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Guess what the number one challenge is in ALL companies I work with? If you guessed communication you are right! We provide communication skills training in Denver, Colorado and conflict management training in Denver, Colorado for corporate teams. This is one of those areas were there is always room for improvement.

I am going to make a bold statement here that I have consistently found to be true: all conflict is the result of unmet needs. Yup, that’s right. Think back to the last conflict you had – by conflict I mean upset, misunderstanding or miscommunication, not necessarily a knock down drag out fight. Now, ask yourself, what was your underlying need that did not get met? If you can’t find one, look harder.

Here is a simple, everyday example:

Wife: Can you empty the dishwasher and do the dishes since I made dinner?

Husband: I had a really long day, can it wait until the morning?

You can see how this conflict might escalate – but if we look at the underlying needs present in this conversation, there is an opportunity to problem solve at a different level. And, as Einstein said, (quoting loosely) problems can’t be solved from the same level at which they were created. So, what are the underlying needs in the above example? The wife has an underlying need for support, collaboration and fairness and the husband has an underlying need for rest and relaxation. When each can articulate and recognize their own and each other’s needs, the conversation can be about how to get both of those needs met – support and rest – instead of getting into the usual old argument.

How does this work in an organizational setting? I just finished a team development training today around the themes of appreciative inquiry and accountability. When we got down to the root of the challenge on the team, the conflict that was happening was that team members were not feeling heard when they contributed ideas to their supervisors. The underlying need that was not being met was the need to be heard and the need to contribute. We identified exactly what it was that would have the team members feel heard and what was happening now that had the team NOT feel heard. This was an issue that had been plaguing the team for months. I believe we created a breakthrough today around moving forward as a team simply by taking the time to uncover the true underlying need and finding a way to meet it.

Conflict management and communication are not rocket science, but as long as we have individuals with different personality styles and different needs, conflict of some sort will always exist. Although it may seem time consuming to ask for and meet underlying needs, the reality is that when those needs are identified and addresses at a more thorough level, the conflict is dealt with much more effectively than working on the superficial issues.

Here is a quote just received from one of the people who was skeptical about yesterday’s training.  “Communication is always tricky, and it’s nice to see people really working to improve that. And … Jeannie is really great. I enjoy her exercises and the positive way in which she presents her “lessons.” Thank you for bringing her in. And thank you for doing what you are doing to make this a better place to be.”  Yay, a win!

Transformative Training provides conflict management training in Denver, Colorado for teams and executive teams. You can’t afford NOT to take the time to deal you’re your communication issues – call us for a free needs assessment.

Jeannie Gunter, MA

Jeannie Gunter, MA

Founder, Transformative Solutions

303 653-3097

Jeannie works with a wide variety of clients to help them increase their team effectiveness and leadership capacity in their teams. She has worked both nationally and internationally as an organizational consultant, facilitator, speaker and wilderness guide.

With a strong background in group dynamics, over the past 20 years Jeannie has guided hundreds of teams in a wide variety of organizations to successful outcomes in team, personal and professional development.

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