Managing Conflict with Ease

That’s a contradiction in terms. When I was a boy, my brother and I would get into arguments over some dumb thing or another. Rather than having us talk the issue out, our Dad would make us put on boxing gloves, then take us out in the backyard where we would duke it out. Since I was three years older than my brother, I won every argument.

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8 Ways to Appreciate Our Country

At the end of the sixties, I was a young college student, the Vietnam War was finally ending, and I had the opportunity to leave the country and venture to France. On my first weekend in the north of France, a large group of us decided to ride our bikes from Lille to Dunkirk. After traveling over 100 kilometers to our destination, we parked our bikes and ran down to the beach to relax. As we walked down the beach, we noticed a large hill of sand

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Are You Chasing Rabbits?

We are sending ourselves messages. Often we don’t receive them until it is too late. A couple of weeks ago, I had blocked out an entire Friday to write an article for a magazine. Just as I got into the car, my cell phone rang. It was the dentist reminding me of my appointment that was to occur in ten minutes. Because it had been awhile since seeing the dentist, I decided to keep my 8:00 a.m. appointment. Somewhat frustrated and numb, I returned home to pick up my laptop and head to the library. Big mistake! As I pulled up to...

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Are You Using the Magic Words?

Recently a vice president of human resources shared with me that he had been approached by another senior executive who was having trouble with a particular employee. When he asked her what the problem was, the other executive informed him that her employee was just not doing the work that was required. In response to her query he asked her, “Are you using the magic words?” Somewhat puzzled she answered, “I guess not because nothing has changed.” Then she asked, “If you don’t mind sharing, what are the magic words?”

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How Do You Avoid Playing the Blame Game?

When my second son graduated from high school with honors we were very proud of him. When all the celebration and fanfare were over, I asked him, “If there was one thing that you could do over, what would you do differently?” He responded, “I would have ignored all the blame and criticism from my coaches and just gone out and played my game.”

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How Do You Change Your Stories?

Everyone has a story. Sometimes the story we tell becomes an explanation for why we don’t achieve the results that we want. The first challenge is to notice the stories we tell. The second challenge is to change our story so that what we speak about moves us to create what we want. Changing one’s story is not easy because the best stories are true, and they usually describe things for how they currently exist. We become additionally challenged because once we see things in a particular way, we have difficulty seeing them any differently.

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12 Ways to Connect with Millennial Employees

This summer has been a new learning experience for me.--this is the first time in a number of years where my two oldest sons returned home to work and live. I must admit that I have not been forced to relate with these two twenty-somethings for such an extended time in such close quarters.

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Cues for Connecting with People from Different Generations

Recently a college professor friend of mine told me that one of his younger students would not confront him directly about the struggles that he was having with his class. However, the student did send my friend a private Twitter message that he was needing his help. He replied to the student’s tweet with a tweet of his own inviting the student to come to see him the next day at a specific time during his office hours. Only then did the student

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10 Tips for Creating a Culture of Candor

When I was in college, I had a roommate who had a goal to eat a bicycle. Every evening he would take out a file and file himself a teaspoon of bike. In the morning he would place the shavings in his cereal which he ate. During the year that I lived with him, he managed to eat half of his bike.

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12 Questions for Increasing Loyalty through Leadership

May 1st in the United States was Loyalty Day. It is a day when citizens acknowledge and affirm their allegiance to the country and to their heritage of American freedom. The U.S. Congress designated May 1st as Loyalty Day on July 18, 1958. This year’s annual observance gave me cause to reflect on the loyalty that leaders and employees have to each other. One of my clients recently finished their analysis of the annual employee opinion survey and discovered that if employees had the opportunity to take another job they would do so. The survey also identified that upper management was aloof or estranged from their team members. It isn’t hard to interpret that the lack of connection among leaders and their teams or the individuals who work for them would result in various forms of discontent that would impact morale and performance. This situation seems to be even more prevalent today as more emphasis is placed on the bottom line and less on the manager-employee relationship.

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How to Achieve Recognition Through Results

A friend of mine recently told me about a conversation he had with his brother, who he was coaching through some difficult times. His brother had recently been promoted from the field into a corporate setting because of his excellent work. My friend’s brother expressed his frustration at how unimaginative his co-workers were and how they were always making mistakes. The brother went on about how unwilling everyone seemed to be about listening to his ideas or following his advice.

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Healing Relationships During the Holidays

The holiday season is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends to celebrate and share time together. However, it’s all too common that when families get together, someone does or says something that offends another family member. Perhaps someone makes a comment about the poor manners of another family member’s children. Or perhaps someone comments on what ugly apparel their spouse is wearing. Maybe someone protests forcefully when another suggests an activity that everyone should go out together to do. Whatever the issue, the filters come down, people blame one another, make rude comments, and offer unwanted advice that causes other family members to take offense.

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