NetSpeed Learning Solutions November 2017
The Power of Conflict
We waste a lot of time trying to avoid conflict or trying to avoid people whom we perceive as carrying conflict. Conflict often reveals potential areas for improvement in communication, in systems, and in processes. Adopting that more constructive view of conflict allows us to move into productive problem-solving when conflict occurs. Instead of attributing conflict to such nebulous causes as "personality differences," consider conflict to be a powerful spotlight on systems that need to be adjusted or underlying issues that need to be resolved in the workplace.
On virtual teams, with people who are not co-located, normal conflict can trigger exaggerated responses. Without visual cues, team members can quickly jump to conclusions about the negative intentions and actions of people on their teams. Virtual leaders reap outstanding results from their remote teams if they attend to five areas required to build strong collaboration. Any time conflict occurs, it's a near certainty that one of these areas needs additional focus or improvement:
Activity : Are virtual team members aware of the activity and work assignments of everyone on the team?
Availability : Are they using available technology to signal their availability for phone calls, virtual meetings, and quick questions?
Process : Are there documented processes shared by everyone and established systems for status updates?
Perspective : Does everyone have a shared understanding of history, vision, values, team norms, and culture?
Environment : Has the team attended to the external constraints that may impact their work?
Of course, there are times when conflict is caused by poor performance or missed commitments. And the virtual leader must attend to these performance issues with individuals on the team as they arise.
If you would like to know more about how you can improve teamwork when conflict occurs in your virtual workplace, plan to attend our next one-hour, complimentary webinar, Strategies to Reduce Conflict in the Virtual Workplace, on Wednesday, November 15, 1:00 pm ET / 10:00 am PT

Cynthia Clay signature
Cynthia Clay
Virtual Trainer Tips:
Assume Goodwill and Positive Intent
When I develop and deliver web workshops, I build in opportunities for people to use chat to encourage interaction with me and other participants. There are many reasons to encourage active chatting in webinars, including to:
  • Engage participants
  • Stimulate creative thinking
  • Draw out context from the group
  • Increase learning retention
It's challenging to rely on text comments, though, because the underlying subtext or intention is missing. Reading between the lines while scanning ambiguous comments, it can be easy to jump to conclusions about what people mean. On occasion, my reaction to seeing someone's chat message has been negative. I have sometimes been annoyed by what seems to be criticism or sarcasm.
What I've learned over many years of delivering webinars is that, in the stream of chat messages, I may not always know exactly what someone's intended impact might be. However I will always be a better facilitator - more focused, more kind, and more competent - if I assume that everyone in my web training sessions has positive intent.
The simple assumption that participants are taking my web workshop with goodwill has served me well in some awkward situations. Even if I'm wrong about a snarky comment, most participants appreciate that I'm positive and upbeat. I can either ignore the critical comment or rephrase it in a more positive way to reinforce a key point.

Cynthia Clay to Present
Brain-based Principles for Engagement
and Retention in the Virtual Classroom
Experience interactive activities that model the principles presented. You will change the way you design and deliver learning experiences as you leverage the neuroscience of learning to ensure on-the-job behavior change and application of new skills.

Friday, December 15th
1:30 pm ET / 10:30 am PT

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