• Sarah E. Brown

Why am I Reacting this Way with Charmaine Hammond


Have you been experiencing conflict within your team? Do you want to avoid unnecessary conflict? Do you want to turn that wasted time with conflict into productive time instead?


Conflict happens and it’s normal, but not facing it and prolonging the problem is bad and should be avoided. The time wasted with conflict could be turned into productive time that could furthermore strengthen relationships and build a better and strong foundation for your business.


Charmaine Hammond works with organizations and teams who want to effectively resolve conflict, build resilient teams, and work better together. She is a Certified Professional Speaker, Certified Virtual Presenter, and her business Hammond International Inc. is WBE Canada Certified (Supplier Diversity).


In this episode, Charmaine talks about the cons of prolonging the conflict, and how you can face and fix unnecessary conflicts. She also shares some tips and tricks on how to approach conflict without assuming.


What you will learn from this episode:

  • Learn how to avoid unnecessary conflict within your team

  • Know more on how to handle and face conflict before it becomes a bigger problem

  • Discover why conflicts are a waste of time and progress


We make so many assumptions in conflict, and the large majority of them are wrong. We assign meaning to what somebody’s nonverbal really meant, and it's usually wrong, and we assign meaning to how we're reacting.
- Charmaine Hammond


Valuable Free Resource:


Charmaine’s Teams Working Better Together Ebook! Visit: Working Better Together: https://charmainehammond.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/resources/CH-TeamsWorkingBetterTogether-DesktopGuide.pdf


Topics Covered:


02:00 - Challenge is the time conflict resolution takes up, specifically in an organization or in the workplace


03:08 - Taking too much time or waiting too long thus making it harder to come up with a solution, and involves more people: a common mistake business leaders face when it comes to answering conflict


04:44 - One free and actionable tip you can do to overcome and face conflict: After you've identified that issue, and you sort of commit to, "I need to deal with this effectively and soon", a great actionable tip is to practice.


07:51 - One valuable free resource to learn more about conflict resolution: Charmaine’s Teams Working Better Together Ebook! Visit: Working Better Together: https://charmainehammond.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/resources/CH-TeamsWorkingBetterTogether-DesktopGuide.pdf



08:59 - Q: Why am I reacting this way? Why is what someone just said causing me frustration or defensiveness or drama or fear, whatever that emotion is? A: For us to ask ourselves that question in our head.



Key Takeaways:


“When you can deal with it quicker and effectively, of course, but quicker, it allows less opportunity for conflict to take on many different faces in the workplace so that leaders can actually spend their time leading, and not necessarily having to navigate through all the people issues.” - Charmaine Hammond


“If you can think about why am I reacting this way, pause, take a breath, and then clarify the assumption with the person by asking an open-ended question that starts with who, what, where, when, why, or how. What that does is it shifts the conversation from being, I'm gonna use the word 'positional' or where you feel like you have to be defending yourself to more of an exploration or an open conversation.” - Charmaine Hammond



Ways to Connect with Charmaine Hammond:



Ways to Connect with Sarah E. Brown



Full Episode Transcript:


Sarah E. Brown 0:53

My guest today is Charmaine Hammond. She works with organizations and teams who want to effectively resolve conflict, build resilient teams, and generally work better together. Charmaine is an expert in conflict resolution, collaboration, resilience, and just plain working better together.


You can bring the power of change to your next corporate event, training program, or conference by booking Charmaine as a speaker. Charmaine is a Certified Professional Speaker and, get this, a Certified Virtual Presenter, and her business Hammond International is WBE Canada Certified and that's women business enterprises, right?


Charmaine Hammond 1:46

Yes.


Sarah E. Brown 1:47

Welcome, Charmaine. It's great to have you.


Charmaine Hammond 2:01

Thank you. I'm really looking forward to this conversation today.


Sarah E. Brown 2:06

Well, conflict is a big topic. And I'm very happy to have a conversation on this and get different points of view. So Charmaine, what is the biggest challenge you help female leaders face in business today, and what might be the symptoms of that challenge?


Charmaine Hammond 2:09

One of the challenges that I see female leaders having around conflict resolution is first of all the time that it can take up in an organization. When I speak and train on conflict resolution, I asked the audience, "How many of you have taken more than a four-hour course specifically about conflict?"


And very few people put up their hands. Although when I asked them the next question, "How much of your day or week are you as a leader spending, dealing with conflict, worrying about conflict, coaching others through it?"


The quotes I get are more than 60% of their day. And so I help leaders work with conflict differently. Help them become more confident, more skilled so that they're spending less time worrying, spending less time dealing with it, and empowering employees to actually build these skills as well themselves.


Sarah E. Brown 3:08

Wow. And so- I bet I can guess based on your answer, but what do you see is the biggest mistake your clients make before working with you?


Charmaine Hammond 3:17

One of the mistakes that I see a lot is people wait too long. And there's a great quote, I'm gonna share, I cannot take credit for this, but this is a quote by Judge Este. I don't know who the Judge Este is. Judge Este says, "Conflict is not like wine, it doesn't get better with age." So often when I get calls from leaders, from human resource professionals, from even workplace safety professionals, and it has to do with, "Help. I need some help around how I lead people through conflict." Or "My team needs help". There has been so much time that has gone by, which means that issues are so much more complicated.


They probably involve far more people than the conflict originally involved, which means it's harder to get a workable solution. And what's also happened is there's a lot more drama that has built up so leaders might be more anxious about this, staff have sort of built their camps within the organization.


So when you can deal with it quicker and effectively, of course, but quicker, it allows less opportunity for conflict to take on many different faces in the workplace so that leaders can actually spend their time leading, and not necessarily having to navigate through all the people issues.


Sarah E. Brown 4:35

Terrific. So what's the number one free and actionable tip you can give my audience to begin to address this challenge now?


Charmaine Hammond 4:50

I would say the number one thing is- so after you've identified that issue, and you sort of commit to, "I need to deal with this effectively and soon", a great actionable tip is to practice. One of the things that I see all the time and when I was a mediator, I saw this all the time. I was mediating in the corporate world, in government disputes and community disputes, even family disputes and the one challenge I saw is people would, and I'm doing sort of air quotes and I know we can't see that on a podcast but I'm air quoting "wing it".


People want to just "wing it" for the most important conversations. The most important conversations that could be a make it or break it in a relationship. The actual tip is prepare and if I go one step deeper, I'm going to share an exercise that I taught an inmate when I was a correctional officer.


That was my first career- how I got interested in learning about conflict resolution. But he had to have a conversation with one of the leaders in the Correctional Center that I was working at, and he struggled with things like politeness and appropriateness. And I worked with him on a script, so that he could prepare himself. And if this conversation went sideways or got uncomfortable, or he felt, you know, that his emotions were rising, he could keep control and maintain his credibility.


So we had him write down the most important points that he wanted to share, in this meeting he would be having with one of the leaders of the unit, and then we challenged him to actually go into the washroom where they had mirrors. They weren't glass, but they were- he could see himself. And so he practiced, and we challenged him to practice what he wanted to say 10 times.


And the difference in that conversation that he had in real life the following day, versus every other conversation I had witnessed was like night and day. He was more calm. He was confident. He wasn't accusatory. He wasn't judgmental. He wasn't reading things into what was being said, you know, the undertones in a conversation.


And it actually, I think, was empowering for him because he saw that he didn't need to be abusive to get a conversation going and a conflict resolved. So fast forward, I remembered that tip that I learned from that experience.


And in the work that I do with women leaders, I apply that very same tip, and I can't tell you how many leaders and even staff, when they've shared this with their staff, have told me the difference in the outcome of the conversation by simply practicing.


Sarah E. Brown 7:35

Wow, 10 times.


Charmaine Hammond 7:37

10 times.


Sarah E. Brown 7:43

Wow. So, Charmaine, what's a valuable free resource you can share with the women who are listening to this to help them understand this challenge better now?


Charmaine Hammond 7:55 One of the free resources I love to provide is a book that I wrote called, Working Better Together, and it covers some of what I consider the most important elements of conflict conversations, conflict resolution to be.


And it's an ebook, that's- think of it as a desktop guide, and I can provide that link to you so that you can share that with your listeners. It's a great resource that has sort of simplified a very big topic. Conflict resolution is a big topic and, if leaders are still learning their skills and building their comfort, there's a lot to learn.


So in this book, I really drill down to a five-step model that works. It's what I used for 10 years as a mediator. And then really powerful questions to ask in conversations so that you can keep the conversation from going sideways.


Sarah E. Brown 9:08

Terrific. Okay. So I will get that URL from you, and we will post it in the show notes.


Charmaine Hammond 9:14

Perfect!


Sarah E. Brown 8:55

Charmaine, what's one question that I should have asked you that will help our audience take action to address this challenge? And then would you answer the question?


Charmaine Hammond 9:03

Oh, great. I just love that question. So I would say, one question that can really help is the question, why am I reacting this way? Why is what someone just said causing me frustration or defensiveness or drama or fear, whatever that emotion is? That would be the question. And the answer to that would be, for us to ask ourselves that question in our head. It's a little awkward to do that in a conversation out loud, but in our head to say, "Why is what that individual just said to me causing me to react this way?"


We make so many assumptions in conflict, and the large majority of them are wrong. We assign meaning to what somebody’s nonverbal really meant, and it's usually wrong, and we assign meaning to how we're reacting.


So if you can think about “why am I reacting this way,” pause, take a breath, and then clarify the assumption with the person by asking an open-ended question that starts with who, what, where, when, why, or how. What that does is it shifts the conversation from being, I'm gonna use the word 'positional' or where you feel like you have to be defending yourself to more of an exploration or an open conversation.


Sarah E. Brown 10:23

What a great idea. Terrific. So, Charmaine, thank you so much for being with me.


Charmaine Hammond 10:29

Thank you. I appreciate the conversation and it's such an important topic for leaders!




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Sarah E. Brown 2019