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Conflict Resolution Tips and Blog

The Need for “Grownup” Leadership – Why Childhood Lessons Still Count

I ran into a friend who started working for a new company since I last saw her a year ago. Her job puts her in contact with leaders from several
departments regularly.

Her conversation with me was all about what she was observing about the difference in leadership styles and the effect they were having not only on
her ability to perform the tasks of her job, but also on her emotional well-being.

As a mother, she was comparing their styles of operation to the life skills and lessons that she was trying to impress on her teenage son daily.
Unfortunately, she was discouraged by the kind of leadership that she has to sit under. The more she talked, the more interested I became in her
analogy to getting her teenager to move toward adulthood and acting like a grown up and the leaders she was faced with daily.

I thought about the kind of leadership we are seeing today in all areas of life and about the life lessons that were impressed on me growing up.
Being a parent and a former teacher, I am familiar with the lessons that are still being impressed upon our young people today and wonder how much
impact the models of leadership they see are having on them.

As I began to focus on the basic lessons that are important as teens develop in to grownups, three things kept ringing true.

1. You Don’t Have to Respond to Everything Bad Someone Says About You

In other words, sometimes you just have to ignore what people say. With the popularity of social media, in particular Twitter, we are seeing
leaders in every arena “clapping back” at every remark harder and faster. Just the opposite of what we are trying to teach our budding young adults
to do. Real leadership requires a higher skill level around managing feelings, triggers and reactions. People are often unhappy sitting under the
leadership of a person who doesn’t know how to walk away or who just cannot let a remark go unanswered.

2. Do Unto Others As You Would Have Others Do Unto You

The golden rule which exists in a similar form in almost every culture and language is still something that is taught starting in childhood. The best leaders who create climates where people feel respected and cared about are those where leaders live by this rule. These leaders don’t name-call, scream, berate and intimidate their staff in order to get them to fear them and produce more. They know that the very things that they hate being done to them are the things that will cause resentment, dissatisfaction and a desire to leave the company.

3. Keep Your Word

Your word is your bond. It is all you really have. It is still a principle that sets leadership apart. In order to adhere to this principle, a leader has to be discerning. They have to think hard about what they want to give their word to because people will remember. Leadership that inspires loyalty and high productivity begins and ends with a leader who keeps their word to their team, their followers and their loved ones. Yes, leaders who understand that these days when the world can follow your every move, the separation between business and personal is getting smaller and smaller, don’t save principled behavior just for the office.

As more businesses reap the results of ineffective leadership, it seems to be turning out that childhood lessons aren’t just for childhood.

Bold Leaders Resolve Conflicts with Confidence

I grew up watching Emma Peels on the TV show, The Avengers. Everything she did from walking into a room, handling a difficult conversation and delivering a fierce side-kick, she did with extreme confidence. The impact she had on me was… here was a woman who knew that she was highly skilled in talking to people in any conflict situation and therefore chose to take it to the extreme (in her case using martial arts) only when her life was in danger.

With all the conflict that is happening and with every major business magazine and journal reporting on the importance of leaders building healthy relationships and diverse, high functioning teams, social skills are fast becoming the primary tools for success. Those who will be most successful in making major and impactful change are those leaders who can be Bold when it comes to conflict.

Bold Leaders know that they must skillfully and willingly engage in conflict, because it is both inevitable and necessary. Conflict can bring new ideas, opinions and perspectives to the workplace creating greater productivity, but only if we as leaders are confident in our ability to face it and manage it.

Bold Leaders anticipate and set the table for conflict knowing that putting it on the table for discussion before it blows up only makes the workplace stronger. That means we run into the fire of conflict while others are busy filming it or running the other way.

Bold Leaders continuously go within themselves to search for and own what they do to escalate conflict. We all have the potential to escalate, because we all have triggers. Triggers are fueled by emotions which set off reactions rather than responses. Bold leaders know that in order to take triggers off our plate we must examine our own feelings toward conflict and discover the root causes for them.

Bold Leaders add to and strengthen their conflict resolution skills with highly effective communication skills. This means that we are not just listening, but we are mindfully and strategically listening beneath the words in order to get to the source of conflict.

Bold Leaders examine the conflicts created by the cultural norms of the workplace and create conversations around them.

Bold Leaders, no matter where they are, home, office or community, are not just talking it out but hosting fearless conversations with the resolution of conflict as our goal.

The times that we are in require Bold Leaders who will use all of these skills in order to walk into the fire with confidence every time.

Are you a high-achieving leader who works with a team? Want to know if you are on your way to being a Bold Leader or already there? Let me send you my FREE Leadership C.O.R.E. Assessment Tool and let’s find out. Email me at lynne@lynnemaureenhurdle.com

The Legacy of Trump, Conflict and Self-Reflection

I come across an article this week titled, “Comey, Russia, Healthcare… What Trump Voters Think Now.” I click on the link and read that 8 people who voted for Trump were interviewed about what they think of him now. As I get ready to read with great interest, I notice a gleeful anticipation rising up in me. I am expecting to see some remorse from some if not each of them about the choice they made.

The diverse selection by age, gender, race and socio-economic status give further fuel to my hopes. As I read each story, I find myself mentally noting who I could stand to hang out with and listen to, who I might possibly be friends with and who I don’t think I can bare two minutes of conversation with. I was particularly hard on the African American male. I heard myself say, “Brotha, you are just lost, we cannot hang” and then I stopped reading.

I sat back and took a few moments of self-reflection to realize that I had not come to this article with my usual curiosity and hunger for people’s stories. I had come to gloat and to see people who had “come to their senses” by thinking like me. I realized that 7 months into this presidency, I am already weary from the effort it takes to try and understand Trump supporters.

Wow. For me, that was a scary moment.

I’ve already talked about my friends who voted for Trump and who indeed still support him. I have friends who did not vote for Trump, but who intensely dislike Hillary (me too) and also dislike President Obama (that’s my man). The bias of my intense dislike of Trump is evident to me even as I write this. I kept “forgetting” to capitalize his name. I all but gag at having to call him the President (but I am quite clear that he is. I am not of the “he is not my president” mindset). I had no trouble, mind you, writing President Obama. I struggled with whether I should write former President, but decided that people do both. So, I’ll cave in to my own bias.

In conversations, on social media, print and tv, bias is the order of the day. Yes, I know it always was, but it seems that the legacy of the Trump Presidency is that it is front and center on the menu and everybody is ordering it with a side dish of “what is wrong with these other people?”

I’d like to offer up something for each of us and I am starting with me. Whatever your politics, let’s ask ourselves these questions:

  1. What biases do I have toward those who didn’t vote like me?
  2. Why is it so important to me that my friends and family think like me?
  3. Where might I be so blinded by my bias that I am missing what is important to others?
  4. What am I doing that is discouraging others from wanting to talk with me about these issues?
  5. How do I host and stay in conversation and relationship with others who don’t agree with me?

I value that article. I am using it as another way to learn and understand people who live, look and think differently from me but are human just like me. I challenge myself and each of us to live on a higher level of compassion, understanding, conversation, love and continuous self-reflection. Let that be President Trump’s legacy.

Here is the article in its entirety: http://www.ozy.com/politics-and-power/comey-russia-health-care-what-trump-voters-think-now/78566?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=US

The Conflict of Trust, Race and Engine Failure

Last month I was sitting on a plane that was supposed to be a direct flight from NYC to Honolulu when the pilot’s voice came on to announce that there was trouble with one of the engines and not to worry. The plan was to land in Portland and take care of the problem. The immediate problem other than the obvious was that this announcement came an hour before we would arrive in Portland. I looked at my seatmate and those around us, including flight attendants and saw worry and fear so clearly. I leaned back in my seat and decided that all I could do was trust.

I remember thinking that I trust these pilots to know what they are doing even though I have not met them. I trust that any dark and scary imaginations that my mind can conjure up cannot and will not compete with their knowledge to do what they do regularly and that is to fly this plane and land it safely. They live this and I trust that they have stories to tell from their experiences. My seatmate shares that she has flown this airline for many years and has never had this experience. So, she decided to join me in leaning in to trust.

I had just finished reading O Magazine’s issue dedicated to talking about race and my mind went immediately there. I thought about this idea of trust and its relationship to race relations. People of Color are often subjected to the day-to-day oppressive notion that someone who has no clue and has never walked in your shoes is the decided and sanctioned authority of your experience. The people outside of our experience get to say that “you are making it up,” “that doesn’t happen,” “it was mean but I don’t think it was racism” or “let’s wait until all the facts are in” and the insanely frustrating “why do you always have to play the race card?”

People of Color who are socio-economically diverse, educationally diverse from all walks of life who tell their stories of similar abuses who should be the authorities on their experiences in this country, are not believed regularly. There is little trust or there would be more change. That many of us including myself experience this among people we know, respected friends and colleagues, slowly erodes our faith that the ethnic and racial conflicts in this country will ever end.

Trust, a little word with HUGE power.

While there is an enormous amount of work to do and continuous conversations to be had, I ask us to start to look at this idea of trust and the role it plays in our relationship to one another when it comes to race and ethnicity specifically. The sad truth is that even People of Color have been poisoned by the insidious beliefs of mistrust that have been so strategically ingrained in the fiber of this country.

Can you trust that we live this life every day and our experiences are where our expertise lie? Can we fly the plane while you sit back and trust that because we live this we know about all the turbulence and bumps ahead and exactly where things are going to land?

The Sandwich – The 4 Ingredients That Make This Conflict Easier to Swallow

I’m not a fan of sandwiches, but I grew up during a time when a cartoon character became famous for his. They were called, Dagwoods and they were piled high with every kind of meat, cheese and condiment that you could imagine. This sandwich was piled high over his head. That seems to be an accurate description for the life of those in my generation and even a decade younger.

We are caretakers for our elderly parents while still raising our children, the double decker sandwich. Some of us are helping to raise grandchildren or taking care of parents and grandparents while still having to raise children, which is known as the triple decker. Either way, the common feeling I have heard expressed is “in over our heads.”

It is a lot to comprehend, schedule, manage and wrap your brain around. It can be overwhelming. This kind of lifestyle invites conflict pretty easily and sometimes unexpectedly.

When my dad was in his late seventies, he was living on his own, dating (like you wouldn’t believe), driving his own car and was very active in his church and the neighborhood. My sister and I started noticing some memory issues that we held family meetings to address, but my dad was still having a full life, including enjoying his three grandchildren. One night, he had a stomachache and we took him to the emergency room. He was immediately admitted to ICU and sedated. When he finally came out of sedation three days later, he was in full blown dementia.

In a matter of three days, all of our lives had completely changed. My sister and I were now responsible for him and all of his affairs just like that.

I have watched numerous friends and family navigate similar situations and almost drown in them. The stress, the tension and the conflicts can threaten to shatter the best relationships. So, it is important to be prepared even if you are already in this sandwich.

Here’s the four necessary ingredients for being able to digest all of this:

1. Address The Fear of What If

Yes, no one wants to deal with what if, but the truth is that on top of all the stress you already have, you will have so much more if you don’t. This means, get all of their paperwork in order now. Insurance, medical, wills and yes even funeral services. There I said it. The worst is out there. Straight talk helps. My dad was more than willing to write up his funeral service a decade before we needed it.

2. Enlist Help

You are not the only person going through this no matter how bad your story. My friend Terri V. White at ALaborofLoveElderCare.com shares that in her work, there are so many stories out there and most of them involving people not reaching out for help or reaching out when they are so exhausted they can barely function. Getting help and information is important even before this happens to you.

3. Expect Opposition

Whatever is happening in your life, you can expect your children to push back, because there is not enough of you to go around. You can expect opposition from your parents and/or grandparents, because change is scary and losing independence is humiliating.

4. Schedule In Me Time

No matter what, something has to give. Learn to say no even when it is hard. Schedule time for yourself everyday and be upfront about it. It is not selfish. It is urgent care for you. If you are not doing well, then everyone suffers.

We are living lives that are very different from our parents and if you are not there yet, then get a jump on this because you will be one day. Handling these kinds of conflicts require skills, patience and preparation, but even with that there can be enjoyment. Just like that sandwich that Dagwood prepared. He knew that on top of everything he put in it that put it over his head, the main ingredient was love.

Family conflicts can be hard to deal with. That’s why I created The Soul of Conflict: Creating Peace In The Family Series. It starts March 27th and I would love to have you join us. Invest in yourself and your family now. Go to http://soulofconflictsummit.com/yes