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Handling Difficult Conversations Without Creating Conflict – Interview With Marie Coombes
Episode 2016th June 2021 • Soul Led Leaders With Clare Josa • Clare Josa
00:00:00 00:36:18

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Want to know how to handle difficult conversations, when you're not in a room together? Or how to communicate your return-to-the-office policies without triggering people job-hunting? Or how to prevent the conflict that's looming for two of the hottest - and most-ignored - topics that are facing offices? In today's Lockdown Leadership Conference interview with award-winning mediator, Marie Coombes, we're talking about:

Creating Change Without Conflict And Handling Difficult Conversations To

Deepen Connections

What We'll Cover In This Interview:

  • What are difficult conversations?
  • What's the current big topic that workplaces are avoiding, and how will that trigger problems?
  • How can virtual leaders manage those who want to stay home-working vs those who want to come back full time?
  • Strategies for communicating properly to avoid conflict
  • Managing upwards – raising difficult topics with your manager
  • What's the next big topic that we need to proactively handle, to avoid creating a two-tier workforce?

Show notes and additional resources: www.clarejosa.com/soulledleaders/20/

Transcripts

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So good morning, everybody.

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Thank you so much for joining us.

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I'm thrilled to be able to talk with Marie Coombes today.

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She's an award winning mediator trainer.

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She's also a mental health first aid, a trainer.

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And she specialises in helping people to have the conversations that we've

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convinced ourselves a difficult in ways to prevent conflict, to facilitate deeper

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connexion and to restore that sense of calm.

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So welcome, Marie.

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It's wonderful to have you join us.

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Hello. .

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Absolutely fantastic to be here.

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You know, I love talking to you.

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And Marie, one thing that I've never asked you that I'd love to start with today is

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how on earth did you end up as a mediator trainer

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by accident?

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Pretty much before I opened up my company, I worked for Royal Mail for 17 years.

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And I was in a really, really low key

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position back in 2014 where they were setting up an in-house mediation session.

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And I kind of like the idea of of mediation.

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You know, it kind of fitted with my mentality and helping people

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pull through sort of difficult situations, left it right until the very last minute

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to apply applied along with 700 other people, 10 jobs.

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And I got one of them. And I have never looked back.

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It was the best decision I ever made. That's fantastic.

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I had no idea about that, Marie.

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And one of the things everybody listening and watching I love about Marie

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is that Marie is very grounded and down to earth and practical.

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So where the conversation, you know, the topic of difficult conversations can get

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quite esoteric and quite left brained and quite model based.

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When you work with Marie, you just feel safe.

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Yeah.

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You just know there's not going to be any drama and I just feel held.

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Yeah.

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I've never had to work with you as a mediator, which in some ways is fortunate.

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But just just the conversations that we've had, you just feel safe to be able to open

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up and be you, which is a real gift, Marie, that you share with the world.

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Absolutely.

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And it's at the heart of everything I do as well.

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I am on a mission to make people feel safe.

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Thank you. So, Marie, I'd like to start

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with what is your definition of what are difficult conversations?

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It's it's anything that invokes the for the Fight-flight-freeze or for response.

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And it's those conversations we avoid that

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we think that we're going to get in an argument with

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anything that we have fear of, you know, fear of the consequences of speaking up.

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Power struggles are a big thing as well.

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Obviously, talking to your manager or

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feeling that somebody else has has more power than you.

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It doesn't even necessarily to be a manager subordinate relationship issues if

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you perceive that they have more power than you.

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So it's pretty much anything that invokes

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those photographs and automatically triggers that response in your brain.

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This is going to be difficult.

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OK, so the kind of thing I'd expect people to be seeing that.

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And you can tell me if you see this is is

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something I talk a lot about with clients called the Flinch factor.

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Where you think about the conversation is something tightens in your body

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is that could be really useful. Early warning sign.

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If you're thinking about that conversation, you kind of go, oh, in your

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body is like, OK, this is where I need to go and listen to what Marie has to say.

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Thank you.

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Now, I know you said just when we were

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chatting before we got on life interview, there's some research that you've been

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reading about that absolutely blew my mind.

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Yeah. So there was a study done by 18 months ago

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now where they were investigating why why people avoid the conversation.

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Out of that study, 80 percent of people

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were avoiding difficult conversations, which didn't surprise me in the slightest.

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What did surprise me was some of the other

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figures, one in 10, delay that conversation for at least a year

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and a further one in 10 delay it for at least two years,

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which that is a terrifying statistic because those people that are delaying

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those conversations are stuck in that forever.

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So they are stuck in that situation.

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Every time they see that person, every time they have to have an interaction with

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that person, it immediately triggers one of those photographs again, because they

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know that they're avoiding that conversation.

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Absolutely. And that really is shocking.

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I mean, yeah, it also kind of doesn't

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surprise me because we do put those conversations off.

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We convince ourselves how horrible it's

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going to be and we turn it into a really big thing.

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And I know that also with your background

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as a mental health first aid, a trainer, you must see a direct link between people

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putting off those conversations and mental health.

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Absolutely. It's a cause and effect relationship.

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If you already have a mental health condition remaining in that place, where

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you're avoiding those conversations will make it worse.

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And if you don't have a condition that increases our stress, responses and stress

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over time can develop into a mental health condition.

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So, you know, tackling early, regardless of the fact that.

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It may give you some short term

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difficulties in the long term is going to be a benefit to everybody.

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Absolutely. And the increase in anxiety that we get

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from being in that Fight-flight-freeze response with the Sympathetic nervous

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system triggered the whole time can have a knock on impact.

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So many other areas in our lives and

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relationships that have nothing to do with the past.

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And that that difficult conversation is with. So Marie,

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we're looking at #makinghybridwork and

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going back into the office potentially or potentially less.

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What are the kind of topics that you're seeing coming up at the moment that people

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are potentially avoiding having difficult conversations over?

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So the big thing during covid has been

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that conversation remotely, we were talking just before about the tone of

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emails, that's probably been one of the biggest issues I've seen in a lot of the

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conversations I've seen is everybody relying on email a lot more.

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And we never know the tone that that email

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should be coming across on because we're not sat there having the conversation.

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So you receive an email.

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If it's from somebody that you're avoiding

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a difficult conversation with, you're already a lot higher in terms of your

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reaction than you would be if you told me face to face.

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And it's it's very much about reading those emails, reading that written

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communication and not really understanding where it's coming from.

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And that's triggering a lot of

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a lot of difficulties between people at the moment.

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The other kind of things, I mean,

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communication in general has always been a big issue in mediation

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because it's the first thing to go when people have an issue with each other,

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whatever that issue might be, perception gaps, those gaps in perception

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between what one person thinks and what somebody else thinks is a recurring theme.

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I always talk about three truths that your

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truth, the truth and the truth and conflict is never about the truth.

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It's always about understanding each other's truths.

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So that's another big issue.

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The ones I'm starting to see come through now.

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Menopause.

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We have an ageing workforce.

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There's a lot more women in that menopausal area in the workplace.

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And if you're a man, you might be sat there thinking, oh, God, not you.

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That doesn't affect me, but it does if you manage somebody who is going through that.

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So that's going to be a bigger ticket

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issue over the next sort of three or four years, along with

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mental health being an increasing issue as well.

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We've only just touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of mental health at the

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moment and those people returning from furlough as well.

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That's I'm starting to see that being an issue because there's resentment between

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those of Hybrid working thinking that those sorts of home have been a home for

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the last 18 months when actually they've sat at home, have wanted to be at work.

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So there's resentment in the other direction as well.

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So they're kind of the big things I'm seeing at the moment.

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And there's other things

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that I can see on the horizon which are really going to cause issues as well.

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But we'll talk about that in a minute.

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So one of the things that I'm definitely

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seeing with my clients is what you've just said about fellow returners

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is we need to be having conversations to rebuild those teams.

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You can't just bring people who've been

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furloughed back into the office or remote working and expect them to feel included.

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Yeah, Imposter Syndrome rates, for

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example, amongst furloughed workers are skyrocketing because they've been out of

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the organisation for potentially a year or more.

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They feel that everybody else has moved ahead.

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What I know.

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What if they realise I'm no longer good enough at my job?

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Similarly, we've got the people who've

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been on their knees potentially working 14 hours a day with the perception that the

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people who've been furloughed have been sat at home on holiday, whereas actually,

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as you say, they might have been stuck in a tiny flat with no God.

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We're going stir crazy wanting to be back in the office.

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So when we're looking at things like this, how to communicate, how to rebuild teams,

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to avoid conflict, to prevent resentment, what is your advice on that?

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Communicate properly, to be able to avoid

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that conflict and to be able to rebuild those teams.

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So for me, it's twofold.

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One is the psychological side and one is the communication side.

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So in terms of the psychology, it's about

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understanding that we all have a desire to be psychologically safe

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and the kind of tenants and psychological safety security, having a stable job,

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having a stable situation, having controls autonomy is a big thing as well.

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Being able to control your environment,

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being able to control what happens to you and fairness.

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That's a huge thing in terms of psychological safety of people do not feel

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they are being treated fairly or if they feel that others around them are not being

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treated fairly as well, that can have a major impact on all psychological safety.

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And what that does is it triggers the a

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response in terms of the communication side of things.

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Never, ever have a conversation.

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And the information

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always sort of say, you know what, we're

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not going anywhere with this conversation and that's going to take five minutes.

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I'll go grab a cup of tea and then we'll come back and start again.

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Never, ever feel like you have to force a

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conversation like having the proper communication, great trust and rapport.

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It builds that connexion.

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Having a proper, empathic conversation builds connexion.

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So it's very much about finding the right time to have a conversation as well.

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Don't try and have a conversation five minutes away from a meeting.

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Find the right time to have that conversation where you can be in a safe

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environment, where you can be in a productive environment, and also

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confidentiality is a huge thing about communication.

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If you're talking about difficult things,

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you need to know that you are in a confidential environment as well.

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It's also about listening to people, not listening to respond.

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How many times have we been stuck in a conflict situation?

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And we've been sitting there thinking, oh, God, how am I going to respond to this?

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Instead of actually listening to what's happening, listening to what's being said,

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so it's about an active listening, actively engaging in the conversation,

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and the final thing for me is about self-awareness.

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So it is very much about understanding yourself.

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And one thing that I talk about a lot, both is mental health, first aid and also

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as a human being is our frame of reference.

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We all come from a frame of reference.

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We all come from a set of beliefs, values,

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upbringing, childhood, all those kind of things that make us who we are.

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And being aware of our reaction are triggers to things can have a big part of

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having a productive conversation with somebody as well.

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That's really, really important stuff if you see the frame, that frame of

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reference, that self-awareness is understanding potentially what we are

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projecting onto the conversation, taking that out so we can really listen to hear

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and it's being able to listen, to hear without getting defensive, isn't it?

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Because it's not really about us.

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If somebody got pain inside, it probably isn't us.

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Yeah.

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So taking it personally, I can imagine, would actually increase the conflict.

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And it's having that maturity and

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self-awareness, as you describe it, to be able to to say this isn't about me,

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I'm getting me out of the way and I'm open to that being a solution to this.

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Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

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The first thing I do when I'm a mediator is I put my mediator persona on.

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And part of that is this isn't about me.

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This is about the two people in the room.

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This is very much about helping them rebuild.

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Their communication is never about you.

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It is always about somebody talking from a

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position of what they need, their underlying needs.

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And part of that is psychological safety. Absolutely.

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And if we look at, you know, most of us have heard of Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs,

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there's a reason why safety and security is at the bottom of that pyramid because

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it is the foundation for all of our other experiences in life.

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We've got a great one here in the comments.

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Judith Glaser's work on conversational

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intelligence is a great read and complements what Marie's just mentioned.

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Listening to Connect.

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And I know you and I both talked about

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Marshall Rosenberg Non-Violent Communication.

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It's what you were just saying here is

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it's about that the conflict comes because we don't understand each other's needs.

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And I'm guessing a lot of the times that

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I've seen in my client what we don't actually know what our needs are, so we're

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not articulating them in a way that allows other people to meet them.

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And the job of you as a mediator or if you're training people in an organisation

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to be able to facilitate those conversations, is to help people really

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see those unmet needs that have been creating the perception of conflict.

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Yeah, absolutely.

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Yeah, absolutely.

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One of the one of the key things I do is I speak individually with people and we

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work through from the story, which is usually 20 minutes of what I like

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to call verbal diarrhoea, which is where everything just comes out.

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And as a mediator, I'm trained to spot the unmet needs.

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And then we talk through those to the point where the story that somebody comes

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in with is very, very different from what they are taking out of that meeting, into

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the joint meeting of a mediation, very, very different.

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You say this is such an important thing to be doing.

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And obviously I know most of us aren't qualified to be doing it the way you do.

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But if somebody is in a management position and they don't have the benefit

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of maritime first, then I guess for them they could still

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there would be huge benefit in them talking to both parties individually

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rather than just bringing them like two fighting dogs into the arena.

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And as you say, is that that vomit of I need my story to be heard.

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Nobody's listen to me unconditionally on this before I need to get it out, because

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until somebody has been heard, they're not going to let go of the story.

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Then, as you say, being able to understand

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what are the needs that meant the story was created and is being fed.

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And then that's the point at which you mediate from and when you've heard the

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story without engaging in the drama of it, then the person feels they've been heard

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and they can let go of some of the emotional attachment if I guess then

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the mediation or the discussion is much more likely to be successful, Marie.

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Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.

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But the joint meeting always starts with something called uninterrupted speaking

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time, which is an opportunity to speak and be heard, because, as I say, we're always

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listening to respond rather than listening to hear.

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So people are effectively in the nicest possible way forced to listen.

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Yeah, that is a real golden moment in a

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mediation because you do you see that realisation?

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Oh, my God, I didn't realise. I don't know.

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Yeah, I often. Absolutely.

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And if you're leading that discussion,

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whether it's somebody like you, Maria, or whether it's a line manager or somebody in

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an H.R. team, what's really important, I guess, is to

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make sure that when somebody has that realisation, it doesn't then cause them to

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shut down with the guilt and the shame of I can't believe I did that.

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Therefore, I'm an awful person.

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Yeah, absolutely.

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Yeah, it's happened.

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We're going to deal with it.

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You move on. Absolutely.

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Absolutely. So one of the big challenges I'm hearing

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from my audience and from my clients is having those conversations.

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Output's Yeah.

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Is being able to raise difficult conversations with your line manager, your

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direct your managing partner or even the CEO.

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And I was working with a client just

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yesterday where her difficult conversation to say no to meetings.

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Yeah, she's just been promoted into a global role.

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She now has seven hours a day of back to

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back meetings, wakes up first thing in the morning.

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The first thing she thinks is what work will I get done tonight?

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Yeah.

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Yeah, this kind of thing is becoming increasingly common.

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Leading to mental health issues and burnout, productivity issues, performance

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issues, team problems, absenteeism, what would your advice be for those of us

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who need to raise that difficult topic with our line manager, where there might

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not be somebody there to facilitate to have that courage to be able to have that

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conversation and not be the statistic that's put it off for two years and then

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leaves the company because they didn't want to raise the conversation.

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Yeah, absolutely.

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So my first thing would be tackle it early.

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Something will only get bigger if it's not talked about.

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So regardless of whether it's upwards,

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downwards, left or right, tackle it early, don't allow it to fester, because that's

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when a difficult conversation becomes an impossible conversation.

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And all of a sudden, it's two years later,

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there's something within the complex

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splits, vehicle conflict styles and sometimes understanding what your style of

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dealing with conflict is can support how you have that conversation.

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So I will say conflict probably not like this conflict is inevitable.

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It's whether it's constructive or destructive.

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That is the key point here.

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OK, the reason why we talk about constructive and destructive conflict is

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because we all come from that frame of reference.

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So it's about how we react, not

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necessarily what the actual issue is, that's quite

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often the difference between constructive and destructive conflict.

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So having an understanding of that or the person's conflict style, whether they are

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a shark, which is kind of like the fight response, whether they're a teddy bear,

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which is the fawning response or whether they're a collaborator, that can help you

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prepare for that conversation and prepare your style to match their style.

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OK, because what you're doing then is you're appealing to that underlying needs.

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It is about understanding their needs and goals as well.

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So what is their life like?

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What is their work life like?

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Is what you're going to talk to them about

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going to make things more difficult or more easy, understanding how that's going

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to impact on their needs and goals and then

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understanding then how they may react to it.

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And it is about respect and empathy as well.

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Brene Brown talks about empathy, building connexion.

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And it's also one of those where an

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empathic conversation is never one that starts with at least.

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So it's all about having the right level

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of empathy and having respect for each other's time as well.

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I mentioned earlier on about picking the right time to have a conversation.

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It's exactly the same.

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Managing opposite is managing down to a certain extent.

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It's picking the right time and then being

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mindful of each other's time because we're all busy.

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Every single one of us is busy.

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But what we can do by having the

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conversation early is we can save a bigger amount of time later on.

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So it's that short term pain for long term gain.

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This is brilliant.

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And I love that whole thing about the two types of conflict and how actually it's

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about how we experience and process it rather than the actual topic.

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I'd love to hear from those of you who are alive with this chat.

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What are your thoughts on that, on those

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two types of conflict and the role that we play in it?

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And Marie, building on something that you

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said earlier about that kind of 20 minutes of vomit, but

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getting it out there that people need to have that verbal diarrhoea.

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What would you I mean, I'm thinking and I could be wrong.

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I'm not media trainer, but I'm wondering

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if you need to have that difficult conversation with your boss, whether it's

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worth finding somebody who's a trusted friend that you could have that verbal

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diarrhoea with before you go into the meeting with the boss.

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So when you go into the meeting with the boss, you've got the emotions out of it.

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What would your thoughts be on that?

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I personally would would probably recommend that.

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I mean, I'm a big one for having mentors.

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I'm a big one for having somebody is there as a coaching relationship.

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So definitely that if I had to have a

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difficult conversation, I would always and I've still got a mentor now.

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I would always go to my mentor first and say, look, this is what I'm dealing with.

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I'm not quite sure how to deal with it.

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This is this is everything that is going on.

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And then we would have that conversation so I can distil down.

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To be fair, I naturally distil now and

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naturally go for my unmet need first because I recognise it straight away.

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But obviously if you if you're not trained in that skill, you will probably need

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somebody to help you having that conversation, taking time to plan the

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conversation and that will be part of that plan.

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And that's brilliant.

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And what you're saying about, you know, you've got the stage where you can now

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just say, oh, is this need that's creating that particular story?

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You know, I talk about Mind-story drama how so much the pain we experience is

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actually the what you feel that we're doing in our heads.

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And most of us don't even realise we're doing that and that it becomes our truth.

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Yeah, it is that drama story.

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But what if he does this or she says that

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suddenly we forget that was just an imagination?

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Yeah, I remember a situation once where I

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had a dream that my husband had behaved very unreasonable.

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And I woke up that morning and I was really cross with him for about two hours.

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And I couldn't shift the whole thing

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because the mind-story drama in the dream had been so real.

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I'd created the neural pathways that my

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brain forgot because there was such emotion with it.

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My brain forgot it had never actually happened.

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Yeah, so I really think, yeah, having this coach, this mentor figure,

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somebody you trust who isn't going to sit there and wind you up because we get

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physiologically addicted at a cellular level to the adrenaline and the court is

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all those stress hormones created by the mind-story drama.

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So do not have your pre-chat with somebody

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who's just going to help you to ease your way back up.

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It needs to be somebody who can do the unconditional listening.

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But I guess we don't.

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It's the individual also need to be open

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to letting go of the mind-story drama if we actually want to to ease that conflict.

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Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

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Because we cannot have those difficult

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conversations if we are personally stuck in that drama.

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It's like I said earlier, I'll never have

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a conversation, a difficult conversation in the height of emotion.

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Just take five minutes out to just go and

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censor yourself and then come back and start again.

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Absolutely. And definitely I love your advice, but

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don't have it five minutes before you walk into a big meeting.

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You have people that do, though.

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I'm just saying that with it. Yeah.

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And also, I think it's fair to to brief

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the person that actually I do want to talk to you about this topic, and I've been

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finding it quite difficult because the last thing you want is them thinking that

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you're just doing a catch up date and then suddenly to be splattered

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with a set of needs that they've got no idea even existed.

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Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.

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It's about making time, making time.

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And and us being the adults in that situation is owning our reaction

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to the situation and being genuinely open to that being an amicable solution rather

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than somebody needing to win and somebody else needing to lose.

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And that can be quite hard if the person's behaviour has been quite unacceptable.

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Yeah, yeah, definitely.

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I mean, one of the things I always

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encourage in those mediation style conversations, whether I do it one on one

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or whether I do it in a group setting, is speak from the I.

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Use I statements, I feel like this.

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I take ownership because that's one of the

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things we don't do in conflict, we immediately go to that blame place.

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We immediately try to blame somebody else.

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And it's not a it's not an issue in the sense of, you know, we all do it.

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It's just the way we naturally sort of gravitate to.

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But it's about taking ownership of all them for what's going on.

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Absolutely.

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So we got some great comments here, it's

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like, yep, I recommend clients to practise, not to have a script, but to

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deal with the emotion before having the conversation for real.

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Absolutely.

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Might even practise it a few times.

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I write down the topics I want to talk to, talk through and keep those topics.

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And it's so important for us to

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to be able to be in that space where we say we move away from the blame.

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Yeah, that famous Eleanor Roosevelt quote,

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If nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent, it's a real rotten

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tomatoes moment for the word inferior, for whatever the emotion is we're feeling.

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Unfortunately, it's actually true.

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And if we're in a conflict situation, the

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other person might not even realise they're in a conflict situation.

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They might be blissfully unaware of the

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story and the pain that's going on inside for us.

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And we need to make sure we don't speak from the pain.

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We speak from that grounded sense of I'm taking responsibility for how I feel in

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this, but I do need you to understand my needs.

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Yeah, definitely. And it's funny you should say that,

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because the amount of mediations I've done where one person has this 20 minutes of

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everything and the other person's "I don't know why I'm here".

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I've lost count of how many times that has happened.

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And then by the time we get to the joint meetings,

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it's like, "Ahh!"It's surreal, isn't it?

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And we can really find ourselves up about

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other people's behaviour without them having any idea whatsoever.

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And it doesn't mean it's OK.

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But we're all having a different experience at the same practical scenario.

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Absolutely. That frame of reference.

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Absolutely. So that's been really great advice.

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Anyway, so the next big topic, this is

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something you and I discussed the other day, that you see that we need to actually

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start having open conversations about now in the workplace.

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I'd love to hear from you on that. Yeah.

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So the big ones that are coming through at the moment, there's two in particular.

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It's that return to work, the hybrid working.

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And the biggest thing that's going to

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cause conflict there is having those conversations.

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So one of the tenets of Psychological safety is fairness.

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So if you're having conversations with people about Hybrid working is about

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making sure those conversations are fair to everybody and understanding that some

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people are going to have greater needs and others.

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So some people are still shielding, some people still classed as vulnerable.

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They're not going to want to be in the

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workplace, but they're also not going to want to be excluded or facing 20 questions

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as to why they're working from home five days a week, whereas everybody else has to

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be in three days a week or whatever, so that Hybrid working has the real potential

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to generate a lot of destructive conflict, a lot of destructive conflicts.

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The other one, and I think this is going

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to be even bigger, is the vaccine versus no vaccine conversation.

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Now, I'm not going to get into to the merits of which ones.

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Right. In which one went wrong.

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The key issue here is that some people out

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there do not have a choice in terms of not being able to have the vaccination.

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So I have family members.

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I know Claire, we talked about this the

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other day, but can't have it for medical reasons.

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It's going to cause bigger problems than

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actually having probably covered would do so.

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So in those situations, it's about having

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the empathy for those people and understanding that everybody makes a

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decision as to as to why they're living their life the way they are.

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We all should take responsibility for that

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decision, but it's appreciating that not everybody can make that decision.

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Some people have no choice. Absolutely.

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And I'm definitely seeing this as

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something that's going to come up as a hot topic.

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I'm totally with you on this summary is

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because there's been so much fear built up, particularly on social media and in

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the mainstream media, about vaccinated versus unvaccinated.

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It becomes such an immensely emotionally charged topic.

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And because it's coming from that place of

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fear, it's already triggered the Fight-flight-freeze-fawn mechanism.

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And I've already started hearing conversations of I won't be in an office

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with somebody who's unvaccinated because they might kill me.

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And I think we need as managers, as leaders to actually be managing that

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discussion now, saying, actually, here are the facts.

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Here's what we're doing to keep everybody safe.

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If you've been vaccinated, here's the stats on how safe you are.

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And actually, you know what, right.

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Does anybody have to know somebody else's medical history in the workplace?

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We need to be having I don't have the answers.

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Like you don't have the answers, but it needs to be something that's

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discussed in an organisation rather than imposed.

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And it's something that people need to feel safe talking about because there will

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be so much fear built up around the story that's in their head, because people have

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been through massive fear in the last fifteen months.

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If this gets projected into a workplace, you can imagine everybody.

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You can imagine how destructive that will be

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suppressed in a workplace.

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You can imagine how somebody who, for

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whatever reason, has not been vaccinated is going to end up being ostracised or

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bullied or harassed or excluded or forced to work from home when actually.

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They are desperate to be back in the office because they hate having to sit on

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their bed to work with their dressing gown in the background.

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Yeah, so there is no right and wrong on this.

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And it's really important for us to be having those challenging, courageous

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conversations now so that people feel safe.

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It's that psychological security again, isn't it, Marie?

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It absolutely is. I mean, right.

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The bottom line is it's the word safe that

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we have to feel safe before we can move off that hierarchy of needs.

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And that's that's one of the essential tenets of Islam.

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And the last 18 months, we haven't been safe.

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I don't think any one of us has felt safe for the last 18 months.

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We turn into the workplace. I'm very lucky.

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I work from home, full stop. I'm self-employed.

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I don't have to go into an office and work with people.

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But I have clients are expecting me to go into the workplace and I'm having to ask

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for risk assessments and make sure that everything is the same as the health and

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the normal health and safety in the workplace is important.

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This forms part of that for me.

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So it's about making sure I am safe and

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everybody needs to take responsibility for their own safety.

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But at the same time, organisations need

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to, as part of the psychological contract, as part of the Health and Safety at Work

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Act is part of all these are the things that underpin is making sure that people

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are safe at work and covid falls under that.

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Absolutely.

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And there are two levels to that safety aren't there, Marie. You've got the.

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Yeah, we've done the risk assessment.

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Here's the written document, if I will say that Psychological safety.

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And now we're going to discuss it.

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We're not just going to email that document round.

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We're actually going to talk about it, why

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it's got what it has in it and how how if somebody got concerns, how they can easily

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raise those without feeling judged, which I decide on whichever fence they are.

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Yeah.

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So, Marie, before we wrap up, I just want to hear from the group with us live.

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If you've got anything else that you'd like to ask Marie or anything that's been

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a light bulb for you today in this session, let me know via the chat.

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Emori, how can people get in touch with you?

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Because you and I have talked about how sometimes we think mediation doesn't

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happen until you hit, like, serious kind of court level conflict.

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And actually, the best time to bring you

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in is so much earlier in the process. How does that work for an organisation?

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So there's still several ways to contact me.

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I have my website and my my details and my

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QR codes there as well, which will direct you to sort of getting in touch with me.

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But I'm one of those I I'm very much about.

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Prevention is better than cure.

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Understanding how to

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not avoid conflict because it's a conflict is inevitable, but how to make it

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constructive because constructive conflict, it drives innovation.

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It drives creativity.

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It drives engagement because people are allowed to speak and be heard as well.

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So it is very, very much about

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encouraging people to speak up, but creating the environment.

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And that's the biggest thing that I can help organisations do, is create help them

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create that environment for constructive conflict, for constructive dialogue, for

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making sure that everybody feels heard and supported.

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But I am also there when things do go wrong and that extra level of support as

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well as on the whole process, that that's fantastic.

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We've got some lovely feedback by the comments from those who've been here live.

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Going to read more about conflict styles, apps.

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Love listening to you, Marie, on such an

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interesting topic of conflict and difficult conversations.

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I'm going to think about how it might be useful to help people increase their self

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awareness and help more constructive conversations.

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So Marie, people can find you over on LinkedIn.

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They can find you a wee WeRestoreCalm.com.

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And also you do offer half hour

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consultations to organisations as well, don't you?

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Oh, yeah. Yeah.

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So get in touch with Marie if you think

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this is something that your organisation needs to learn from or that your managers

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might benefit from some training in this, which right now, given the level of

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difficult conversations we're all going to be having, is essential because simply

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imposing decisions on people is the best way to make sure they leave.

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Then please do get in touch with Marie and Marie.

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If you could just wrap up by sharing that one thing that maybe you wish you'd known

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back at the very beginning of your career before you started out as a mediator on

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how to have these conversations, what would it be?

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It's not personal.

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That's probably the biggest thing, because the amount of times I didn't speak up for

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fear of thinking that it was going to be a personal attack on somebody else or

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reacting in such a way when somebody brought up something with me, I'm one of

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those that in the past, if somebody criticised me for something, whether it

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was done correctly or incorrectly, I always went straight to the defensive.

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And now I appreciate is very much about it's not personal.

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It's just about getting stuff out there,

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getting stuff in the open and being able to move on constructively.

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I think that is possibly one of the best

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bits of advice for life if it's not personal.

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It's such brilliant advice.

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Marie, thank you so much.

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It's been wonderful talking to you today.

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Thank you so much for taking the time.

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And everyone, you can find Marie and find

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out more about her work at WeRestoreCalm.com.

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