense of purpose and fulfilment in what you do.

So here now are my quotes from the top 10 leadership pieces I wrote from 2013, as selected by you, the readers of my blog:


The key to building a thriving organization:

“In our pursuit to create meaning through our shared efforts, we need to ensure that we’re creating value not just for our customers or shareholders, but also for our employees, if not also for the community in which we operate … we have to make sure we’re creating and communicating Click here to continue reading »”A Look Back At My Top 10 Leadership Insights From 2013″

How Leaders Create The Right Environment To Resolve Team Conflicts

Leader managing workplace conflict

How can we resolve conflicts in the workplace? That was the focus of the interview I did with National Post columnist Steve Cunningham as part of his company’s series of interviews with thought leaders and experts from various industries and disciplines.

Over the course of our conversation, I shared with Steve a number of actionable steps employees can take to resolve conflicts they might have with their colleagues or team mates. At one point, though, we also touched briefly on what leaders can do to help address conflicts that can adversely impact team progress and cohesion.

Although it’s important for employees to understand how to manage and resolve conflicts for themselves, there are measures that leaders can take in order to provide the kind of guidance and environment that will ensure that conflicts don’t impair their team’s ability to collaborate and communicate effectively.

With this in mind, here are four steps that leaders should take to create an environment where employees can successfully resolve conflicts in the workplace:

1. Remind employees that conflict is only negative if we tear each other down
When it comes to conflict, there’s a understandable tendency to view it negatively in large part due to our past experiences where we might have lost influence or authority, felt disrespected, or not heard by the other party.

However, there’s another reason behind this tendency to view conflict negatively that has to do with how our brains operate. Click here to continue reading »”How Leaders Create The Right Environment To Resolve Team Conflicts”

3 Keys To Successfully Leading Today’s Evolving Workplaces

Over the past few months, there’s been a number of thought leaders and CEOs who’ve found themselves embroiled in a heated controversy as a result of expressing their opinions on various sociopolitical issues. Regardless of the topic, in every situation there was a polarization of distinct groups around the issue, with each side clearly determined to vilify the other in the hopes of amassing the most public support, if not attention in the media and online social channels.

As a result of these controversies and debates, some pundits have been pushing the idea that CEOs and other leaders should refrain from sharing their opinions on any issue and instead, limit their focus or attention to matters that impact their organization’s bottom line.

But is this really the best way for leaders to guide their organizations which employ a growing multicultural, multi-ethnic makeup thanks to shifting demographics, not to mention communication technologies that allow for collaborative efforts to stretch past conventional geographical boundaries?

If organizational leaders are expected to keep silent on issues that matter to them, what is the example they present to those they lead who may have a divergent opinion to those they work with? How can organizations use the diversity of thought and opinion that so many recognize as being key to our ability to innovate and grow if our employees don’t feel comfortable expressing that diversity?

Of course, this doesn’t mean a free-for-all, anything-goes attitude. Rather, what it means is Click here to continue reading »”3 Keys To Successfully Leading Today’s Evolving Workplaces”

How to Handle A Credit-Stealing Co-Worker

When it comes to writing a blog, one of the unfortunate realities you have to deal with is addressing online plagiarism (for those who aren’t familiar, online plagiarism is when someone posts your content on their site without proper attribution for who created it). In most cases, this occurs because some malicious site owner wants to use the content you created in order to increase traffic to their own site.

However, as is the case with most interactions, sometimes the line isn’t so clear and it’s hard to know whether the offending act was done intentionally or merely out of a lack of awareness. It’s this kind of situation that a friend and fellow blogger recently found herself in and which she sought my advice about to figure out what she should do to address it.

In this case, my friend had come across a website which had taken a recent post of hers and re-published it in its entirety on their blog without her permission. What’s more, the only attribution given for the post was a vague ‘article source’ link – something few readers would bother to click on in order to find out who wrote the piece.

Following our conversation about this situation, she contacted the site owner and thankfully, ended up with a satisfactory resolution for both parties.

Of course, bloggers and others who create content online are not the only ones who have to deal with this problem. Indeed, most of us have at one time or another faced a similar situation of having someone take advantage of our contributions or worse, taking credit for the work itself. And unfortunately, few of us are lucky enough to see these situations resolved in an amicable fashion that reinforces our sense of teamwork and fair play.

So how do you address a co-worker whose taking credit for your work without creating a new source of conflict within your team and workplace? Here are three steps you can take to ensure a successful and mutually-beneficial outcome. Click here to continue reading »”How to Handle A Credit-Stealing Co-Worker”

« Older Entries