NetSpeed Learning Solutions June 2018
Managing Conflict - Personally and Collaboratively
When you start to bump up against others on your virtual team, it might be time for self-reflection and team reflection. The underlying causes of conflict in the digital workplace are both personal and collaborative.
A wonderful teacher, Angeles Arrien, once noted that we have to be aware of feedback or messages from our colleagues. If we hear similar constructive criticism from three different people, it is probably time to take a good, long look in the mirror. For example, if I hear the message repeatedly that I interrupt people before they have a chance to complete their thoughts, I need to take ownership of my own communication pattern which is obviously annoying my peers. That doesn't make me bad or wrong. But it does make me responsible for my impact, no matter what my intention might be.
As an occasional interrupter, I can tell you that sometimes I get so excited by my own ideas or thoughts, I feel compelled to speak, cutting other people off. Without intending to do so, I have sent a message that my ideas are more important than their ideas. When I hear people react with irritation saying, "Let me finish my thought, please," I know this uncomfortable moment is on me! I take a deep breath, pause, and let them finish their thought. Then I may choose to paraphrase what they said so they know I've heard them. Once I've slowed myself down and acknowledged their opinion, I've earned the right to add my thoughts to the discussion.
Reducing conflict begins with self-reflection and the willingness to manage our own behavior. If you'd like to explore your personal communication patterns, you might want to take the "About You" questionnaire (also included in my book, Peer Power: Transforming Workplace Relationships and our Managing Workplace Conflict program).
There's a collaborative side to conflict, as well as a personal side. When working on or leading a virtual team, you may also need to pay attention to the operating norms and practices employed by team members communicating digitally. To collaborative effectively, virtual teams need to be aware of five critical areas: activity, availability, process, perspective, and environment. Take a few minutes now to watch a short video 
introducing these five concepts.
Taking responsibility for your personal impact, as well as being aware of the need to collaborate well virtually, sets the stage for a positive, productive work environment. Join us in June as we focus on Strategies to Reduce Conflict in the Virtual Worplace, a 60-minute complimentary webinar, scheduled on Wednesday, June 20, 1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT.
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Cynthia Clay
Virtual Trainer Tips:
Rocking the Digital Workplace
We're seeing an upswing in requests from clients who want their teams to work better in virtual work environments. In many cases, these virtual teams have been paddling upstream for a year or more, frustrated by the challenges of geographic distance, low engagement, isolation, confusion, and invisibility.
The Virtual Leader program develops the skills of remote managers who want to maintain collaborative cultures when working virtually. If your organization shares these concerns, then join the ranks of a major clothing retailer, a well-known car manufacturing company, a global non-profit organization, and a leading supplier of operating equipment - all organizations who have implemented the Virtual Leader in the past year.
Download our latest ebook, Rocking the Digital Workplace, to learn more about how to create great working environments when it's all digital. 
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