Saying you’re a family isn’t really the problem; it’s saying you’re a family then acting the opposite way that creates tension.

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To say “we’re a family” in describing a workplace is an understandable impulse. After all, your team ideally does feel a sense of belonging and mutual respect in accomplishing goals — much like a supportive family would. However, family doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone, and it only takes one out-of-touch colleague’s use of the term to sour the idea of a work family for everyone else.

That said, fostering healthy workplace relationships takes more than word choice. Especially at the management level, you can’t just switch from calling employees a family to calling them a team and expect…


In life, at work, and for relationships of any kind, it’s always the same: apologizing is hard.

ocean waves background with search bar that reads, “how to apologize”
ocean waves background with search bar that reads, “how to apologize”

While many of us apologize habitually for minor reasons (or no reason at all!), genuine apologies come from recognizing a harm that’s been done and working to repair it. That’s where the hard part comes in: an apology requires both parties to be truly vulnerable by addressing fault.

Showing vulnerability can be difficult enough, but with apologizing, we encounter conflicting narratives that make us even more reluctant to say sorry — or believe others when they do.

One reason for this is that we’ve all encountered a fake apology. Studies have shown that people are more skeptical to believe apologies…


A healthy work culture starts with conflict resolution values at the leadership level.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

When management values solution-focused practices, employees feel heard, secure, and motivated to do their best work. Plus, your entire team can learn to communicate and collaborate by your example — which results in productive, efficient workflow.

Management styles vary across industries, corporate structure, and personal value systems, but anyone can incorporate these 4 techniques into their day-to-day leadership to create an open, inviting workplace environment.

Model Constructive Communication

Let employees know you’re available with an established, open-door communication policy. That way, internal conflicts can be resolved before they grow into a larger issue. Start with the right tone:

Set office hours or appointment…


Embrace these and get the most out of the discussions you’re having with friends, colleagues, and family.

Black and white wall with words.
Black and white wall with words.

When it comes to communication, you might think in terms of what to say and how to say it. Many people are naturally solution-oriented, so we tend to rush ahead in conversation; to plan and prioritize our personal points first.

Think about it: if you’re focused on what you’re going to say next, can you truly process what another person is saying? Without listening, you can’t inform your responses, and uninformed responses come off as they are: vague, rehearsed, counterintuitive, or worst: offensive and uncaring.

Instead, use active listening as a conversation tool with colleagues or family members to get the most out of the discussions you’re having.

Active listening is exactly what it sounds like: meaning each party actively engages with the…


For many, the transition to working from home has not been a smooth one. A big contributor to the unease? Communicating virtually.

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We’ve heard the term, “unprecedented times” so often in recent months that we’re all totally over it, but it is true: even if we’ve experienced a crisis before, we haven’t experienced an event exactly like this, and none of us all have all the answers.

Still, our work requires us to come together and collaborate each day. In this “new normal,” that means communicating with a wide array of digital tools. We’re being asked to employ these tools as efficiently, productively, and seamlessly as possible in lieu of in-person contact.

For the most part, we actually have been dominating the…


Most managers and team members alike would agree that transparency fosters healthy, productive work environments. But what does transparency in the workplace actually look like, and how can both sides of any conversation give, receive, and use it productively?

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Photo by Oliver Schwendener on Unsplash

Communicating transparently is easier said than done.

It requires toggling between the subjective and objective; identifying a truth known to you versus a truth known to someone else. It also requires an ability to observe all of those truths as impartially as possible. (That’s the really tough part.)

Transparency relies on passive acts, too: like listening, adapting, and collecting “data points” as they vary from person to person (or team of people!). Simply put: it takes a great deal of time and effort.

In this article, we’ll explore transparency on individual, team, and organizational levels. …


There are so many benefits to facing conflict. It’s one of the best ways to solve problems, dispel tension, and find creative solutions. So why do we react so negatively when faced with conflict and what can we do about it?

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In addition to the fact that we’re pretty much socialized to avoid direct conflict at a young age, we have real, physiological responses to conflict that cause us to think or react on a much less evolved level than we’re actually capable of. The body is responding to a perceived attack or threat before the mind has a chance to think about it rationally.

What’s actually going on in our bodies when we’re faced with conflict? Why do most of us tend to dislike and avoid conflict so much, even when we know it’s better to deal with it directly?


Tips for HR, managers, and employees for surviving transition

green plant wall with neon pink sign that reads, “and breathe”
green plant wall with neon pink sign that reads, “and breathe”
Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

In light of the novel Coronavirus, many U.S. companies and organizations have made the difficult decision to close their doors. While the CDC recommends this as the most practical course of action to slow the spread of disease, remote work arrangements require new policies, practices, and most importantly: patience.

The bright side? We’re all in uncharted territory together. Managers, HR departments, and team members will have to work together to keep business going — not as usual, but as effectively as possible. This requires every level of business using their best judgment and individual talents to help ease the transition overall.

Generally, learning to do your job in a different environment is the easy part. The challenges come when you throw in communicating, holding people accountable (when you can’t swing by their desk), collaborating virtually, and coordinating across departments and teams.

This article is focused on how a business…


And why avoiding it can be soul-crushing and productivity-zapping.

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Photo by Christian Chen on Unsplash

Many of us were taught through behaviors modeled — perhaps by our parents, family members, bosses, and/or leaders — that being agreeable is important — especially at work.

Get along with your colleagues.

Be friendly.

Collaborate.

Don’t shut ideas down.

Don’t disagree with someone above your pay grade.

Try not to be the “squeaky wheel”.

Which means: we’re essentially taught that it’s better to ignore a problem and let resentment build than to address it directly and be seen as impolite and, therefore, unprofessional.

(Cue emphatic sigh.)

Luckily, things are changing. We’ve all (hopefully) seen it — if not in…


Want to cultivate the healthy (productive) kind of conflict in your company and on your teams? Start by understanding the difference between healthy and unhealthy conflict.

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Photo by Kristaps Grundsteins on Unsplash

Conflict. Just seeing the word might trigger anxiety, fear, and discomfort. Most of us are conditioned to avoid conflict at all costs, especially in the workplace. It’s scary! It’s destructive! It’s inappropriate and unprofessional!

Scrap that. It’s time to reframe our relationship with conflict: Workplace tension can be an incredibly productive, positive force.

The key to doing it successfully? Understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy conflict, then equip yourself with the tools to facilitate healthy conflict and deal with unhealthy conflict when it arises.

Healthy conflict is a vital part of a productive, engaged workplace.

It leads to more creative solutions, collaboration, innovation, and progress for your entire organization.

For healthy conflict to flourish, it’s absolutely crucial that there’s an environment of psychological safety. That is, people need to feel like it’s safe to disagree, admit to mistakes, and offer honest feedback…

Natalie Garramone

Workplace Conflict Coach, Trainer, and Mediator. Owner of ONE EIGHTY. To learn more, visit oneeighty.io

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