Communication Conflict Resolutions Leadership

How to Change Conflict to Collaboration

Hi everyone! Sylvia Lafair here and I’d like to offer just a few tidbits about conflict and how to handle that nasty thing that drives us all crazy.

So, when they ask how many people out there like conflict raise your hand. If you do all over the world where I worked I have asked that question and in a room of 50, in a room of 200 you usually get one or two people who raise their hands.

Conflict is something that makes us get tight inside, scares us, makes us want to run the other way, makes us feel like is it my fault, is it always my fault. So, what I’m going to do is, give you one little tidbit toward the end of this.

So, listen for just a minute. There are so many times at work where we feel discounted, ignored, pushed aside because somebody else is trying to climb the ladder of success. So, you can’t blame them for climbing the ladder of success but you need to know how to manage that. It’s like taking wild horses and learning how to teach them to behave properly.

So, what does that all mean? It means you don’t run away. You don’t get into it with them. You stay very centered. You breathe. You ask questions and if you have a colleague that’s really upsetting to you, my biggest suggestion is don’t go to each. I don’t go to your boss. Don’t go to your friends. Don’t go to your colleagues. Go to the person. So, what do you do once you go to the person. Well, you have to talk to them right.

Okay, so here’s the way you do it. You can start there, two ways: one is you can start and tell them how you feel about things you know. When you tell me my work isn’t good enough, I feel frustrated, discounted, upset, whatever your word is, and then what I do. What I have done is, normally I shut down, push away. I pull the curtain down. I talked to myself. I talked to my friends, but this time I’m really going to talk to you.

So, the question here is, what can we do to make our relationship work better? That’s it. That’s all you have to say, and then you zip it, you get quiet, you listen to them, and you wait for their response,  and then… but this has to come from the work you’ve done. Your internal work saying, “I really do want to have a relationship with you.” That works too many times. I’m getting responses that are saying, “I can’t work with him or her and I’m leaving the job,” and what I have found is, often you go into another job and there’s another him or her right there.

So, tackle this. Learn how to handle it. Learn to look at the essence of conflict, and when the stress gets to the hot button, know that you always tend to revert to patterns you used in your younger years to protect yourself. This isn’t about protection. It’s about understanding. It’s about dialogue. It’s about creating a new way.

I’d love you to contact me at I’d love to hear from you. We have an incredible staff of coaches who can work with you, and one of our major skills is helping people learn to handle conflict in a way that you can change things from very nasty, annoying, push away to a next level of collaboration.

It’s doable. It’s workable and we all need to learn it.

Thank you so much. Have a wonderful day and here’s to your success.

Communication Leadership

Questions About Communication, Conflict, Work-life Balance and Guess What?


You have lots of questions and I have lots of answers.

So, let’s get started and move as quickly as we can. In the last few weeks, I have gotten so many questions and they fall into four categories. They fall into communication, conflict, work-life balance and guess what? The last one is the imposter syndrome, and we’ll look at all four of those very quickly, and see if I can help give you some ahas and ideas on how to move forward.

So, the first question was about communal, is a combination of communication and conflict and somebody wrote and said. When somebody and I are in a kind of tense situation and they look at their watch and say, “Look we’ll have to finish this later and walk away. I get furious when I stuff it. I keep it inside and I don’t say anything.” Later in the day somebody could say tomorrow’s Thursday, and I’ll go, “What are you talking about?” Just to get and take the emotion out of me.

What do I do? Well, here’s my question – your answer to give you another question to think about. When they walk away, I want you to look and say, “Did you feel abandoned or disrespected because there are two very different models to work from?” If you feel abandoned, when somebody walks away is a very old process and in our total leadership connections and our gutsy programs. We go into the depth of where that comes from if you feel disrespected, then you better speak up very quickly, very quickly, and I would go and find that person, and tell them how you feel.

Now, here’s the model that I’m giving all of you, and it goes like this: you start with, “When you walk away, I feel disrespected, and then I shut down. That’s exactly what this person told me they do right now.”

What I’m willing to do is time to sit and talk this through. What I’m not willing to do is ignore it. That’s clean clear and to the point. So, if you feel disrespected, please go right away and talk to somebody because communication conflict, work-life balance, even the imposter syndrome, they all mix together into an amazing stew.

So, one of the things that’s very important for you to do is, take a breath, and then wait a minute, 30 seconds, 10 seconds, whatever you have to to figure out. Where the upset in you is coming from, and then move forward with it, and if it’s feeling
abandoned, you need to look at a different situation in your own life. When you were a kid and nobody paid attention to you, and you didn’t know how to get the attention. So, we can talk about that. Give a call. Let us know. We have a team of wonderful coaches who can help you with that, but if you’re feeling really disrespected, speak up right away.

Now, when it comes to stress and burnout, listen. I’ve said it over and over, and we know self-care is not selfish. It’s really critical. So, do it, do it, do it, do it. Take a half a day. Take a health hour. Take something and do something for
yourself. Nurture yourself and it could be just simply going outside and breathing the air on a beautiful day or just looking out the window if it’s snowing, and look at that, but what you need to do is regroup, and most of us, many of us feel very guilty when we take the time for ourselves.

I think we should have a health today or a health hour or a health half-day put into everybody’s work week. Now I know. I don’t have a lot of time, and I said a lot of people have asked me about Megan Marco, which I thought was pretty interesting. So, let me tell you what I’ve come up with. Megan Markel moved into a family business, a very old family business. Centuries-old family businesses are complex in themselves but one that centuries old and is kind of in the eyes of the whole world, that’s a whole other story.

So, what I teach when somebody goes into a new organization? It’s really about finding the way to make change happen if that’s what you want to do and it sounds like, that’s what she’s intent on doing but you have to do it in a very, very specific way. First, you go in and you observe and you keep your mouth zipped other than asking questions. No judgment, no blame, no attack, no finger-pointing, no this one or that one, and it seems from the media at least, I mean I don’t know personally, but from the media.

Obviously, Megan did not observe. She went right in to make statements, and to talk about the changes. She wanted to make and what she wanted to do. Not a good idea in most organizations. If you’re thinking long term, you observe before you start to make changes. Then, you go to the next level, which is to understand where did all of this come from, and it may take some time to gather the information, but as Stephen Covey has said, “Seek first to understand before being understood.” So, you need to put all the pieces as best you can of the puzzle together to find it, and then you can start doing the work of transformation, and that’s where we circle back to communication.

It’s what you say and how you say it. That’s going to make all the difference. Now, the only other thing, I want to say Meagan Markel, that I’ve noticed is her ability to move away, to be an avoider, and I hope that that changes for her because it’s very sad to watch. In her first marriage, she sent the guy the rings back in a FedEx box to say, “It’s over.” When she wrote the letter to her dad to say, “I don’t want anything to do with you now, just go live your life.” She gave it to her agent to hand to or to get to her father. So, there is a kind of avoiding being in this situation. Now, I don’t want to judge more than that. I just want to say, “Pay attention.” Moving forward to how you respond to new situations. How you are when you join a new team, and begin to look at ways to communicate, to captivate in a powerful way.

Call us. We have as I said, a great group of coaches that can help with all the problems, but those are the questions, and I gave you the, “When you I feel,” and then, “I, what I’m willing to do and what I’m not willing to do.” That five-step approach to conflict and to communication is gold. I promise you that.

Have a beautiful day. Keep the questions coming in. Thanks.