2 Ways to Have a Difficult Conversation


difficult conversation, two-point conversation, three-point conversation, listening, speaking, public speaking, workplace culture

For any number of reasons, you might find yourself facing the challenging prospect of having a difficult conversation. Speaking a hard truth to someone or delivering difficult news is never easy. Through my experience as a school board superintendent, I have learned that being prepared and having a strategy is far better than the “just do it” approach. Consider the … Read More

How to Stop the Cycle of Disrespect


cycle of disrespect, disrespectful behaviour, coworker, conflict, retaliation, negativity, conversation, communication

How do you react when someone is disrespectful towards you at work? It’s easy to get caught in a cycle of disrespect because our natural inclination is to respond aggressively or defensively. This is because human beings tend to mirror each other. But with negative behaviours like disrespect, we often go a step further and escalate the situation. For example: … Read More

High Stakes Civility


­­­When stakes are high and your performance matters most, you and your team will likely get stressed. But how will you treat each other? Will you all take a deep breath, make sure communication is respectful and straightforward, and motivate each other by using language that acknowledges that you’re all in it together? Or, will you become short with each … Read More

How to Talk About the Elephant in the Room


Over the years I’ve facilitated a fair number of high-stakes conversations, and I’ve always been struck by how often people say, “You can help us by leading a discussion about the elephant in the room.” In one case, the “elephant” was worth tens of millions of dollars a year and affected the livelihood of many employees. People wanted to know … Read More

4 Tips for Handling Negativity


People are porous—we absorb the feelings and attitudes around us. Things we often conceive of as individual and personal, such as emotions, are actually highly dependent on the people we are surrounded by. Merely watching someone engage in an action causes us to consciously or unconsciously mimic that behaviour. The simple expression of a frown or smile can cause us … Read More

Should Conflict Resolution Skills Training be Mandatory?


I was recently asked by a workshop participant if I thought it was okay to make Conflict Resolution Skills training mandatory for everyone at their organization. My simple answer was, “Yes, I think that is a good idea.” However, that answer really needed to be more nuanced because it implies some other questions such as: • Is there a benefit … Read More

How Conflict Escalates & Strategies to Prevent Disaster

Josh Hay

couple fighting

Conflict is so predictable, and I believe that is what scares us most about it. We have seen conflict quickly develop into an ugly mess. We see this in the media, and we have probably experienced it in our personal lives as well. The good news is that conflict doesn’t always have to escalate negatively. When we understand how it … Read More

The Hidden Costs of Unmanaged Conflict

Josh Hay

gossiping at work

We often think of conflict as negative – something that is bad that needs to be avoided. At ACHIEVE, we believe that conflict has the potential to be positive, that something good can result from it, and that it is crucial to have the right tools to engage well with each other in the midst of conflict. We, however, are … Read More

6 Steps for Constructive Conflict Resolution

Josh Hay

man yelling into megaphone at woman

As humans, we are wired wrong. It seems we are not naturally inclined to work through conflict adeptly. We quickly perceive and respond to conflict as a threat. Our natural tendency is to either look for an escape route from the perceived danger (flight), or respond with retaliation to save ourselves (fight) – both responses are not helpful. It seems … Read More

Direct Talk About Passive-Aggression

Josh Hay

Passive-aggressiveness is one of the most frustrating behaviours we face in our colleagues or clients.  I believe that when we fail to address this behaviour, it creates big problems. So let us be clear about what passive-aggressive behaviour does: It undermines and sabotages our relationships. Ultimately it inhibits our organization’s ability to achieve its purpose.  Passive-aggressiveness should never be tolerated … Read More