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Get Out of Conflict Debt

with Liane Davey

Get Out of Conflict Debt

with Liane Davey

Nobody likes conflict, especially workplace conflict. That's why we are excited about today's guest Dr. Liane Davey. She is an author, motivational speaker, and organizational psychology expert. Her advice has helped some of the largest corporations in the world, but also applies to small teams. She is the author of You First: Inspire Your Team to Grow Up, Get Along, and Get Stuff Done and The Good Fight: Use Productive Conflict to Get Your Team and Organization Back on Track

In this conversation, we learn why conflict can actually be good and desirable as long as it is handled in a healthy way. Dr. Davey also shares two magic phrases that diffuse tears and anger. We also learn a three step validation process that can turn potential conflict into an opportunity for communication. She also shares her concept of conflict debt and how to deal with things so that conflict doesn’t build into a negative part of the team dynamic. 


Show Notes

[06:28] Liane has always been fascinated with factories. As she got older, she realized that teams are the modern factories in business. 

[07:05] She also discovered the field of organizational psychology and studied how teams and team dynamics affect innovation. 

[07:25] She has spent the last 25 years helping teams deal with the messy people stuff, so they can get back to business. 

[07:43] Liane got an email from Google this week while working in Silicon Valley, since she was in the neighborhood she stopped by and had a great conversation. 

[09:05] Her and her husband work with executive teams helping them with business strategy and how teams operate together to be better aligned. 

[10:19] Liane shares how conflict debt is a lot like credit card debt. 

[12:07] The interest on conflict debt can get so debilitating that businesses can't be the business they were meant to be. 

[13:14] Connectivity can be causing some of these issues. Now there is no escape.

[15:01] Liane shares a story about how conflict adverse leaders can fail to do their job. 

[17:16] As a manager, the first responsibility is to let people know that conflict is normal. Conflict is the purpose of the teamwork. 

[18:57] Everyone running a small business should have a conversation with the team saying that if the sales person isn't annoying you the sales person isn't working enough. 

[20:00] The number one thing you can do in your business is to help people understand where they're supposed to be putting tension on things.

[21:20] The most important moment is the first moment that you mess up. What you do when things go wrong determines who can be trusted. 

[22:34] Validate the thing someone says. Ask a question to understand where they are coming from. Say their truth. 

[24:59] When humans are validated they are then willing to pivot.

[26:47] Have a conversation about conflict and tension and clear the air using validation techniques. 

[28:49] Solving a mistake made for a customer is an opportunity to build a much stronger relationship with that customer. 

[31:35] Conflict resolution only takes a couple of minutes to set things right up front. 

[35:15] What we can change is us. Teams are a dynamic. You changing your role will change the team. 

[37:33] We stay out of things for many reasons. 

[39:35] When people don't feel heard or understood, they come across as the wicked team member. 

[41:02] If you still have human employees, you still have emotions. You want healthy non-drama interpretation. 

[42:45] If someone starts to cry, you say this is important. What do I need to know? The same thing works when someone starts screaming. 

[45:28] The only people at work that get upset are the people who are engaged.

[46:35] Liane shares a story about a woman leading an all male team who used emotion to do its job.

Thank You

Tracy Oswald
Andre Archimbaud


Rob Heath -
Ronan Fitzgerald -


Liane Davey