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  • Benoit Hardy-Vallée

25 - On Communication, Conflict, and Compassion at work - A conversation with Liz Kislik

***We are very proud to announce that Abrupt Future was ranked no. 9 on that list of "Top Workforce Management Podcasts You Must Follow in 2021" by Feedspot***


In this episode, Benoit Hardy-Vallee talks to Liz Kislik. She is a management consultant, executive coach, author, and an expert in leadership, management, culture and so much more.

Approaching conflict meaningfully and dealing with conflict avoidance. The dynamic of conflict and conflict resolution in a remote environment. Advice on returning to the office. Compassion and surveillance.


“The fact that a team has no public disagreement does not mean that they are in good shape and happy and everything is perfect. It’s much more likely to mean that good ideas are being withheld and that there is some discomfort ranging from anxiety to full-on resentment present in the team that’s not being expressed as the leader.” - Liz Kislik




Listen on this blog, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Anchor and other platforms.


Key Points


  • The ability to deal with things that might be a little hard is really crucial to get our work done, get through the day, and actually feel good about what’s happening.

  • To get work done, we have to be able to talk about different views of the work, so much that we are coping with now requires a value-adding; taking into consideration many different kinds of opinions, particularly the ones that are not our own and coming to some kind of agreement.

  • Conflict is not dangerous and does not have to be harmful. It can lead to good outcomes if we work through it carefully, which might help deal with conflict avoidance because we avoid conflict as we don’t want to be the bad guy.

  • We don’t want to be perceived as treating other people badly. And often, we are afraid of challenging whoever is in power

  • Mirror neurons are largely triggered by visuals, but what happens when you are either on a phone call or a video conference? Is the digital medium changing the way we conflict with each other? You need to develop a good interviewing technique if you are the one who is responsible for the interaction.

  • If there are imbalances of power or knowledge or confidence inside a team, just sending two people away to work something out on their own is like when you send two siblings back to their room to work things out on their own and the bigger one just pounds the little one or the clever one makes a joke or comes up with a story and works things out that way. We all end up in the positions we usually end up in unless we take extra steps to work the conflict down.

  • With the Delta variant coming on so strong, leaders must be ready to make plans and to have their plans not work out. For a leader, it is distressing to look into a confusing future and not be sure for yourself, not be sure how to communicate to your team; then you have a dozen people, all twelve of them have different concerns and you are actually responsible for all of that.

  • When you feel love and compassion for other people, you are more open to taking them as they are and accept whatever their real circumstances are, and are more able to commit to shared responsibility.

  • During the pandemic, articles reported on software that would count keystrokes, that would know if a worker was at their workstation at home, etc.; these are very untrusting measuring schemes and they almost assume that someone will try to cheat. When you assume so, people will cheat. When you trust people, the majority of them will be trustworthy.


Resources Mentioned:


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