Published date: December 20, 2017
Last modified: December 20, 2017

Dealing effectively with workplace conflict


Workplace conflict has a huge impact on businesses and organisations, especially when they are under pressure.

If handled badly, it is expensive and casts a negative cloud over everyone involved, directly or indirectly. It poisons the atmosphere and distracts people from building and running a productive organisation.

In our experience, the more you rely on processes and structures to deal with conflict, the more you generate distrust and entrenched views. No one really wins – even if you ‘win’. We’re not of course talking about disciplinary processes related to poor performance or conduct issues. Most organisations will have policies and procedures to follow and advisers to help them.

Opposing views

Conflict is more often caused by a clash of interests or opinions and at such moments we have our own way of seeing a situation – our ‘angle’. It’s made all the more complex if one party is more senior than the other because then power and levels of authority may be involved. In many situations the members of a group will have different levels of expertise and it is quite possible that the person who is most expert might also be the most junior in hierarchical terms.

Published date: December 12, 2017
Last modified: December 12, 2017

You mean I’ve got to hand this over?

For some, delegating comes easily, maybe too easy.

For others who are perfectionists, letting go of even the most trivial task is almost impossible. If you are in this second category, you are probably familiar with the references behind your back that you are a “control freak” or a “micro-manager.”

London business school professor John Hunt highlights that only 30 percent of managers think they can delegate well, and of those, only one in three is considered a good delegator by their subordinates. Therefore, only about one manager in ten really understands how to empower others.

The challenge is delegating the right things. If you don’t get it right, you are busy, but working on the wrong items. Jan Yager, in her book “Work Less, Do More,” has outlined the following key steps to effective delegation:

Choose what tasks you are willing to delegate. You should be using your time on the most critical tasks and that only you can do. Delegate what you can’t do and is of no interest. For example, non-computer types should consider delegating their social media, website, and SEO activities.

Pick the best person to delegate to. Listen and observe. Learn the traits, values, and characteristics of those who will perform well when you delegate to them. Give the work to people who deliver and not the least busy. This means hiring people with the right skills, not the least expensive or friends and family.

Trust those to whom you delegate. Trust is crucial and along with it, you also have to give the people to whom you delegate the chance to do a job as they see fit. It must be done well, but your way or the highway is not the right way.

Give clear assignments and instructions. The key is striking the right balance between giving so much detail that the listener is insulted, and not explaining enough for someone to understand expectations. Remember when you were learning, when you were the “newbie”.

Set a definite task completion date and a follow-up system. Establish deadlines and milestones & be specific. This will allow you to monitor progress before the final deadline, without fuzzy questions like “How are you doing?”

Give public and written credit. This is the simplest but one of the hardest steps for many people to learn. It will inspire loyalty, give real satisfaction, and become the cornerstone for mentoring and performance reviews.

Delegate responsibility and authority, not just the task. Managers who do not delegate responsibility along with specific tasks, eventually find themselves reporting to their subordinates and doing the work, rather than vice versa.

Avoid reverse delegation. Some team members try to give a task back if they don’t feel comfortable or are attempting to dodge responsibility. Don’t accept it except in extreme cases. In the long run, every team member needs to learn or leave.

Almost everyone who has grown their startup, from a one-person band to a going concern with many employees, has struggled with letting go. On the other hand, executives who come from a large company to a startup tend to delegate too much, resulting in high costs and loss of control.

Finally, every entrepreneur needs to set aside their fear of delegating. If you do it right, every task will likely be done better than you could do it. The only thing you can’t delegate is “the buck stops here” role. Only the person in charge can do this, and it better always be you!

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Published date: December 6, 2017
Last modified: December 6, 2017

Change the way you manage change


Change of any kind causes stress for most people. This stress arises from fear of the unknown and operating outside our comfort zone.

You may have attended a workshop on change management and discussed ‘how do you make change stick?’ Outputs may have included that you have to stick at it, keep focus, get through the ‘muddle in the middle’ and it will come good in the end.

Anyone who has ever embarked on a learning journey will have experienced the ‘muddle in the middle’, similar to the Conscious Incompetence and Conscious Competence stages from Maslow’s learning model.

So, consider it from another angle. With organisational change, is it simply a learning journey undertaken by many and not just one? Should it be managed more like a learning journey and would better results be achieved quicker if so?

If you are planning a ‘change’ in your organisation, consider running it as a bespoke learning programme. The first rule will be to determine what you want your people to be doing differently as a result of the learning. What new skills do they need and what differences in behaviour is required? Then, you can begin to plan your change project.

Remember the words of Confucius in circa 450 BC; “Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand.”

Your change projects involve people, so get people involved. How many change management programmes forget this golden rule in the planning stage or even worse, plan in secret in case people find out about the change too early!

Have you ever been asked to attend a training course with no explanation as to why? It’s sadly not unusual and as a result, people are usually nervous and reserved at best and angry and disruptive at worst. People need to be communicated with and “involved“- that is how they learn!

Give your change project an identity, a name, a logo and market it with posters and pop up banners. Immerse your staff in the change programme and have a countdown/build up to lift off! Encourage dialogue rather than let rumours develop and it goes without saying that your key staff, your managers should lead by example!

There’s no need to get rid of your change management experts, just involve your colleagues in Learning & Development. You’ll be amazed what you learn. Read more at


Published date: December 1, 2017
Last modified: December 1, 2017

Isn’t performance management about driving relentlessly for results?

Isn’t performance management about driving relentlessly for results while engagement strives to humanise that and keep employees motivated?

It is true that engagement and performance can be seen as standalone programs, but if we take a moment to look at them together we can see how naturally good performance management can create engagement.

This research by award-winning talent management vendor Halogen Software and industry expert David Creelman,  CEO of Creelman Research, takes a closer look at performance management and describes five ways organisations  can implement a best-practice process that can drive higher employee engagement.

Creelman identifies five elements that are usually found in engagement measures and goes on to explore the relationship between these elements and the performance management process.

  1. CLARITY: Are you clear about goals?
  2. SUPPORT: Do you have the support you need to reach your objectives?
  3. FIT: Does your job match your skill set?
  4. FEEDBACK: Do you regularly get useful feedback?
  5. DEVELOPMENT: Are you given opportunities to develop?


The paper also highlights how two organisations, Howard Regional Health System and Campus Management Corporation, are using Halogen Software’s talent management solutions to improve their employee appraisal processes and build engagement.


See for more. Ref: CIPD People Management