When Did Asking Questions Become a Sign of Weakness?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably also reacted poorly to a co-worker or an individual you manage. A quote by Edgar Schein recently jumped out at me when he said, “We are biased toward telling instead of asking because we live in a pragmatic, problem-solving culture in which knowing things and telling others what we know is valued.” We don’t have to look too far or hard to see what Schein is saying. Our bosses tell us what to do, our family and friends tell us what they would do in our particular situation, and each “expert” has an answer for us at the tip of their tongue.
5 Ways to Ruin Your Relationships
Ugh…relationships…who needs them? They are so needy! Your coworker always wants to go out for a beer after work, your partner wants to spend time with you, your friend keeps calling you up to come see your new house. Who has time for all this? It’s probably better just to get rid of them all. So here’s 5 things you can do to ruin any relationship in your life; work, home, friends, even acquaintances.
Sculpting a New Dispute Resolution Field
I’ve had the opportunity to talk with lots of mediators, coaches and consultants that have lost their passion. That twinkle that existed in their eyes has been beaten out - the spring in their step, flattened. They have gone from, “Yes! I believe in the beauty of conflict transforming people’s lives!” to “Yeah, I guess I could provide you with this service.” We’ve gone from looking at our craft as an opportunity to create a better world, to looking at our job to find a resolution and a pay cheque.
Finding Success in Leadership
We asked a leader how anyone manages to stay engaged when they have to re-inspire leaders in a variety of different settings. The answer that they gave, seems to be the secret to success in every field, mediation and otherwise.
Rewriting Your Conflict Story
During recess in elementary school, I was playing pickle with some friends at the side of a baseball diamond. We were in our own little world; trapping people between the bases, faking out the runners, diving to tag our friends so that we could switch spots. We were having a great time until . . .
The Value of No
Fairly early in William Smithburg’s career as the CEO of Quaker, he impulsively bought Gatorade for $220 million because he liked the taste (as the story goes at least). Quaker quickly grew the Gatorade brand and shortly thereafter their $220 million purchase was roughly valued at $3 billion.
Why Your Leadership Title Means Zilch
I remember my mother making me write letters to some youth about something that I did when I was a teenager. She said to me, “You’re a leader now, other kids will be looking up to you so you need to set a good example!” I didn’t want to be a leader, I had never asked to be one. It’s not something that I had consciously signed up for. It was the day I was told to become a conscious leader.
Sawubona, Temple and In Medias Res – My Three Words for 2014
Another year has come and went out the door. As I sit here, on the beginning of the new year, reflecting on this past year I can’t help but feel lucky to be here! There have been lots of exciting things that have happened this year (both personally and professionally) and lots of scary, painful things as well (like breaking my collarbone and getting into a fairly serious motorcycle accident).
Using Your Mediation Skills to Survive New Years' Parties
Ah yes….the season is here. Maybe it’s even already started for you; Work parties, family gatherings, functions with friends, and on and on. It’s a festive season, lots of food, drinks, and maybe even some presents here and there. Sing songs, drink spiked hot chocolate, eggnog, the act of giving, family traditions, Christmas trees and lights, etc, etc, etc. You get the point. It’s a happy time of year.
How You Can Make A Difference
This article discusses the Community Justice Initiatives. Since the Stride program has begun, they’ve supported 71 circles and in the past 3 years, only one of those women have ended up back in federal custody. The majority of women that have been through the Stride program have went on to have productive and successful lives.
A Reasonable Reason For Unreasonable Behavior
“They made me do it!”
“They forced me to respond the way that I did.”
“It’s all their fault, they backed me into a corner. What choice did I have?”
From Jason Dykstra
I love that Mediate.com is a breeding ground of ideas from ridiculously smart people within out field. Congrats on your 500th Edition!
I Know My Truth -- What Actually Happened?
If I had a nickel for every time I heard, “And those are the cold, hard facts!” I’d definitely be able to buy a grande extra-hot, no water, chai latte (that doesn’t include variations of that saying either…). When we have a shared experience, we walk away with different experiences of what just happened.
4 STEPS To Preparing Your Response To Negative Comments
This past weekend I had the pleasure of presenting on one of my favourite topics right now – “What To Do When Shit Hits The Fan” – at the fantastic Social Capital Conference. It was such a great conference with some amazing content that was being shared!
Interview with Jason Dykstra on Social Media
This interview of Jason Dykstra by Dave Hilton of the Conflict Specialists Show addresses such issues as social media and conflict; relational conflict; hot buttons and listening; conflict audits; and social media strategies.
Is this a Problem to Solve? Or a Tension to Navigate?
I used to work for a social service agency. This agency got funding from the government who set up various guidelines and reporting measures that we needed to abide by. Every now and then they would add various compliances that our organization needed to meet. Especially when it came to reporting and documentation.
Listen Like It’s Your First Time
At the end of this past year I was involved with a couple of assessments for an organization and a church. Let me start off by saying that I love doing assessments. You get to meet a great microcosm of the organization, hear their stories, interact with them, and feel their passion.
Book Review: Success as a Mediator…for Dummies
As someone who regularly gets emails, phone calls, and messages on Facebook and Twitter from new and experienced mediators about what it takes to build a successful mediation practice and how to get started in mediation as a career, this book will now be included in my recommendations. This book’s framework is such that you can start on any one of the 5 parts of the book and provides some great examples and resources for everything from getting training as a mediator to how to set up and grow your mediation practice.
Shift Judgment to Curiosity
The other day I was at Staples picking up some posters that I had printed and had one person waiting in front of me. She was an older lady and was looking to have some flyers or brochures copied for something she was doing.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
So let me paint this picture for you; I was a tall, skinny, awkward, teen that would have trouble lifting the generator first thing in the morning. Every morning we’d get to the job site, unload the truck and set up everything we’d need. Of course, because I was the youngest, least experienced, and had no clue what I was doing, I would do a lot of the “B-word” work.
Put Those Words Back in Your Mouth - Video
NonVerbal Communication can really express more than words can. This video on nonverbal communication demonstrates how.
5 Ways to Listen Without Your Thoughts
Sometimes it’s easier to describe something by showing what it is not. Like this quote for example. It perfectly describes what I call Thoughtless Listening, but we’ll talk more about that in a second. Listening is not talking, thinking about talking, thinking about what you’re going to say, not waiting your turn to speak…I think you get the point. We need to Stop…which conveniently is our “S” in our Listening series.
The Secret to Listening
Think back for a second over the best conversations you’ve ever had with people. Now think of your conversations that you’ve had today, or even this week. You have three types of conversations now in your mind; 1. Really Good, 2. Mediocre, 3. Terrible. Sound about right? Now what’s the difference between these conversations?
Listening: It’s Not About You
When you feel words coming to your throat to respond to what the person is saying. Shut up! That’s right…don’t say anything right away…give yourself at least 20 seconds of silence before responding.
Recognizing Shame in Mediation
In mediations, and in conflict in general, we deal a lot with shame and guilt, and before we go any further, we need to realize that they are two different things. So what’s the difference? Brene Brown describes it as understanding the differences between “I am bad” and I did something bad.”
Using Experience to Break an Impasse
I get to see this almost daily. I sit down with people who have very opposing stories and differing views on both of them witnessing the same event. You have your version of the story. They have their version of the story. I piece together my own version of the story. Then there is the actual story of what happened.
The Reaction Cycle: What Happens When We React?
The other day I came home after a long day of work and put my bag down and said hi to my wife and son. I took off my shoes and my coat and draped it over my bag in the kitchen. The second my coat and shoes were off my wife asked me to take something outside to the garbage.
3 Things I learned in 2011
There are a lot of resolutions going around at this time of year, there is also a lot of reflection and learning happening as well. This year has been an awesome (and I don’t use that word lightly!) and many, many things have happened.
You Have the Skills to Deal with Conflict
That’s right, you have the necessary skills to deal with all the conflict in your life. Sure there are new skills that you can acquire, you can always build on your foundational skills.
Uncertainty by @jonathanfields
I read an interesting book lately called Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields recently and it has changed the way I think about many things. The tagline for this book say “Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance.” So why did this book resonate with me so much?
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
I have 3 younger sisters, and when Sister 2 started to go to school it was a huge adjustment for Sister 3. You see, when Sister 2 was home all the time, she would make all the decisions…what game to play, what to have for lunch, who was going to be Barbie and who was going to be Ken.
140confONT , Stories, and Listening
“Real generosity toward the future consists in giving all to what is present.” -Albert Camus
A Community that Binds is a Community Alive
What does the word community mean to you?
There are many definitions out there…some of them referring to geographical location, some common values or goals, a common identity, intent, or belief.
Why Your Mother Was Wrong About Confrontation
Remember when your mom used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all”? I do…I used to get it a lot! Here’s the thing that I don’t like about that saying…”Don’t say anything at all.”
Everyone Has a Story . . .
It's important and beneficial for a mediator to learn everyone's story.
Intent and the Truth
Have you ever said/wrote something that someone reacted to or felt offended by? Most of us would say that this has happened to us before.
The Scary C-Word
Many of us avoid the scary C-Word.
Intent Action Effect
Dog Poop and Conflict
Conflict Resolution and Twitter
As a conflict resolution specialist, I use Twitter for both business and pleasure. I use it for business to keep current about what is happening in the conflict resolution world, to establish relationships, promote conflict resolution, and connect with other mediators/conflict resolution practitioners within the field.
The Art of Shutting Up
So I have an idea…it’s not a new idea, but it is one that will help you learn more about people, glean more information about them, and to get them talking. You ready for it? Here it is…
A Biased Mediation
If you’ve heard about mediators you have probably been told that they do not have biases. According to Dictionary.com a bias is;
“to cause partiality or favortism in (a person); influence, especially unfairly.”
In February I had the opportunity to speak at Ignite Waterloo. Wow…was I nervous! I had 20 slides that auto-advanced every 15 seconds. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t say everything that I wanted to say in that 5 minutes, but I think my message got across. Take a look and let me know what you think!
The Power of an Apology
Recently I read an article/blog questioning “How Powerful is an Apology?” We all like to think that when we receive or give an apology, that some sort of healing takes place. In this study by a Dutch Psychologist, David De Cremer found that people over-estimated the value of an apology. In other words, the apology did not meet the expectations of those who was receiving the apology.
Conflict and Radiohead
The first time I listened to the new Radiohead album I was not having a great morning, I was tired, I was rushed, in other words, there were a lot of factors going on. The second time I listened I was more attentive, I was in a better mood, I was rested and ready to listen.
The Illusion Of Communication
This is a problem that I think we have all had at one time or another. You ask your wife to pick up Sally after school while she is reading a book. Or you tell your husband about that big work event that is coming up while he is watching his hockey game. Lo and behold, Sally doesn’t get picked up and your husband makes plans on the night of your big work event.
Are We hard-Wired For litigation?
I am currently reading “A is for Asshole: The ABC’s of Conflict Resolution” (Review coming soon) by Victoria Pynchon and one of the chapters is called “J is for Judge.” All of a sudden it hit me. We are hard-wired for litigation. We are hard-wired to want to go in front of a judge so that (s)he can pass down a ruling on our situation.
Why Listening Is Important
I spend a lot of time listening these days. I have to tell you, it’s awesome. I also am starting to write a fair amount about listening on this blog and on Twitter as well.
Fairly Legal Or Barely Ethical?
Over the past few months I have waited with baited breath for this show Fairly Legal to come to television. Many questions have passed through my mind (as well as other mediators, I’m sure) about how this show is going to portray mediation. And finally it debuted on U.S. airwaves last week with USA Network (watch it here). There was a lot of lead up to this show, rallies and online games. While I live in Canada, I could not watch the premiere of the show…but I did follow along the live Twitter stream (hashtag: #Fairlylegal) and found that there was an interesting response.
We All Have A Story To Tell
As a mediator, I get the privilege of hearing others stories. We all have one, some are similar, but all are unique. We learn a lot from stories, we can learn plenty about others (ex. who they are, where their from, what they do, etc.) and we can find out where we came from and where we want to go