Reboot Podcast Episode Wisdom for Work #15 – Navigating Conflict & Difficult Conversations – with Chris VandenBrink & Andy Crissinger

The Reboot podcast showcases the heart and soul, the wins and losses, the ups and downs of startup leadership. On the show, Entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and Startup Leaders discuss with Jerry Colonna the emotional and psychological challenges they face daily as leaders.


Andy Crissinger

Andy Crissinger

Coach, Facilitator & Director of Coaching

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Chris VandenBrink

Chris VandenBrink

Coach & Facilitator

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Episode Description

If you work with people, odds are good that hard conversations will be part of your work life. Whether it’s firing an employee or dealing with tension in the executive team or trying to get along with a challenging personality at the office, managing people at any level, and in any scenario, makes difficult conversations inevitable and also essential to working well together. In this podcast, Chris VandenBrink and Andy Crissinger talk about leaning into hard conversations so you can do so with skill and clarity.

Supplemental Readings:

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most | Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well

Additional Resources:

Wisdom for Work #1 – The Ladder of Inference | I-We-It Framework | Reboot’s free Co-founder Course

Show Highlights

Top Quotes:

“Conversations in which we don’t have a vested interest, or there’s not something at stake, tend not to be difficult for us.” – Chris VandenBrink

“With the It-We-I framework, sometimes I think about the cliché of the iceberg, where there’s a portion of the iceberg that’s visible above the waterline. The ‘It’ is the level that’s always hanging out there above the waterline. It’s a little easier to see. But then the ‘We’ and the ‘I’ tend to be part of the iceberg floating below the surface. Often, we have to use some intentionality to see them.” – Andy Crissinger

“Our brains can just make up meaning instantaneously and then believe that story. And that gets us into trouble because often the intentions of the other person are different from what the story we’re telling ourselves about that.” – Andy Crissinger

“There are conflict seekers, and there are conflict avoiders. There are different contexts in which we might be a seeker and contexts in which we might be an avoider.” – Chris VandenBrink

“When you’re dealing with the seeker and avoider dynamic, having a conversation at the ‘We’ level can really open things up.” – Chris VandenBrink

“Conflict can be an opportunity. There is no organizational life without conflict. There’s no marriage without conflict. So, really, this becomes about how do we navigate that? How do we move through conflict in a healthy way? Not how do we avoid it, but how do we move through it?” – Andy Crissinger

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