Courageous Dialogues – Charmaine Hammond

“We have to make sure that people understand how to collaborate effectively and have the tools and resources to do it.” Charmaine Hammond

In order to enable the achievement of mutually agreed goals, people have to foster interactions that promote collegiality, trust and respect. This is especially crucial in the workplace where cooperation between colleagues is required to perform the shared responsibilities effectively. Our guest today, Charmaine Hammond has worked in environments characterized by conflicts and says that collaboration is key in ensuring conducive work environments.

Charmaine Hammond, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) is a highly sought-after business keynote and workshop speaker, entrepreneur, author and educator who teaches and advocates the importance of developing trust, healthy relationships and collaboration in the workplace. She has helped clients in many industries build resilient and engaged workplaces, develop high trust/high accountability relationships, and solve workplace issues and conflict that gets in the way of success and profitability. She is respected as a “no fluff” and “rich content” speaker who delivers tangible tools to step into action immediately. Delivering her programs in person and virtually (she is a Certified Virtual Presenter through eSpeakers), she brings results and facilitates change.

Charmaine is a former Correctional Officer (yup! She worked in jails) and Corporate Dispute Resolution Expert and now travels the world teaching the principles of collaboration, communication/conflict resolution and resilience. She also has an extensive background facilitating processes to help collaborations and workplace/team relationships when they go sideways. As a former mediator, she has helped facilitate some of the most complex collaborations and partnership arrangements. She has also been called to several communities that have experienced disasters to help rebuild resilience and recovery processes.

Charmaine has a Master’s Degree in Conflict Management & Analysis, is a bestselling author (of 5 books & featured in 6 others), and CSP™ Certified Speaking Professional. She has also been featured in renowned publications such as Inc., Occupational Health & Safety Magazine, and many others and appeared as a guest on numerous TV and Radio Programs. She is Executive Producer of an animated film, Back Home Again, which will be released in fall 2021, features an all-star voice cast of many widely known celebrities. This movie (and movement) was designed to be a conversation starter about mental health and community.

In today’s episode, Charmaine will talk about her experiences dealing with conflict resolution at different organizational levels and contexts. She will also provide insights on the importance of fostering collaboration in team settings.

Listen in!

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  • After I left the jail system, I went back to school and became a mediator, and I was mediating conflicts in family, community and workplaces. [3:00]
  • I fell in love with working for non-profit organizations, and then I ventured into working in mental health, where I worked in various capacities. [3:21]
  • At one point, I even volunteered with my dog, a therapy dog, and we volunteered in a psychiatric hospital, and it was so powerful. [3:31]
  • And all of these experiences led to what I do now, which is speaking, training and facilitating teams, groups, project committees, on how to collaborate better, work better together, remain resilient in changing times, and also how to resolve those tough issues that get in the way of success, conflict being one of them. [3:42]
  • I get to work in these workplace environments and on projects where I get to tie in all of my skill sets and all of the things that, I believe, helped me shock other people’s potential. [4:04]
  • We also work with entrepreneurs, non-profits, and service clubs, to help them raise their dreams and fund their projects through collaboration. [4:22]
  • One of the challenges that I had when I was preparing to leave the correctional system role as a correctional officer and move into a different career was that many of the ways we handled conflict don’t work in other situations. [5:58]
  • I went back to school and learned communication and conflict resolution. A lot of the training we had in corrections was related to crisis, not necessarily the negotiation part of working through a tough issue. [6:25]
  • It taught me a lot about humility, being humble, the importance of respect, and how it can change everything when you show up at a tough time in someone’s life. [6:43]
  • All of these softer lessons led me to fall in love with a structured process to resolve conflict, which is why I went back to school to become a mediator. [6:54]
  • My biggest learning was the power of listening to what is and is not being said. [7:14]
  • So, when you hear people in conflict talking about what matters to them, what’s driving their position, what their underlying interests are, the ability to resolve the issue is so much easier because you’re getting to the core of what matters. [7:21]
  • I realized that prior to that, I was always dealing with things on such a basic surface level, and you have to go deeper in conflict, and that is one of the reasons it is uncomfortable for both of us. [7:35]
  • We need to look at resilience building, conflict resolution, communication and stress management, not as soft skills training but as essential skills. It is a softer approach to dealing with human issues, but they are essential skills. [9:25]
  • Commercial Break. [10:43]
  • These courageous dialogues don’t happen because people don’t know how to get the conversation going, so what happens is, it’s avoided. [12:11]
  • One of the things that I’ve learned is that as humans, we’re typically pretty forgiving, where if you are providing feedback to someone and it doesn’t land right, that is an opportunity to say I’m sorry and clarify your intentions. [12:35]
  • I have learned that whatever these conversations are that require us to be courageous, it sets the stage for a much better conversation. [13:45]
  • I feel like now more than ever, collaboration in the workplace is essential to help teams shock their potential. [16:19]
  • Not everybody is naturally a collaborator. Many of us prefer to work independently or in a pair instead of a group. [16:57]
  • In high performing teams, the ingredients that exist is a willingness to fix things in the moment but a willingness to disagree and realize that their perception is not the perception but simply a perception. [17:10]
  • It is an opportunity actually to revisit communication and help people work better together and an opportunity to revisit trust. [17:49]
  • We have to make sure that people understand how to collaborate effectively and have the tools and resources to do it. [18:03]
  • Remember that proving somebody wrong doesn’t make you right. Instead of trying to prove someone wrong, so you can be right, use that energy to bridge understanding and collaboration. [23:33]


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