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

Confronting Constructively: 4 Tips

Josh Hay

In the social sciences, researchers determine the true impact of variable things by changing one variable and keeping everything else the same, then observing the result. I experienced something similar recently when I was confronted by two very real people on the same day. I’ll call them Albert and Ziggy. It was like a science experiment in that the situations … Read More

3 Reasons To Confront Your Co-Worker

Josh Hay

two people confronting each other

If your workplace is like most, people are too avoidant when it comes to conflict – even those who are more direct in their personal lives. That’s what Ralph Kilman, co-author of the world-renowned Thomas-Kilman Conflict Styles Inventory, found in a recent cross-organizational study. Too much avoidance means issues are swept under the carpet, contrary information is not shared, relational … Read More

6 Tips for Dealing with a Difficult Person

Josh Hay

When I started teaching conflict resolution skills many years ago, I believed that simply using those skills would solve most problems. I was naïve. People kept coming to me and saying something like, “Eric, these skills are great, but what do you do about the person who is just DIFFICULT?” After some years of experience, I realized that they were … Read More

5 Actions to Lead Your Group Through Conflict

Josh Hay

You didn’t sign up to be an HR specialist!  Worse, a babysitter!!  Conflict can be the most vexing part of managing groups. A manager recently exclaimed, “This group will be the death of me!  Why can’t they just act like adults?!”  They are adults, though.  And further, they are adults like you and me.  We’ve all been there.  Remember when … Read More

3 Ways to Avoid Conflict and Improve Relationships

Josh Hay

Conflict Resolution on Napkin

“I wonder what’s it like to be married to you…” I turned. The workshop participant was behind me, to the side, looking thoughtful, pensive, and curious. It wasn’t a pick-up, but a pondering. I have taught conflict resolution skills for 20 years and it’s a question I occasionally get asked. While all my training is workplace-related, the application in the … Read More

5 Steps for Effective Conflict Resolution

Josh Hay

Conflict is opportunity.  Although many of us find conflict stressful, conflict has many benefits. As a mediator, I have witnessed the strong emotions produced by conflict.  I have also seen how conflict dealt with in a healthy way can enhance our problem-solving capabilities, increase productive communication, promote self-awareness and build relationships.  When we avoid conflict or become confrontational or aggressive, … Read More

5 Principles for Talking Politics with Friends and Family

Josh Hay

How do you engage in political discussions with those you care about? For many, the answer is “I don’t!” Others engage eagerly in these discussions, but find themselves repeatedly caught in the muck of destructive conflict. There is another way – one that allows for respectful discourse and even strengthened relationships. In 2007, I was invited to participate in a … Read More