Working Dynamics

 Working Dynamics Newsletter


May 2005 


We distribute four newsletters a year. In this second issue of 2005, we are looking at how e-mail is most useful and when it should be put aside in favor of face-to-face communication. Two more articles present solutions for too little respect in the workplace and warning signs of conflict in its early stages. We are also asking you for a little time and information. Please participate in the "Conflict in the Workplace" Poll. Also, take a moment to check out "Quick Links" (lower right of this newsletter) for new programs and dates.

Please don't hesitate to forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues if you'd like. In fact, it would be helpful in increasing the number of those who take the Conflict Poll. To forward (and retain formatting), use the link at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

Susan Gunn, Working Dynamics

P.S. Don't forget that we never sell, rent, or give email addresses to anyone.

In this issue...

  • Working Dynamics Poll: Conflict in the Workplace
  • Managing E-Mail Overload
  • R-e-s-p-e-c-t
  • I Didn't See THAT Coming

Managing E-Mail Overload

Is your mailbox exploding with e-mail? If so, you are not alone. Many of us rely heavily on this time-efficient and convenient method of communicating. However, we can be a big fan of electronic mail and still realize that it often disrupts our workflow and costs us money in wasted time. On NPR's Morning Edition, Renee Montagne recently reported on how we can rein in e-mail and make it a tool instead of a burden. Her segment "Overcoming E-Mail Overload at Work" offers practical tips to help use e-mail more effectively.

Remember that e-mail is not the method of communication to choose when you are emotional or angry. If not used appropriately, e-mail can complicate rather than simplify our communication. As invaluable as e-mail is as a business tool, meeting face to face is the best method if you need to pass along sensitive information or resolve a misunderstanding. Read more on NPR's website.

(Read more...)


Employees (and managers) cry out for the basic need to be respected. Rodney Dangerfield, the comedian who built his career on the lament "I get no respect," and Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul" who even spelled it out for us in a song that is forever burned in many of our brains, aren't the only ones to think respect is important. Recently, Naomi Earp, vice chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) spoke out on the critical need for supervisors to respect workers and workers to respect supervisors. She said, "If we could just learn how to do that, workplaces — and society in general — would be a whole lot better off."

Everyone is different. How can you show respect in a genuine way that is appreciated? Primarily, if you can make the time and give the effort to 1) look at the situation from where the other person stands, 2) ask questions to understand, and 3) listen better, you'll not act on auto-pilot and avoid hurts that are interpreted as disrespect. Seeing things from where the other person stands helps us be as respectful as we always intended.

Working Dynamics would like to hear from you. Click the link below to give us your comments (no need to give your name unless you want). We are interested in hearing specifically what others do when they are showing that they respect you. What do you do to show respect to others? How do you react when you think that you are not being respected?

(please email us)

I Didn't See THAT Coming

Even very successful people can miss the early stages of costly human resource issues, but they don't have to. Often the busy manager or business owner says that a team blow up, a resignation from a valuable employee, or a legal employment charge seemed to "come out of the blue." They say "things seemed fine, there weren't any warning signs" or "I certainly didn't see THAT coming!"

Odds are there were cues or signals that someone had a problem, but they weren't picked up. Being task-oriented and focused on projects, deadlines, budgets, etc. can serve you well in many respects. Don't let that laser-beam focus let you miss important early indicators that conflict is brewing. Research supports that conflict handled in its earliest stages is most effective. Getting consumed with a project or a deadline can result in missing important shifts in team dynamics and result in a misstep you can't afford.

Okay, you know you shouldn't avoid conflict in your team. What should you look for?

(warning signs...)


Working Dynamics Poll: Conflict in the Workplace

What about conflict in the workplace? Working Dynamics asks you to take a quick poll (six multiple-choice questions; two minutes). This survey replicates the January 2003 Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) survey of its newsletter readers. To take the survey, you'll click the link below to get started.

How long will the survey take? With only six questions to answer, we really do think it should take you one or two minutes!

Who will see your responses? Working Dynamics will receive all survey responses in totals. We are using a survey program that will not ask your name or any other identifying information. We will not be able to see the email address of those who respond. We will receive responses in percentages to each question.

How will the survey results be used? Working Dynamics may use the results in presentations and in future newsletters. We will give you the results of this survey along with those of the 2003 CCL Poll in a future newsletter. Again, your responses are anonymous and are reported to us in totals.

How do you take the survey? Click the link below and follow the instructions you are given.

Thank you! If you have any questions, call Susan Gunn at (804) 353-9527 or email

(Take the Conflict Poll)

Quick Links ...

Leader Development Series: Building Relationship Skills (PDF)

Conflict Dynamics Profile Certification: 2005 Richmond workshops (PDF)

Research: Link between conflict behaviors and perceptions of effective leadership

Newsletter Archive

Contact Us

     voice: (804) 353-9527