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Showing posts from 2015

How to Discuss A Controversial Topic Respectfully

It is highly likely that if you voiced your opinion about what occurred between the student at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, SC and the School Resource Officer (SRO) last week, you were met with cheers or jeers.  Those who agreed with your viewpoint did so emphatically because, like you, they were trying to find a supporter in the midst of so much anger and judgment.  Regardless of what side you were on, there was always someone to go against you.  This topic dominated conversations at work and home.  People argued with their co-workers, families, with their friends, and with strangers.  Everyone felt passionately about what they believed, and they would not be swayed.

Such is the way we handle controversial topics about which we feel strongly.  A certain matter sparks a deep and tender place in our hearts, and we feel compelled to speak on it.  Nowadays, many take to social media to vent or voice, and they are met with swift acceptance or rejection.  Arguments and opinions …

Diplomacy: An Essential Leadership Quality

Donald Trump has struck a chord with many Americans who like his straight-talk approach to issues that matter to them.  While exciting some, he is simultaneously causing intense agony for others--especially in his own party.  As much as he's brought a freshness to dealing with topics in a direct manner--saying what some Americans have said in their homes, protest gatherings, and in town hall meetings--he has crossed lines in how he makes his comments.  Sometimes being too direct can have a counterproductive effect.  He turns some on and turns some off.  He gets cheers, and he gets jeers.  He draws some to him while alienating others.  We know this is to be expected for anyone running for political office.  A political leader simply can't satisfy all people.  He or she will always frustrate someone.  But Trump has created a dichotomy in his forward speeches by drawing high levels of adoration and mounting levels of animosity and hatred.  Here's why:
    One essential q…

The World You Create

"Jeri's a great manager.  Just ask her.  She'll tell ya."

Feedback from others is priceless.  If we can allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to receive it, we can hear valuable information that can help us transform into the people we ought to be or who we never thought we could be.  But we don't ask.  And why not?  Because we are afraid.  Why are we afraid?  Because we tend to think greater of ourselves than we ought, and anytime anyone sticks a pin in our inflated view of us, we get upset.  Just ask Jeri.

Jeri is the director of an organization in which I was called to coach because she had created a hostile environment for herself and her team.  I discovered that she had distributed a survey to her staff to find out what kind of job they felt she had been doing as their leader.  Apparently, she thought she was doing a fine job and went in feeling confident that they would agree.  But when the results came back, the team had drawn a completely …

FREE WEBINAR: "The Four Pitfalls of Communications"

At a time when it seems like everybody's running around doing crazythings that are counterproductive to building relationships, here's an opportunity to learn how to start saying things that will lead to more rational actions.  The Sisters of Charity Foundation in Columbia, SC is hosting a free webinar to tackle the tough challenges of being able to communicate well.  We all falter at some point along the way when we try to express our thoughts, opinions or feelings.  We know what we want to say, but somehow, what's in our heads doesn't always come out appropriately from our mouths.  Sometimes our thoughts are all scrambled like Legos in a pile on the floor, and we have difficulty coherently articulating what we really feel.  There are all kinds of reasons why we fail at communications.  In this 45-minute webinar, you'll hear about only four.  But in those four, you'll discover how to start to overcome them, and increase your chances of building rather…

Why (S)Lacking in Communications Costs

You send out an email to your boss, and you don’t hear anything back that day—or the next day.Or the next two days.Or at all.You leave a message for a coworker, and it seems to have disappeared into a vortex akin to a flushing toilet because all you get back is recycled—silence.You text one of your fellow volunteers to check on a date for the next meeting, and you may as well have sent a smoke signal.Your message seems to have evaporated.Not communicating is very much on the list of poor communications behaviors.Poor communication is not just bad word choices, rude responses, sharp tones or unclear input.It’s also slow or no responses to communications with you. It’s happened to you, and yes, you’ve done it to others.You’ve neglected and been neglected.For myriad reasons, you excuse the need to be responsive.You’re too busy to answer right now.The message isn’t urgent so it can wait.The message is from annoying Alice in billing and not important.And guess what?Others have …

Oh, Those Pesky Blind Spots!

I was traveling over spring break with my family by car.  I was the driver.  I try to be very careful on the road because I know it can be deadly out there.  Consequently, I don't use my side mirrors much because I don't believe they give the full view of what's around me.  I often physically turn my head and body before I switch lanes.  This action is recommended by public safety officials because of the potential for vehicular accidents due to those pesky "blind spots".  However, regardless of my efforts to be safe on this particular trip, I still managed to cut in front of another driver without seeing him.  It was absolutely frightening after I realized he was back there.  I saw him in my rear view mirror riding extremely close on my tail.  I felt bad and told my husband I was sure the guy was mad at me.
    My intention after that was to wait until he passed me and mouth an apology.  But no sooner had I gotten back in the right lane than he whizzed b…

Why It's So Hard to Apologize

Sometimes apologizing is like trying to cough up a fur ball.  I don't know what that means exactly because I don't own a cat.  But I imagine it must be like having something tasteless, dry, and suffocating wedged in your throat.  Those who struggle with forming the words "I'm sorry" feel it would be better to choke them down than cough them up.  Why?  Oftentimes, it's because they don't want to be wrong.  Apologizing is an admission of "blowing it" on some level.  Regardless of the size of the infraction, someone or something has gotten hurt, or at the very least, inconvenienced in some way.  An apology says, "I am wrong".  Some people don't accept that they make certain mistakes so rather than own them, they blame others or excuse their behavior.  You've heard it:  "That wasn't my fault.  If he hadn't done this, I wouldn't have done that."
     Another reason why apologizing seems hard is because it …