Erik Desert 3.webp

MY NAME IS ERIK

Unresolved conflict has a crippling effect on individuals and organizations. I’ve learned firsthand that conflict, team communication challenges, and unresolved worry/stress/anxiety all take a fierce toll on performance and morale.   We’re so afraid of saying the wrong thing we don’t say anything at all, and communication shuts down.  But unresolved problems like these fester and grow into even larger infections in the team or organization. The consistent presence of these issues makes a lot of us uncomfortable (or even anxious), not to mention the concern about trying to handle a conflict or miscommunication in teams without fear of retribution or challenges with HR.

So we tend to flinch away from these issues, hoping they’ll go away on their own.  Or we might throw a training day at the team, thinking that some rah-rah and atta-ways might change things. But if you think you’re doing a good job leading because your team doesn’t engage in actual, in-your-face conflict you’re dead wrong.  The problem isn’t that conflict has arisen, but the lack of agency for individuals to move through the conflict into a meaningful resolution.  

I help teams build the confidence and competence to work through conflict skillfully and effectively.  This isn’t rocket science!  It is a crucial set of tools, some practice over time, and most importantly, the ability to deal with conflict as a problem, not a life-or-death crisis.

 

I grew up in a family riddled with conflict, both out in the open and lurking in the shadows.  I experienced first-hand the brutal cost of conflict - the cost to healthy relationships, the cost of lost time and lost opportunities, the cost of worry, stress, and anxiety created in even the simplest of interactions.

 

My personal experience created a hunger to find ways to deal with conflict and fear in much more productive and decisive ways. That hunger led me to Speech Communication and a graduate specialization in conflict resolution.  I have spent the years since helping others grapple with conflict through both consulting and coaching engagements.

I have learned that it’s necessary to create the space to work through conflict and all its messiness.  I have come to understand that facing these problems directly, with the right tools and training, can transform conflict into a highly useful and powerful experience for team growth, strength, agility and resilience.   I teach teams how to deal with miscommunication, conflict and anxiety, so that they can continue to successfully navigate these issues long after our work is complete.

All Too Often Anxiety Is The Elephant In The Room

While anxiety has always been with us, modern culture seems to be finally willing to talk about anxiety without labeling it a stigma or illness.  In the wake of Covid and the general high-stress, high-performance cultures that work creates it is essential to understand both the origins of anxiety and what to do about it.

Anxiety is a thinking issue - the tendency to make something a crisis that is really, at worst, a problem.  To lead a team effectively it’s vital to see anxiety and conflict as part of the experience of the team - in small and big ways - and be able to address those worries/fears/concerns directly and effectively.

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