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Hugging The Cactus

Every time I’ve taken any kind of personality or strengths test, I get the same result: harmonizer. 

Hugging The Cactus


This is no surprise to me. I detest arguments, stop at nothing to maintain peace and have an uncanny ability to sense underlying tension miles away. But in a world where conflict is inevitable, differences among people naturally rub, and workplace conversations can be difficult to navigate, maintaining peace seems like an attempt to hug a cactus without being hurt. How can peace and honesty intersect in a healthy way? 

Last week, business consultant Khalil Smith, founder of Smith + Grey LLC, led our team through a series of exercises focused on giving and receiving feedback and diffusing tricky situations. Together, we learned how to lead well in conflict resolution as individuals and a team.

Perhaps the most pivotal part of Khalil’s training session came from defining conflict as a perception of events and attitudes. Approaching conflict with the acknowledgement of multiple perceptions of the situation immediately dispels accusation and brings mutual responsibility to the table. Also, in understanding the perception aspect, we discovered the value of specificity; whether the problem is relational or work performance-related, being able to deliver concrete examples is essential in fixing the problem. 

For the direct communicator and peacekeeper, there is value for both in the workplace, because maintaining a truly peaceful environment involves authenticity and honesty. Bringing these two qualities together isn’t an idea to longingly dream about, but one to strive for.

At Signal Hill, we thrive in the crossroads of honesty and harmony by capitalizing on the strengths of every team member and funneling our work and attitudes through our core values. Behind the scenes, we’re leading through our own stories, which inevitably involves leading through resolution, authenticity, and thankfulness.