Author, Coach, Educator, & Realtor

Posts tagged ‘conflict’

I bet you wouldn’t have guessed !

Recently I heard (or read) the same statement made by three different reliable sources but I was still surprised.

It seems that for every negative thing that is said or done to you it takes five positive things to balance it out! Not one, not two — but five!

That’s a lot to ask.

Apparently it has to do with our brains and how they work. The book “How We Decide” by Jonah Lehrer was one of the sources of my revelation. It says, “Loss aversion is an innate flaw. It’s part of a larger psychological phenomenon known as negativity bias, which means that for the human mind, bad is stronger than good. This is why in marital interaction it generally takes at least five kind comments to compensate for one critical comment. ………The only way to avoid loss aversion is to know about the concept.”

So what are we do to? This will definitely take a group effort. Since we can’t give ourselves the positive comments in this particular situation we will have to form teams.

I need to form team “Joy“. Just like in kickball we get to pick our players; so I’ll choose my true friends, the family members who like me, the associates who respect me, the acquaintances who don’t know any better, my nailtech, my hairdresser and maybe anyone else I pay because they “should” be nice to me.

Team “Joy” gets points by saying five nice things to me each time I interact with them  in person, in writing or on the phone.  Then I must do the same. The game is won when we are all blissfully walking around and performing to our highest potential in all that we undertake; and no negative comment can undermine our day or our feeling of well-being. (Did I mention they have to be sincere compliments?).

This game however is never-ending. It is a constant give and take (give praise – take praise).

Team Joy also needs to recruit constantly and there is no limit to the number or value of the players we can amass for our team. (Unlike some professional football teams.)

We recruit by complimenting others and one by one we pick up players who are dedicated to winning. Daily they are being a positive force for Joy and recruiting others to join us. They can even be members of as many teams as they choose as long as they are active in all of them and following our basic goal of complimenting as many people as we can in a day, month, year — all while warding off our natural “negativity bias”.

Mission accomplished. We have enough good to outweigh the bad!

Have fun playing — you are welcome on Team Joy anytime!

The Nay-sayers; Don’t listen

A few encounters recently lead me to reflect on how I react when others are negative about an idea or plan I have developed.

A friend of mine Jackie Dishner first pointed out the word “Nay-sayer” in a presentation she gave to a group of business women. (I would highly recommend her as a motivational speaker.) It was the way she said it with so much disdain combined with laughter that first caught my attention.

A Nay-sayer is anyone who does not believe. They don’t believe in you, your ideas, your abilities and most likely don’t believe in change or creativity.

When I encounter a Nay-sayer my first reaction is usually doubt in myself. It takes a lot of work and self-esteem to just let it roll off your back and proceed straight ahead.

I have worked very hard at letting this occur and I have found that each time I regroup, revisit, clarify my goal and plow ahead I come out even more determined to reach my desired outcome.  

Then I share my plan or aspiration with more people and dismiss the Nay-sayers until eventually I find someone willing to give encouragement. The moment I have been waiting for – someone who believes.

Right after the first believer my enthusiasm and determination begin to ascend. I add to my plan. I can envision the outcome. I can get more people to believe and they in turn share their belief – and so the ball starts to roll.

Eventually the ball becomes so big that it takes everyone involved to carry it up the hill to the top of the mountain – where we can all see clearly the final outcome or result. And as a group who have supported and encouraged each other we are very proud of our accomplishment and the result we’ve attained.

This pride both individually and collectively ironically was part of the original plan. Pride in our contributions. Pride in our determination. Pride in our ability to change, to grow and to help each other along the way.

And so the journey begins again. We develop a sustainability plan. We develop the next growth plan. We look around for what we can improve or what gives us more joy and satisfaction.

Then we dismiss the Nay-sayers and find our new group that will help us on our next journey just as we will help them.

I’ll see you along the way in the valley and meet you at the top of the next mountain.


Kate Rakoci

Reference:  Jackie Dishner

Recommended reading: “Our Iceberg Is Melting” by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber


How to Change Conflict into Teamwork: 5 Causes and Solutions

 What causes conflict in the workplace ?


Today’s employees are fearful of their positions. They know companies are not making the necessary returns to expand and possibly can not maintain current levels of employment. Fear lends itself to conflict. ” Why are you more valuable than me?”  Competing for attention rather than teamwork may be a result.


Some employees need more recognition than others. If someone in particular gets more than the rest of the team because they are more apt to tout the teams results and take them as their own resentment and conflict build.


Other employees simply do not understand the goals and as a result miss the mark no matter how hard they work. They do not understand why others are more successful and become agitated. They are not as likely to work with others and become critical of leadership.


Yet  other employees have never been a member of a team. They do not have the experience that provides the desire to be part of a team. They are used to working alone and do not see the value of combined results. They become outsiders which can result in conflict.


Employees who are self-absorbed can usually not be a member of a team. They create conflict by not seeing the needs of others personally or professionally. These are the people who “stir the pot” in an organization and everyone knows who they are. They criticize anything and everything that does not focus on them. Nothing you do will change their attitude. If you feel you need their expertise they need to report directly to the leader with no interaction with others; better yet as independent contractors. Most likely the only way to resolve the conflict and tension they bring to an organization is to let them become self-employed.

How do you resolve these conflicts ?

Eliminate the FEAR. Do not sit behind closed doors and decide the future of the company. Do not keep financial information proprietary to the extent no one knows anything but you — what people imagine is always worse than what is real.

Do ask employees to assist in your success and expansion. Ask them what the Company does best and how that can be capitalized on. Ask them where they think the challenges lie and what the solution would be.

Train employees on financial information.

What does our product or service cost ? Sales price minus cost is Gross Profit. What does Gross Profit pay for?  What is Overhead?  Gross Profit minus Overhead is Net Profit. What does Net Profit pay for (reinvestment in resources, growth, profit-sharing, etc.)?

Knowing how to help the Company financially creates an appreciation for all the members working together for the “profit” of all.

RECOGNITION is really very simple but very, very important. Recognize everyone regularly for their individual work and their team efforts. We all know recognition and job satisfaction are the keys to happy employees. But it must be done for every employee in every position and relevent to their work performance.

Positive Memo’s; Announcements; Rewards big and little are the keys to a cohesive workforce.

Clearly COMMUNICATE the short-term and long terms goals and vision of the Organization. Easy to say and hard to do. I would always think I was “clear” but there are telltale signs if you are not. If you are not immediately getting the results desired you were not “clear”. Time for a do over. Ask the employees what they heard you say. Ask them for examples of what the result would look like. Give them examples of the desired result and give them a means of measuring it daily. Employees need to hear the vision over and over you can not just say it and think it has made it so —- Repeat —- Repeat — Repeat.

Also actions speak louder than words. Employees must see that the leader is making decisions based on the goals and objectives that have been set and in line with the Vision.

TEAM ATTITUDE can be trained. Start slow — team the employee with one other person for a specific assignment and hopefully let them experience a better result than they may have had on their own —- “two heads are better than one.”  As they get more comfortable include them in larger groups with broader goals.

Ideally in any Company the ultimate success is that each individual understands they are an integral part of the team as a whole and conflict is replaced with constructive problem solving with the best possible results.


Next post we will discuss the dreaded employee evaluation.