MVP Seminars Blogs

We all seek to be powerful. I'm not speaking necessarily about having authority over others but we certainly want to have control over our own lives. Yet even the most well-intentioned, enlightened person wants to control a particular situation or individual at times. Certainly, parents impose their authority over their children which is not necessarily a bad thing. Children, especially those who are young and immature or who may be developmentally slow, are not fully capable of making responsible decisions for themselves and rely on the judgment and guidance of the parents to do so for them.  For those in the military, or other organizations responsible for the lives and safety of others, a leader must be in charge in order to keep all those under their command safe and to create the favored outcome for all. And we're all familiar with the person who is a control freak, the one who needs to feel powerful at all times, never letting their guard down or relinquishing dominance over others.  But is there a connection between anger and power? The very definition of anger is that it is a feeling of discomfort or displeasure brought about by feelings of helplessness or powerlessness. Feeling powerless makes us feel vulnerable, susceptible to the whims of others. It takes an enormous amount of trust to permit others to have dominion over one's life in any capacity. Very few are willing to relinquish such authority. Humans instinctively protect themselves from any perceived harm or unpleasantness and anger is an appropriate tool to get the job done. Think about what occurs when someone gets really angry: people pay attention. If my boss is screaming at the entire office, you can rest assured that most everyone is affording him their undivided attention. Anger makes us feel powerful in the moment because we generally get the attention we're seeking and very often the cooperation of others as well.  However, this kind of power brought about by anger is an illusion. When we lose control and allow anger to dictate what we say or do, then in essence we have given command to the emotion itself. We are no longer operating from an intellectual, rational mind but rather from a place of tumultuous feelings. When one is in a highly emotional state they typically are not making rational judgments, therefore they are not thinking logically by collecting the necessary facts that enable them to make an intelligent decision. In this case, one becomes power-less (a victim) to the rage. Here's the primary issue in the case of the boss: his anger evokes fear in his workers. When one is engaging in irrational or threatening behavior, others are uncertain as to what to expect. They feel at risk for any unforeseen consequences (such as an impromptu firing of a coworker or a cutback of privileges). They are unable to reason with a boss who is not displaying rational thinking and are hesitant top even try. In that moment, employees may comply with his demands but the long term and far reaching effects of his tirade create a breakdown of trust and respect, thus seriously undermining his effectiveness as a leader. The authentic power of anger lies in our willingness to channel it in a constructive manner that will bring about positive change not just for the self but for all parties concerned. When the message of anger is deciphered, that is when we are able to identify what we considered wrong, unjust, unfair, corrupt, dangerous, disrespectful, and so forth, then the messenger (anger) has served its purpose. Much like an announcer who proclaims, "Play ball!", once the proclamation is declared his job is complete and the players commence the game. Anger is an announcer, it tells me that something is wrong.  Once I receive the message I can dispose of that specific emotion and put my energy into the solution.  Here's an example: a young mother is outraged that her father-in-law favors their oldest son. Her younger children have noticed the nepotism and she can see the hurt in their eyes. "How could he be so insensitive and mean to my other children?" she thinks to herself. But rather than verbally lambast him, she sets out a course of action to create a more balanced family dynamic. She puts down the anger and addresses the issue with the grandfather stating that she realizes her son is a very special child and she loves the bond he has with him. She also knows how much her other children would cherish the same kind of relationship with him. She then offers suggestions as to how they can work on creating that as well as the benefits for all of them. In this regard, her anger motivates her to improve a family situation before any serious damage was done. The ability to make thoughtful, intelligent, positive decisions with extenuating benefits for everyone is where our authentic power lies. Take great care when choosing anger for it can be highly deceptive. Never relinquish your authority to such a powerful emotion for once you do it has the potential to have devastating consequences. Like an announcer, listen to its message, set it free, and set your thoughts on a path to positive actions. And in this way, you will find the true power that is rightfully yours.   
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We all have challenging people in our lives yet unfortunately few of us have been properly trained in how to effectively deal with them. Well, that's going to change today. In no particular order, using the an acronym "C~U~R~B  Appeal", you will learn tips that will better enable you to get along with difficult people. C: Consequences  Very often when we are dealing with challenging individuals we fail to set limits and boundaries. We may be comfortable speaking up and addressing their inappropriate behaviors or attitudes. Additionally we might also comment on how we expect them to behave. However, that's typically as far as we get. Without motivation to change (which can either be a reward or a penalty) people are often inclined to continue doing what they're doing without regard for the feelings or impact it has on others. Much like our speed limits, if police officers only expressed a desire that we obey them rather than exceed those limits, few would comply. Imposing a ticket or points on the offender's license gives one ample reason to make the necessary changes. The key to effective consequences is following through with them. U: Understanding  It's essential to realize that behavior is an outward expression of our internal issues. Those who are arrogant, vengeful, rude, combative, uncooperative, etc. are verbally or physically expressing what is bothering them inside, those issues that they have not yet resolved or healed. Individuals are not always aware of why they act as they do and are therefore powerless to some extent to change. Even though I may be understanding that one who is yelling and threatening me is operating from a place of fear (aggression is a need to self-protect from a perceived threat), I may not necessarily know the source of that fear and neither is it necessary. I only need to be understanding of their suffering and therefore compassionate that they are struggling with an unresolved issue. R: Respect  Regardless of how difficult the individual may be, it is imperative to always treat them with dignity and respect. This can be extremely challenging as it is our natural inclination to want to put others in their place when they are acting out or to get even with those who have offended us. We also tend to assign value to people based, in part, on how they treat others. Those who are disrespectful or offensive have lower worth to us than those who treat one another with dignity. However, it is not our place to judge; neither do people have to earn our esteem. Respect is defined as "to value" and the one who assigns importance to all humanity is the One who created it. All human life has equal value. Respect is a God-given birthright. To offer it is a Divine responsibility. Additionally being courteous shows the other party how to be polite as well and hopefully they will follow your example. B: Boundaries  Robert Frost said, "Good fences make good neighbors." In every relationship it is important to establish rules and regulations defining what is acceptable treatment and what is not. Too often, we are fearful of speaking up when someone mistreats us or treats us in a way that we find offensive or uncomfortable. "People should know how to treat one another," we proclaim. However, respectable treatment is different for each person. What one is fine with another may find appalling. Each person must be crystal clear in their own minds how they want to be treated - what is and is not permissible - and then clearly convey that to the other party. Without verbally expressing our desires, we cannot expect that every person will treat us in a way that we find acceptable.  Ideally, having boundaries in place precedes consequences. Once they are made known, one can follow up by also expressing the consequences they are prepared to enforce should the other person disregard their request.  A: Appeal  Appealing to what matters to the other person , to what is important to them, is a powerful tool in gaining their cooperation. What strikes a chord within is more likely to result in an affirmative response than that which they cannot relate to. For example, one can appeal to their sense of moral values making a statement such as, "I know that it matters to you to always do what is right and fair." Pointing to issues of right and wrong, or to what is in their best interest can also enable them to adjust their attitudes or behaviors. "Do you think that your choice is ultimately going to be good for you? I'm concerned that it may not be and you certainly deserve to be safe/happy/healthy, etc." "How is this behavior/attitude going to benefit you?" is another powerful question that challenges the other person to reconsider their actions. "What is the more responsible thing to do? Is this a fair decision for everyone? Are you being a good role model for your children?" are all thought-provoking questions. Reach out and touch their "heart interests", what matters most to them. Share your concern for their well-being and in doing so you may very well gain their trust and cooperation.  In dealing with those who require greater effort on our parts, it is imperative that we remove our own ego and operate from a place of spirit - kindness, concern, and equality. Remind yourself that everyone is struggling with their own unique pain and fear. It is not your place to put them in their place but rather to uplift them and assist them in creating the best scenario possible at that moment. With a little concern, a reasonable amount of patience, and the C~U~R~B Appeal Method, you'll increase your ability to better interact with those who are typically uncooperative with others.     
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If you've read my book, The Secret Side o f Anger, or attended one of my lectures on the topic, you know that while there are thousands of events that can trigger anger, there are actually only three root causes: hurt, fear, and frustration. In any given circumstance, you can trace anger back to one or more of these causes. For the purpose of today's show, I've going to cover seven erroneous belief systems and/or behaviors that fuel our outrage, how we can relinquish them, and what we will gain by doing so. Give up: 1. Limiting or inaccurate beliefs: It's not uncommon to make statements such as "It's impossible" or "I can't do that." In doing so, we are putting constraints on life's possibilities and restricting our chances for success. Beliefs such as "I'm not good enough" erode our self-esteem and lead to a life of depression and failure. Feelings of hopelessness (the very definition of anger) and frustration (a root cause) lead to anger, outrage, and despair. Gain: A positive outlook allows for unlimited possibilities and fuels desire, hope, and effort. Excitement, determination, and accomplishment replace hopelessness, self-loathing, and anger. Self-confidence rises out of our continued successes. 2. Complaining: By its very nature, the act of finding fault with a situation or person focuses on the negative. Our expectations of how things should be or how another should act have not met our standards. Negative thoughts can only lead to negative feelings such as disgust, disillusionment, and anger.  Gratitude is the antidote to criticizing. Gain: Finding something, anything, to be grateful for enables one to see the goodness and benefits that surround them. In that way, one experiences joyfulness and gratitude rather than disdain. 3. Need to be right: Like kerosene to a flame, the need to be right is a guaranteed accelerant of anger. Rooted in low self-esteem, one needs to prove their level of intelligence, their worthiness, and/or superiority over another in order to feel good about themselves and to maintain a particular image in front of others. When two parties disagree, needing to prove one's authority over the other will invariably end in a fight. Disagreements do not necessarily equate to issues of right or wrong but may instead indicate a person's preferences or opinions. Work on strengthening how you feel about yourself and the need to be right will vanish. Gain: This one simple shift will dramatically improve the quality of your relationships as others   begin to feel more comfortable in your presence. Your confidence enables you to be more open-minded and relaxed while enjoying the other person's company more. The possibility of offending or alienating the other person is dramatically reduced.  4. Control: The need to control is based in fear. It's normal and healthy to be concerned about how one's life progresses as we all worry about our own well-being. In any situation, we try to create the outcome that will be best for us (and others if possible).The one who has greater control appears to have greater influence on the outcome. One lacks trust in the natural progression of life or in the capabilities of others. The need to have a predetermined result leads to anxiety and worry, underlying causes of anger. Gain: Letting go and allowing life to unfold naturally means having faith and trust in one's ability   to adapt to their changing circumstances. Additionally, it illustrates a faith in God that what is meant to enter or exit our lives is always for our higher good. Relinquishing control makes way for a relaxed and peaceful approach to life. 5. Judgment: We are typically harsh in our assessment of others. We form critical opinions that create a hierarchy of value among us. Judgments are formed through the practice of comparisons: we compare others with ourselves or with what we consider to be normal or acceptable. We fail to allow for individual circumstances, personality traits, beliefs, abilities, etc. Judging creates tension in relationships on every level.  Negative and unkind thoughts about others lead to resentment, anger, disgust, and so on. Replacing judgment with understanding allows one to be more compassionate and supportive. Gain: One immediately gains self-respect when they choose to no longer criticize or compare    others. Allowing each person to navigate their own life in their own time and way reduces stress and arrogance within the critic as they become more compassionate and kinder beings. One's reputation for being non-judgmental serves them well in every aspect of their life. Additionally, personal relationships become less confrontational and more enjoyable. 6. Resistance to change: Many people don't like change because along with change comes the fear of the unknown. It's not actually the uncertainty that people are afraid of but more specifically how they will be affected by it. When change is forced upon them they seek to maintain the status quo and become angry and resentful at the thought of someone forcing something upon them. Even necessary variations can cause anxiety and fear, underlying causes of anger. Accepting that change is both necessary and beneficial can help alleviate one's fears. Building self-confidence, the belief in one's abilities to thrive in any new circumstance, is empowering and freeing. Gain: The more accepting one is concerning any of life's conditions the less effort is expended in resistance, anger, bitterness, and fear. One is free to live a relaxed life eager and willing to face     every new adventure life has to offer. A spirit of courage and enthusiastic anticipation allows for joyful living. 7. Blame: People are often eager to hold others accountable for any unfavorable events that occur. They blame others for how they feel, the poor choices they've made, and the sad condition of their lives. Blame renders one powerless as it transfers authority to another. If someone else is responsible for the condition of my life then that indicates that I have no power or control over myself. That is simply not true. I have intellect, free will, and choice. While I may not be able to fully control what occurs around me, I always have control over how I respond to it, perceive it, use it, and allow it to affect my life. Personal responsibility is where our personal power lies. Blame implies one is powerless (another definition of anger) and that invariable leads to distrust, bitterness, resentment, and self-pity. Gain: Those who take full ownership for their feelings, choices, and life in general definitely feel stronger and more effective. They understand that they have full authority to change whatever is not working for them. In this way, their determination and perseverance will eventually provide the kind of life they are seeking. When you give up each of the above mentioned behaviors, you will discover that there is greater ease to living, an improvement in most relationships, a greater sense of gratitude and joy in life, higher levels of self-esteem and confidence, and a new-found respect for one's self. But the greatest gain in this process is inner peace.  This is by far the most  precious gift one can acquire in life. For without inner peace, nothing else truly matters.  
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No matter where you go in life, you'll find that humans share similar goals: we are all seeking happiness, success, good health, wealth, and love. Some are fortunate to acquired some or all of them. And yet as quickly as we obtain them we can lose them or they can disappoint and hurt us. You study and prepare for the career of a lifetime, reaching the pinnacle of success only to suffer the consequences of a failing economy. At the end of a long day you return home from work to a wonderful family but all you do is bicker with one another. The nice home, fancy toys, and huge stock portfolio do little to add to the overall enjoyment of  life. Even with all of your acquisitions your ability to be happy is seriously impaired. At times, life hardly seems worth the effort. It's easy to become disillusioned and wonder if there isn't something more. In fact - there is. What's far more important than all of the above combined is something few people actively seek until they have reached a point of desperation - that is inner peace. Inner peace is not some new-age ethereal  concept reserved only for enlightened gurus who sit high atop lonely mountains isolated from the realities of this harsh world contemplating the meaning of life. Inner peace is chosen state of being wherein one remains emotionally unaffected by outward circumstances. It is the ability to find value in each of life's experiences; to realize that everything is exactly as it is mean to be; that each experience is a part of a greater purpose; to be able to face life in faith, not fear; to Align with the Divine and live in full accordance with God's Laws; to live to please God and only God. There are three key areas we must address to create peace in our lives: Within: making peace with yourself 1) Peace originates within each of us. Know that each experience, no matter how pleasant or unpleasant it may be, is an essential part of your spiritual journey. Embrace and appreciate the value in each. 2) Forgive yourself for the mistakes you made. They were all lessons in disguise. 3) Refrain from comparing yourself to others. Love and appreciate who you are. Separate your intrinsic value from your learned behavior. You are a perfect child of God. Period. Family: healing the rifts 1) Reduce the number of demands you place on one another. No one is here to live up to anyone else's expectations. Accept each other "as is". Each is on their own personal journey towards enlightenment. 2) Set boundaries for any inappropriate behaviors being fair, realistic, and loving at all times. 3) Forgive the imperfections of others as you have forgiven your own. 4) Focus only on changing yourself. All attempts to change others are arrogant and self-righteous (and may I add futile?). World: finding peace with others 1) Remove all negative judgments and labels. Value and appreciate the uniqueness of each. 2) See each individual as a sacred child of Almighty God. See them through His eyes only. 3) Calmly and fairly negotiate your differences making certain that your primary concern is the well-being of the other party. 4) If you are unable to resolve your differences, accept the circumstances as they are and, if necessary, gently release the other party wishing them well and move on. Keep in mind that in each circumstance, the above solutions are all interchangeable. Living in peaceful harmony is our birth right. Somewhere along the line, ego gained control and sabotaged our natural intended state of being . However, we are spiritual beings and must call upon our true nature to reclaim what is Divinely ordained. The interesting thing about peace is that once you have achieved it, happiness, love, success, and health all flow effortlessly into your life. Peace begins within each one of us and extends outward towards family, friends, communities, and globally. Only when we create peace within do we stand a chance of ever achieving world peace. The time to begin is now. "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace." (Prayer of St. Francis)  
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Health problems associated with job-related anxiety account for more deaths each
year than Alzheimer's disease or diabetes.

The impact stress is having on society as a whole is so profound that?Psychology
Today calls cortisol, the stress hormone, "Public Enemy Number One".

It is unrealistic to think we can create a stress-free workplace, but stress can be
reduced saving billions of dollars in lost productivity and ultimately in saving

Causes of workplace stress:

* Inadequate health insurance that may result in a financial burden for the employee
or worse yet delayed treatment. In fact, shift work and long work hours were also
associated with worse health generally, and bad health decisions?like smoking.

* Decisions about work hours and shift work have profound consequences affecting
sleep and conflicts with family life.

* A 2005 study noted that those who reported high levels of feeling overworked were
20 percent more likely to say that they had made lots of mistakes on the job, which
could be especially problematic for those with physically demanding or dangerous

* The stress that comes from the combination of low job control and high demands has
also been found to contribute to issues like cardiovascular disease.

* Conflicting priorities between work and home have a negative effect on mental
health, and have been linked to some substance-abuse issues.

According to new research by AXA PPP Healthcare in the U.K. following the
Germanwings disaster, seven in ten bosses do not regard stress, anxiety or
depression to be valid reasons for employees to take time off work. 

AXA PPP Healthcare surveyed 1,000 senior business managers, managing directors,
chief executives and owners and 1,000 employees and found that 69 per cent of bosses
did not believe mental illness warranted time off work. Yet a quarter of managers
admitted they had themselves suffered from mental illness at some point.

Although stress is not a disease, it is the first warning sign of an impending
problem; if the body experiences unimpeded stress, acute and chronic changes occur,
leading to long-term damage to systems and organs within the body.

How can the workplace be less stressful?

* Top-down efforts to foster a more collegial and secure working environment may
lead to happier and healthier workers. 

* Company-wide events and mentorship programs can?help in tackling high stress
levels for employees and the associated health costs for employers.
* Efforts to retain employees for significant periods of time might help too, since
workers tend to feel more secure and form more supportive social networks when there
is some level of consistency within the employee pool, according to research.

Specific ways owners and managers can help reduce excessive stress in the workplace:

* First, be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress in order to effect
the appropriate organizational changes;

* Take action aimed at stemming these sources and types of stress.

* And it is essential they understand the various coping mechanisms available and
help individuals select the most appropriate ones.

Learning to manage chronic stress is an essential life skill in today?s world. If
you find that you are exposed to high levels of stress on a daily basis, it may be
best to consult a mental health professional. They can help you learn essential
coping strategies that may prevent a physical ailment before it even begins, or
alleviate symptoms that you are already experiencing.

As cancer survivor and best-selling author Kris Carr said, "If you don't think your
anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact your physical health, think again.
All of these emotions trigger chemical reactions in your body, which can lead to
inflammation and a weakened immune system. Learn how to cope, sweet friend. There
will always be dark days."
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Only one person has to see a situation as a conflict for it to be one. If you perceive something to be a conflict but someone else does not, the challenge is to get the other party to see the situation from your perspective and to listen long enough to see how your viewpoint may ultimately impact them. In return, you must listen to the other party’s point of view to begin the process of mutual understanding.
• The “I Message” is about stating the situation’s importance to you
• The “Clarify and Define” Step gives you the opportunity to say how the situation impacts you, and
• “Soliciting the Other Person’s Perspective” gets the dialogue started.
This process may help bring the other party to the table to open up a dialogue.
What if I am willing to be collaborative, but they aren’t?
One option is to try and coax the other party to the table. But another solution may be to rethink the situation. What do you have to gain by confronting the situation? Perhaps the other
person knows more about the situation and sees that discussing it will only prolong the conflict without solving anything. Is collaboration REALLY your best option in this situation?
How do I probe deeper to determine the true source of the conflict?
A conflict is often deeper than what appears. Sometimes you have to probe deeper than the surface events to find out what is really bothering the parties in the conflict. One way to work through these iterations is to respond to the other person’s feelings, listening and accepting an outside perspective rather than simply restating your own ideas. Stand up for yourself and the importance of the issue to you, but be tolerant of the other person’s viewpoints. By getting all ideas out in the open, you increase the likelihood of finding out what are the real problems behind the conflict.
What if my boss demands a particular conflict resolution style, such as always being collaborative or expects me to be accommodating?
While it is fairly commonplace that others will expect you to behave in a manner in which they have become accustomed, it is never too late to begin changing your behavior. For those who attempt to predict your behavior or to force you into certain behaviors, they must realize that not all conflict situations require the same approach. If you think there is more to be gained by being accommodating, then use that style. If you have more to gain by avoiding, then that style should be the one you choose. Ultimately the choice on how to deal with conflict is yours, you have to be able to stand by the choices you make. If others try and force you into certain behaviors, you may eventually have to gather your strength and try a different approach that will serve as a declaration of independence.
What have you found to help in conflict resolution? How do you deal with those that don’t want to address conflict?
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Most of us work for a living. On or off the job we are bound to encounter a wide range of, shall I say, challenging personalities? Bullies, intimidators, hypocrites, backstabbers, underminers, instigators, complainers, gossips, withholders, and know-it-alls just to name a few. Their presence can be distressing and distractive. Many of us are ill-prepared to deal with their ever unpredictable behaviors yet are quick to hold them accountable for making it even more impossible to perform our already demanding jobs. As in all relationships, the interaction between both parties contributes to the dysfunction on the job. Therefore, it is imperative to first examine the self for any improprieties. Take a moment and reflect upon the following: ~ Am I guilty of any of the preceding behaviors? Unless I am able to identify my own destructive behaviors I have no right to complain about others nor do I have the ability to improve the dynamics. I am responsible for my own actions and must first be willing to change myself. ~ How is my attitude? Have I always been polite and respectful? Was I in a bad mood the day we had an issue? Did I say or do anything that may have provoked the other party now or prior to the incident? ~ What is my history with this person: amicable or hostile? What is their personal history? Is this an isolated incident? Is this behavior out of character for them or typical? ~ Am I blowing things out of proportion? Have I taken personal offense to an issue that is not about me? Am I the only one in the office who has an issue with this person or does he/she behave the same way with all of  us? ~ Is this impacting my performance on the job? It is causing me significant distress? Do I need to address the issue with the individual? Can I let it slide? Do I need to enlist the aid of another person such as my supervisor to help resolve this? Only after I have thoroughly and honestly examined my role in this incident can I take action with (not against) the other party. (Attitude is key: you are coworkers, not adversaries.) There are several keys to dealing with individuals who exhibit the above characteristics: 1. Carefully and objectively assess the situation and determine its level of seriousness. A minor incident may be well to overlook while one of a more critical nature needs to be addressed. 2. Determine if this is something you are comfortable and qualified to handle on your own. Involving a third party might jeopardize the other's anonymity and sense of safety. 3. Choose the proper time and location to discuss the issue. 4. Utilize a firm yet fair approach, speaking with confidence and clarity. 5. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Ask questions rather than make assumptions or accusations. However, be certain to hold them accountable for their actions. 6. Listen open mindedly to their response or explanation. Consider their point of view. 7. Set guidelines and boundaries if necessary. 8. State your position and what changes need to take place. Ask for the same from them. 9. Reach a mutually agreed upon settlement and put the issue behind you. 10. For those issues or individuals who will not change, accept what is and do the best you can under the circumstances. Not every incident will be resolved the way you had hoped for. Remember that whatever course of action you choose to take or not take, do so with dignity and integrity. Your behavior reflects your character and the example you set may be just enough to surreptitiously resolve the issue.  
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From Aline, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Dear Dr. Rosie, I’m always amazed at what you bring to your column. You touch the heart and soul of who we are under all the layers of doing what we do, in our lives and in our work. For eight years I’ve been a director for a medium sized company. I see so much more potential for the company and for the people who work here. I want to practice being more authentic and present with my direct reports. I want to leave them with dignity. I want to practice being open, engaged and to communicate in ways that support people and the company to orient itself towards creating an environment that empowers our human resource as opposed to depleting and degrading it. But I’m afraid I’ll come across as weak, vulnerable and will lack leadership. I’d appreciate anything you can share. Thanks again, Aline ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ From Dr. Rosie Dear Aline, I so admire your willingness to step into your convictions to potentially transform your company. Engaging individuals with authenticity and presence can provide some pretty interesting possibilities – ones you cannot plan for or anticipate. They will challenge you to be true to yourself, to your integrity and to what it is you are wanting – to create a work environment that is honoring to your human resource. I acknowledge your heart-felt passion to make a difference – enough to perhaps face some aspects of yourself that may fear to tread where others have yet to go. I so appreciate your commitment to cultivating more awareness around this aspect of your company’s culture and the humanity that runs the company. Get comfortable with being confronted because you already are being confronted. With every new experience comes the possibility to become conscious and develop new skills in yourself and your organization. It’s what you are asking of your direct reports and it’s what I’m asking of you. I like your willingness to explore what it is that stops you, what confronts you. By confronting I mean something other than fights and arguments, though these are possible too. I’m talking to that experience within you, when in the midst of an action that is in alignment with this intention to empower, something stops you. Your direct report says something or a thought crosses your mind, and all of a sudden you experience an abrupt change of direction in the conversation, like putting your engine in reverse to avoid going over an abyss. The thoughts that arose reflect some interpretations you have about that which just surfaced. It brings up those core truths that we don’t want anyone to find out or decide about us. Our survival mechanisms kick into gear and we’ve left our best intentions in the dust. What is it, Aline that you usually do when you are confronted? What is your normal come-from or be-with when the going gets tough? And, how are you being that is in support of your intention to be effective as a transformational director and leader? It is important to cultivate awareness around what you do and how you be when confronted. The reason is that, if what you do when confronted is get angry and controlling; retreat or resist, withdraw or withhold, then in any conversation, with any one, actually, you’ll be avoiding the very instant that creates a shift, a change, or transformation. What’s required in these very moments is a stretching beyond the limitations of fear-based intentions and thoughts into a conversation that is a dream come true. I’m not kidding. These moments, these conversations, where you stay true to your intention to make a difference, are exhilarating. They can be the most fulfilling, rewarding and effective moments of your day. You accomplished what you set out to do. That’s transformation in action. For most of us, our context around confrontation has it be scary, anxiety provoking, maybe even dangerous. If your context around confrontation is not positive you’ll not only let yourself off the hook but you’ll let your company and people off the hook too, when they are confronted. This doesn’t serve anyone! As an executive and leadership coach I had to shift my own interpretations about confrontation if I were to be of any real support and value to my clients. Now, confrontations are conversations that have the capacity to deepen understanding and deepen relationships. My client may react to me in ways that I don’t like, but I don’t have to give into my fears, my anxiety and those strategies that say “Run, Rosie, Run! By staying intentional with my desire to stay authentic and be honoring and respectful of everyone, I allow an opening to a new way of being. This new way of being feels strong, grounded and very intentional. I’m far more present to what my client needs from me as a thinking partner. That’s what I’m getting paid for; nothing less! In your writing Aline, you are clear about your intention to shift your way of being as a leader and director. In a situation that feels confronting your intentions can shift to avoiding the whole darn, situation. Without being clear of your intention to lead and direct from a more authentic and honoring position, you will not develop the capacity to be with your company and its employees in ways that best serves them. Without cultivating awareness you will stay unwilling to think outside your current comfort zone and that of your company. Without presence you will not be attending to your direct reports or to your inner voices that support you in being empowering in ways you’ve yet to dream of; and, without intentional listening and speaking you won’t be able to facilitate a dialog with them that supports and encourages stretching themselves into their fullest potential. I believe the best leaders are those who, when confronted, can remember their deepest intention to lead with the wholeness of their heart and mind toward the fulfillment of the greatest potential of those they serve. I see you, Aline as one of these leaders. Thank you for exercising the muscles of transformational leadership. Blessings, Dr. Rosie Author of Self-Empowerment 101
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In my capacity as a leadership coach I’ve been working with Hank, an executive in a Fortune 500 company who has been embroiled in a dispute with a particular associate for the past few weeks. The associate, we’ll call him Tom, is somewhat passive and resistant. When he feels like working he’s on top of his game and works harder and longer than any one of his team members. However, when he doesn’t feel like working, he rationalizes and justifies for not fulfilling his agreements. The more he is pushed to fulfill the less he does. Yesterday, Hank confronted Tom about the lack of progress he was making on a particular report that was long overdue. Such conversations are always frustrating and disappointing to Hank. He has an expectation, as we all do, that people say what they mean and mean what they say. When they don’t, and when Hank has to bring people to task, well, it makes him want to yell criticisms be sarcastic and darn right cruel! He doesn’t want to shame and guilt people with his comments; it just happens! I spoke with Hank after the confrontation with Tom. “I expect grownups to act like grownups, especially when they have been hired to be responsible in highly significant ways. How am I supposed to talk to adults that act like adolescents? What am I suppose to expect? Though Hank was angry, he and I had to figure out a way to move forward from here with bad feelings and distance still between Tom and himself. Hank explained: “I’ve been in partnerships with passive and resistant individuals before, and generally I’ve found myself in a stalemate. Ignoring the behavior doesn’t work, nor does attempting to control or manipulate – all of those ways of being that are disrespectful and degrading but seem to be the only way to get some action. I hate this part of my job!” Then, there was a long pause. Hank was chewing on something in his mind. Then he said “I just heard these words inside my head: Always leave them with their dignity. What’s that suppose to mean?” Hank began to share that he wasn’t raised with this philosophy; in fact his dad took liberty with his autocratic and dictatorial leadership style. He shamed and humiliated his children and rarely acknowledged them for a job well done. By the time Hank left home to go to college it was hard for him to imagine that he had anything to offer the world. The best he could hope for was to make it through college, get a job and not expect much more. “Fortunately, once I was out of reach of my dad I began to excel and here I am today. I still don’t feel great about myself but I do my work and people respect me. Maybe that’s as good as it gets.” Choosing how to be a Leader Regardless of education and training, my experience is that we choose our leadership styles primarily from the experience of being around those who were our leaders; most often our parents, teachers, ministers and coaches. The interpretations we choose based on our experiences have us decide how to be a leader and how to be with a leader. As Hank considered meeting with Tom this morning, he and I rehearsed the conversation that was about to take place. Even though he and Tom came to an understanding in the confrontation the day before, Hank was resistant to let things be, let the waters be calm and return to his normal, friendly style of leading. There was a part of him that wanted to assert a position of, superiority, of righteousness, perhaps finding opportunities to make a comment or two that would shame Tom and make him feel bad – nothing too obvious, of course; just a little remark to let him know Hank wasn’t going to let him off the hook. I was curious and questioned Hank’s motives for being less then compassionate. He shared that he sensed that there would be something he’d lose by not making a jab or two. As we talked, he imagined letting go of making these jabs and immediately felt the hurt and agony of being a child shamed and stripped of dignity by his father and his football coach. He was surprised that these emotions were underneath his more aggressive style with Tom. He also felt that the salve for this agony was to shame others, like Tom, just a little bit. “For some reason, this makes me feel more powerful and takes away the sadness. Why is that?” Dignity is an essential and core quality of our humanity. It gives each of us a sense of being valuable to the world and to oneself, and without it we come to feel disheartened, demoralized and depressed. In Management, it’s not uncommon to unconsciously strip away other people’s dignity through comments that shame, ridicule or embarrass. Like Hank, by stripping away the dignity of others it perhaps salves the wounds of our own loss of dignity, if only for the moment. As Hank was finding out for himself, if he truly wanted to be an empowering leader he needed to be willing to reveal to himself his own wounds. He would also come to see the choice-making process that occurred because of the woundings that suffered as a child. Hank remarked “I need to do this so as to choose differently. I want to practice being a leader in a way that empowers people and perhaps even add to their dignity. That feels really hard to do right now – eliminating the desire to pinch away people’s dignity. Man! I didn’t realize how things like this get passed on so unconsciously.” Fifty Ways to Shame the Other In a transformational course of training I facilitate, leaders are given opportunities to cultivate awareness of who they be and how they be in the role of leader. Through this process each leader comes to realize that too often their leadership style is based on some form of engagement that is disempowering as opposed to empowering. They realize that by letting go of a shame-based model of leadership their employees’ morale begins to rise; communication begins to open, which results in a more collaborative and effective environment. Every day, there are hundreds of opportunities to empower and disempower others. Whether with our employees, partners, friends or children, every gesture or word is delivered with the intention to give or take away dignity. Think about it! We are all capable of being disempowering and we are all capable of being empowering. I encourage you to notice how you choose to choose to be empowering or disempowering. Explore for yourself what it is like for you to be the recipient of leadership styles that feel disempowering to you; Explore with a coach or thinking partner what would support you in shifting so as to always leave your employees with their dignity.
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Conflicts don't start in a vacuum.  And they won't end in one either. Because that is true, there is much more that goes into conflict resolution, than coming to the table with a win-win agenda. We've been taught that business is business and personal is personal.  But it isn't so.  And it never was.  That's a myth.  We've been in denial.  And the evidence of that fact is everywhere around us as we watch and engage in all manner of dysfunctional so-called business interactions every day. What is true about conflict resolution is that conflicts are resolved with effective relationship skills.   And effective relationship skills--like any other skill--are learned.  Most of us have learned ineffective relationship skills in a social milieu in which everyone relates based on the dysfunctional models they saw at home.  And while we can’t undo the past, we can certainly learn to correct the present-day interactions in both personal and business dynamics. What will be learned in my Conflict Resolution seminars and keynote addresses, therefore, has to do with not only how to resolve a conflict once it has begun, but also how to maintain such resolution through the learning of effective team dynamics.  Here are some of the topics that will be covered:
  • What am I responsible for in a dynamic interaction?
  • How do I define my problem?
  • Is it you or is it me?
  • Who’s on first?
  • What does “win-win” really mean?
  • Can we talk?
  • Can we hear?
  • R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
  • Perception—one eye open.
  • The driving force of negotiation.
  • Reaching agreement.
  • Maintaining the resolution.
My workshops, seminars and keynote addresses are designed to meet YOUR needs.
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