Establishing Great Mentoring Partnerships

By Tenny Mickey, PhD

It has been proven that people in organizations who are receptive to positive mentoring enhance their performance faster, enjoy more positive exposure, and appear to enjoy their work better than those who are not. Effective mentors also derive great pleasure from supporting others as they advance their careers. A relationship built on trust and respect creates a secure and safe environment for mentoring to take place. It is often confounding when thinking about why more people are not involved actively in mentoring relationships. I will discuss some of the challenges related to developing and sustaining a positive mentoring relationship in this article. Also, I believe that mentoring between two people must be a partnership. In this article, I will make references to the terms “mentor”, ” person being mentored”, and “mentoring partnership.”

First, I believe a mentor is someone who has a deeper level of experience in organizations. By this definition, the critical factor is the experience the mentor enjoys in a specific area. Many people make the mistake of believing a mentor must necessarily be older with many years of experience. I have found many people who have developed specific levels of expertise early in their careers are equally experienced. Some early career mentors have displayed a knack for a specific skill, an interest, and has taken the opportunity to deepen their skills in a specific professional area. So, let’s be more open as to whom will be the best mentor for specific needs and interests. As seen with the ubiquitous opportunities to upskill through technology usage, one’s skill-set is not necessarily a function of one’s age or interest in mentoring others.

An important behavior for a mentor is the willingness to share knowledge and experiences in a manner that supports the growth aspirations of the person being mentored. A mentor is super interested in the success of the person they are mentoring. The mentor must be experienced enough to help the person being mentored clarify their interests, set goals, and develop a process to achieve those goals. A mentor should also have a greater sense of how their experience and your goals will impact future organizational decisions. Throughout the mentoring partnership, the mentor should have broad enough experiences to support the person being mentored as they work through challenges that will no-doubt emerge as their knowledge increases and roles advance.

The mentor’s responsibility is to create a relationship that gives room and space for the person being mentored to learn. A common mistake occurs when people believe mentoring is about teaching how things should be done. Successful mentors rely upon their effective listening skills as indicative of their respect, caring for, and a genuine interest in the other person… the building blocks of trust.

The above foundational pointers suggest that the mentor and person they are mentoring should establish the ground rules for the mentoring partnership at the very beginning. Together, they must decide if the relationship will have a formal arrangement, an informal one, or a combination of these two. The mentoring partners should also discuss what each believes will describe an effective and comfortable mentoring partnership. They should be clear on the amount of time each person will be able to commit to the relationship. By having this conversation first, each partner in the relationship will gain a sense of the other’s needs and expectations. With this understanding, each partner will be able to have meaningful conversations when the relationship is not going as expected.

SUCCESSFUL MENTORING

Successful mentors must realize that mentorship is all about meeting the person they are mentoring where they are…currently. It is a key factor that the mentor should listen fully …question deeply… solve at the root! This means mentors should focus on the critical areas of the problem expressed by the person being mentored. One can only do this by listening fully. When questioning, it is important to realize that the mentor’s interest is not always the optimal solution to the problem. It is often sufficient to make sure the person being mentored is focused on the right problem to solve. Also, is this the right priority on which to focus at this time? Often asking questions will yield new processes to use when examining new problems. Effective questioning also allows the mentor to tell stories of how situations of this type have occurred and been solved in their career.

It is very easy to fall into the trap of “SOLUTIONEERING.” Mentors have many points of experience to rely upon when helping their mentoring partners find solutions. It is often tempting to provide a ready solution that is based upon the mentor’s experiences. Great mentoring however suggests that the person being mentored will “learn how to fish” when working with their mentor. Mentors are best when they share anecdotes that mirror the person being mentored experiences. In this manner, the information is more likely to be remembered and applied more appropriately in the situation being discussed. This will also encourage the formation of broad principles that might govern future situations. It is very important in the partnership that sharing information is equal. This is helpful for the mentor to listen more than telling. For the person being mentored, this can create psychological safety in that they feel equally able to express challenges and propose solutions.

Mentors also validate and allow their partners to gain confidence in their ability to make decisions. This is sometimes achieved by feeding back, and sometimes expanding on, what the mentor has heard the person being mentored say. Sometimes people have a great hunch about the right solution, but when hearing it being rephrased by their mentor, clarity and confidence increase. This method also allows the mentor to provide a framework that helps to organize thinking, develop future processes, and build increasing confidence in how they approach solutions.

FEEDBACK

Effective feedback is a vital aspect of the mentoring partnership. How feedback is provided and received is extremely important. There are several factors to keep in mind when giving or receiving feedback. The following checklist helps members of the mentoring partnership keep this in mind:

• Always have the best interest of the mentoring partnership outcomes in mind
• Always balance improvement needs and positive feedback
• Observe each other’s thoughts and reactions with positive interest and curiosity
• Focus on facts and behaviors rather than emotions and personal attributes
• Acknowledge and summarize each other’s contributions when responding
• Provide feedback in a supportive way
• Strike a balance between being too friendly and too formal
• Ask probing questions to learn deeply and to stimulate alternative thinking processes

EMPATHY

Empathy is a key element in the mentoring partnership. As mentors question deeply and listen intently, they should focus on a deeper understanding of the obstacles. More importantly, when “drilling down” is the ability to display empathy. The questions should be balanced to (1) provide insights about the situation but with the realization of (2) how the other person in the partnership is experiencing the situation. This is a good practice to adopt when dealing not only in the mentoring partnership but also in other situations at work. It is important for the mentor and the person being mentored to experience and share the value of empathy.

QUESTIONS

A mentor should ask questions that are stimulating, meaningful, and impactful. Marshall Goldsmith, the coaches coach, always suggests that mentors start with the end in mind. The mentor is then able to focus on the “ask” and thereby guide the coaching relationship with the end-point in mind.

Another great question is to ask “what is it that you need right now?“ This helps you understand how you might be most supportive. It’s so easy to jump into giving advice based on your experiences. Is that what the person being mentored needs? Do they want your advice? Do they need an advocate? Or do they need just a “…you got this!!”

Discourage people in your mentoring partnership from asking solicitous questions. Often, the person being mentored becomes vulnerable and chooses to show others their capabilities. Don’t bite…rather, encourage them to come up with tougher questions. They are not in this relationship to charm their mentor, but rather to become vulnerable, share, learn, and grow.

Many people in mentoring partnerships will focus on their career advancement. It is important to understand what is driving this interest. Is it a passing fantasy…something that feels exciting at the moment? Is it something they are thinking about as a career end-point? Is it a way of seeking personal prominence among their workmates? Is it a career choice that feels prestigious or profitable? This is a very important place in which a mentor can help them “dial it back” by plotting the path carefully that will yield longer-term satisfaction.

Asking about taking personal time for reflection and rest is another important element of mentoring. It is important to know that personal balance is very important for success in all aspects of life and work. Many people being mentored believe it is more important to deliver an energetic appearance as a reflection of their strong work capabilities. It is key to practice and to emphasize that rest and reflection are also key factors. Your first job should be as much about you proving yourself as about you understanding yourself, getting a better idea of your strengths and how you can prove yourself in an arena that you love later on.”

It is essential that the mentee and the mentor mutually agree that the content of their discussions will be kept confidential. This will enable the person to be mentored to explore preliminary ideas before sharing them with a wider audience. It is also helpful when expressing doubts and reservations without having to be afraid of any consequences in other situations.

Lastly, it is critical to evaluate the progress of the mentoring partnership as the most important aspect of each meeting. This information gained will be useful in honing the effectiveness of the partnership.

Establish Great MENTORING PARTNERSHIPS!!

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2020

Tenny Mickey, Ph.D. is a Senior Consultant with Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC. As a Leadership & Organizational Psychologist, & Executive Coach, Tenny helps LEADERS improve their effectiveness. She relies upon her successful work as an officer in 3 Fortune 50 organizations (News Corporation, Disney, and Compaq) & 16 years of effective Organizational & Leadership Consulting. Additionally, each of her academic achievements, ranging from ( a Historical Black College & University) Huston-Tillotson University (BA), (Ivy League) Harvard University (EdM), and (Professional Psychology) Fielding Graduate University (M.A. & PhD) has contributed to the knowledge, respect & understanding she relies upon to support individual success. She is further stimulated and inspired to gain “new knowledge” each day. Feel free to contact Tenny through tennym@lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code”, “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Our Sino-Am Leadership Program helps executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit, https://lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.  We also have an affiliate in the UK who covers all of Europe so we are now a true multi-national company that can support our clients globally.

Finding Inspiration During Tough Times

By Dana D. Borowka, MA & Ellen W. Borowka, MA

It’s so easy to get caught up with the news, lack of business, cash flow forecasting, etc. So, we are at a crossroads… do we sit down and ruminate about the dire situation we find ourselves in? Or do we rise higher… together to find answers and inspiration – not only to help our own families, companies, communities but also our nation, our world. This is a unique time where we all are facing the same situation… across the globe. We are all in the same boat. Though for some people… this will hit harder than for others. What do we do? Where do we go? Moving forward also means learning from others. We recently did a Covid-19 poll with our clients and we share those insights as well as some ideas for finding our way during this difficult time.

Moving Forward with Fear

Stewart Emory once said, “The absence of fear is not an option that is available to most people. People are looking for that, but that is just not an option. The difference between people who are really making it in the world and the people who are not is simple: The people who are making it in the world are making it and they have fear.” He then continues, “To go forward we need to make the growth choice. The fear choice is to retreat to comfort and avoid the fear. The growth choice is to take fear as a companion and move ahead. To have a life that is a joyful adventure, we need to be willing to take the risk. Courage is the willingness to be afraid and act anyway.” We can’t eliminate fear, but we can find ways to manage it so we can move forward on to do the things we have to do. We will address fear more later in this article.

Inspiration Leads to Finding Answers

I was raised in both Judaism and Christian Science. What a mix, huh?! Yet both go hand in hand when having to deal with difficult times and finding ideas to keep inspired. I woke up one morning during my high school days wondering what kind of job I should look for during the summer. I had been reading a bible lesson from the Christian Science Church and the topic that week included ideas about supply. One of the bible stories shared was when Jesus fed over 5,000 people. They had gone to hear him speak and share inspiring ideas. They went to get inspiration and insights about their spiritual selves and not for the sake of being fed. As a matter of fact, they had no idea that anyone would feed them… other than filling their need for ideas about God. I was so moved by this idea of gathering ideas for inspiration. The next thing that happened was that my phone rang. It was my Sunday School teacher who worked for her son in the travel industry. They were wondering if I would be interested in being trained to be a tour manager and lead groups across the country. This turned out to be an amazing opportunity to meet a lot of people and to have fun and travel the US and Canada. It was interesting to me how this prospect came about. I was first inspired by what others did when they went to hear Jesus speak and they were fed. When I read and studied this bible passage, I too was fed by fulfilling a human need. It all happened so fast. Insight, inspiration and my summer need for a job was met.

Finding Connection

In today’s time, we all need to turn somewhere for inspiration and ideas whether it’s visiting with friends, support groups, round table, associations, temple or church groups, CE/Key Executive groups such as Vistage. No matter what it is, you want to be around people that can support others and to lift everyone up.

An Invitation

I’d like to invite anyone who would like to join a Wednesday evening Christian Science testimony meeting that is held via Zoom. I just started to attend them and have found so many ideas that have lifted up my spirit. These meetings consist of readings from the Bible and from the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy who founded the religion many years ago as well as some singing and prayer. Half of the meeting is spent with the meeting participants sharing what they have learned during the week from their study of the Bible and through prayer. The ideas are practical and useful filled with lots of take-aways. The meetings are on Wednesdays 7:30 pm PT and only last an hour. If you are interested in attending, please let me know and I’ll get a zoom link to you. See further in the article for more ideas for finding peace.

Ideas for Inspiration

Change is in the Air: It is good time to consider the following quote from Albert Einstein: “The significant problems we have today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.” We need to be receptive to consider how we have done things in the past and when things need to change in order to stay current. Remember the Rolodex cards? Even the good old fashioned light pole is being changed out for the more modern version that does not pollute, uses solar electricity, notifies central headquarters through a wireless device when it needs service, and is quicker and less expensive to install.

A Strategy with Stress: We all need to deal with one key element of miscommunication… stress! If we are just reacting without a strategy or a tactic to execute then we are doing no better than running in circles. Stress or “fear” can cause us to shut down and reduce our capacity to listen. An excellent team exercise to understand how stress manifests within the work environment is to have the team members draw a picture of what each person feels they look like when under stress and write out some key attributes when staff members are under pressure and when they are feeling relaxed. Here are some questions to facilitate a discussion: How do your team members manage stress? Do your team members support each other when under pressure? What would be helpful when under stress? If you’d like us to do a lunch time remote workshop entitled, Thinking Clearly or…Is Stress Getting In Your Way? Please let us know… it’s fun, engaging with lots of take-aways.

Be Like an Ostrich: The old tale that ostriches bury their head in the sand just isn’t true. What they are really doing is resting their heads on the ground which allows them to pick up on vibrations so if a predator is near by they can protect themselves. Ostriches are actually excellent listeners! We all need to be like an ostrich and become outstanding listeners. One way to develop your listening skills is to practice active listening where you paraphrase what you think the other person is saying to you. Another thing to do – listen to your heart and soul for inspiration. You might get some great ideas from that still small voice inside.

Get to Know Who You are Dealing With: Stephen Covey said, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Part of this is to try to understand the people around you. One way to do that is to identify three key traits for each of your team members. Look for commonalities and develop a strategy for how to approach each person in order to communicate in a way that is most effective for everyone.

Create a Communications Plan: Here is a team exercise to focus on communication – briefly answer the following questions:

a. How do you listen… if at all?
b. What are three things that haven’t worked for you when communicating in the past?
c. What are three things that have worked?
d. What would you like your team members to do that they aren’t doing?
e. What are some baby steps to improve your listening and communication style?

Communication and empathy are crucial to developing a successful interpersonal relationship. The more you reach out with a plan in mind that is based on listening and openness, the more ideas will flow to you on how to best manage up and manage down.

We also have a fun workshop on this topic – let us know if you would like to know more about it.

Managing Fear

Fear or stress can feel overwhelming. So, how can we manage it better? The following are some articles on getting a handle on fear, so you can think clearly:

Are You Prepared to Lead the Way – or Has Fear Got Your Focus?
https://lighthouseconsulting.com/prepared-lead-or-fear-focus/

12 Tips on How to Think Clearly and Not Let Fear Control You
https://lighthouseconsulting.com/think-clearly-not-let-fear-control/

Overcoming Fear to Grow by Paul D Walker
https://lighthouseconsulting.com/overcoming-fear-to-grow/

Feeling Burdened?
https://lighthouseconsulting.com/feeling-burdened/

Deeply Prepared People Create Their Own Weather by Larry Wilson
https://lighthouseconsulting.com/deeply-prepared-people-create-weather/

Preparing Your Thought for the Day by Paul D Walker
https://lighthouseconsulting.com/preparing-your-thought-for-the-day/

Finding Peace

Tools for Difficult Times from Unity Church
https://www.unity.org/resources/tools-difficult-times
http://www.dailyword.com/

Temple Menorah
http://templemenorah.org/

Temple Beth Sholom
https://www.tbsmb.org

The People of the United Methodist Church
https://www.umc.org/en
First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica
https://santamonicaumc.org/

ST. MONICA CATHOLIC COMMUNITY
https://stmonica.net/

Daily Lift from Christian Science Church
https://www.christianscience.com/christian-healing-today/daily-lift

Headspace (meditation app) is offering, for a limited time, free subscriptions to 1) anyone who is unemployed (https://www.headspace.com/unemployed) and 2) anyone who lives in LA County (https://help.headspace.com/hc/en-us/articles/360046874573-Headspace-for-Los-Angeles-County-Residents). They also have a 2 week trial period.

Calm is also a great app – https://www.calm.com/ . They have a variety of meditations on youtube, free resources (https://blog.calm.com/blog/free-resources) and a trial period.

Lighthouse meditation workshop – We also have a remote meditation workshop. If you would like to talk further about any of these topics, please give us a call.

We hope this helps you to find some peace and support.

Covid-19 Poll – Lessons from our Clients

Finally, we recently took a Covid-19 poll to see what lessons our clients have learned during this difficult time. We would love to hear your ideas too…just email us at reception@lighthouseconsulting.com. Here are some of the responses:

1. What is the most important lesson you or your business learned?

• Our employees care more than we thought and are more loyal than we expected.
• Can’t take any time together for granted. Appreciate all the little things that make us a team.
• Importance of reserves and diversification
• Something we already knew but anchored with the pandemic is the ability to work from anywhere including home. We pivoted almost all if not all of our 4000+ employees to be able to work remotely including call centers within 2 weeks.
• Be Flexible and be ready to adjust at moment’s notice—In other words: Always have a disaster plan in mind
• I can operate much cheaper than I was operating.
• To react quickly. We got the PPP loan because we were first in line. There is no time for procrastination in today’s world.

2. What one thing do you or your business wish had been done differently?

• Laid them off immediately, subject to recall.
• Dealt with employee issues prior to COVID
• Relationship with smaller bank … Wells was not responsive at all to our needs when required.
• I wish the country had not been shut down.
• Wish I had realized how serious this was earlier in the process
• I have never been an early adopter of anything but I wish I had gotten on the Zoom train sooner.
• I wish we had been more prepared for the turnaround time between the PPP loan and furloughing people right afterwards.

3. What one thing did you or your business do that turned out to be a really smart move?

• Struggle, work hard and become debt-free over the past years.
• Managed IT and Cloud services
• Took time to develop personal relationships with customers. Salesmen instructed to avoid discussing business and simply get to know customer on deeper level.
• We kept masks around since day 1 so that when customers come in we can put them on and make the customer feel better.
• Learned to use ZOOM—wish I had stock in them.
• Furloughed staff quickly and then was able to call back for a month with PPP
• Keep marketing through the troughs. There are still plenty of prospects buying.
• We had the right technology to go virtual very quickly. We also added some new things into our days to keep us connected and engaged. For instance, we started a book club and its been a smashing success. We also created a Weekly Work Log so that we could see what people were doing at home and find out what successes they had and what they were struggling with.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2020 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO and Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC with their organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your business”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. They have over 25 years of business and human behavioral consulting experience. They are nationally renowned speakers and radio personalities on this topic. They are the authors of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” , “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, extension 403, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Our Sino-Am Leadership Program helps executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit, http://lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.

We also have an affiliate in the UK who covers all of Europe so we are now a true multi-national company that can support our clients globally.

What Does It Take to Bring More Peace Into Your Life and Others?

By Larry Cassidy, Bob Dabic, Tom Drucker, Ken Keller, Gary Lockwood, Don Pierro, Boaz Rauchwerger, George Walker, Paul David Walker and Lighthouse
By Petr Kratochvil

By Petr Kratochvil

With the many local/national/global events that we are constantly confronted with, we thought we would ask some well respected business and thought leaders the following question, What Does It Take to Bring More Peace Into Your Life and Others?  I think you will find their responses to be very interesting, thought provoking and helpful. We’d love to hear from you as to what your thoughts are on this subject, so please email us at dana@lighthouseconsulting.com. We have also included some ideas at the end of the article on stress management, preparing your thought for the day and mindfulness/meditation.

What does peace mean to you?

Larry Cassidy: When I am at peace, what I am doing, how I am acting and who I am are all aligned with my core values: Be yourself, be trustworthy, do what is right, do your best, never quit, build bridges for others, be kind, love without getting tired and have faith. When I am uneasy, uncomfortable out-of-sorts, it is most often because I am not in sync with my core values. The question which keeps me centered is: In this situation, who will I be?

And when I am at peace, I am in harmony with my circumstances and with others in my life. I am less concerned with a “balanced life” – which implies a constant struggle to rebalance – and more committed to being in harmony.

Bob Dabic: Living as stress free as possible.

Tom Drucker: For years I’ve thought of peace in my life as a state of being. Some call this “inner peace”. I first learned meditation when I was undergraduate at UCLA. About the same time, I learned to control migraine headaches through bio-feedback training. The biggest challenge I have is to remember to keep the experience of gratitude in the foreground and sit still 4-5 times a day. Noticing my breathing helps a lot as well. I’ve learned how to bring “the experience of being peaceful” into my life even when I’m in amidst of an environment that is not necessarily peaceful or calm. It is important to distinguish this state of being for others so I’m not perceived as being disinterested or disconnected from the circumstances around me. I find when I use “this practice” I have a different reaction to the circumstances. I often see more creative options and I come at solving problems in a way I might have not noticed previously. At other times being peaceful just helps me become a better listener because I filter out most of my pre-conceived perceptions.

By Devanath (pixabay)

By Devanath (pixabay)

Ken Keller: Knowing that your loved ones are secure, healthy and happy.

Gary Lockwood: For me, it means a calmness in my head and heart that is not interrupted (much) by negative imagination (worry).

Don Pierro: What peace means to me is appreciating the good things.

Boaz Rauchwerger: Peace to me means doing what we can to make those we love and care about feel important and safe on a regular basis.

George Walker: Peace starts with the absence of conflict but goes beyond that to a quiet certainty that everything happens for the best in the long run.

Paul David Walker: Peace beyond anything I can say exists in the present moment. When we let go of all the frameworks we set-up to protect ourselves, a child-like joy fills our hearts. This joy comes from our essence, which can be covered, but never lost. Once we rediscover this, and let the Life Force enliven our true essence every step is peace. We walk through the world in a deeply authentic manner seeing things as they are, instead of what we think they are.

What do you do to bring peace into your life and others?

Larry Cassidy: For myself, I test what I am doing and who I am being against my values, and adjust. As much as possible, I try to be “in the moment,” to be curious, to listen and to ask rather than tell.

My commitment to others is to offer them respect, to tell them the truth, to believe in and support their hopes and dreams, to love them for who they are and, by being a part of their life, help them to be an even better version of themselves.

By ADARIFLIMAT (pixabay)

By ADARIFLIMAT (pixabay)

Bob Dabic: In addition to praying, I do mini-meditations during the day when I feel stressed (these are 10-second timeouts where I visualize my “peaceful place” and then tell myself my one-sentence affirmation statement (this was learned from a Vistage speaker, Steven Snyder).

Tom Drucker: I’m fortunate that my work of coaching leaders and their teams often allows me to bring order, clarity, meaning, and purpose into the lives of others. I learned early in my life when I was studying with Viktor Frankl that when a person found meaning in their life, they were often at peace. I find this to be as true today as I ever did. This connection with people also brings me inner peace and fulfillment. I’m also fortunate to live with a woman I deeply love. Relationships, while they do take intentionality and effort, bring me a deep source of inner peace and fulfillment. The greatest peace I find is when we are making a contribution to others, so that our relationship and what we do in the world is in some small way making a difference to others and the world that is in need.

Ken Keller: For me, it’s the small things in life that show you care and have listened.

For my wife, it is bringing home a cup of coffee after our long day. I also leave her quarters so she has something to tip her friends at Starbucks in the morning. It means emptying the dishwasher in the morning after I have started the coffee, and making the bed.

For my son and daughter-in-law, it means being available to them when they ask for our help and knowing they are strong for each other and not interfering with their life together.

For our two granddaughters, it means being an example for them and showing unconditional love and support, which can be anything from taking them to IHOP for pancakes, reading a book with them or taking them for a drive for ice cream, laughing all the way.

Gary Lockwood: The way I try to achieve this is: 1) Decide each morning that I’m going to be happy today and that today is going to be a good day. 2) Look for the positive in all situations and in all people.

Don Pierro: What I do to bring Peace is to forgive and send and receive love.

Boaz Rauchwerger: To bring peace into my life I make sure that I have some quiet time on a daily basis. I also like to read biographies, which help take me out of my world and teach me how others have achieved greatness in their lives. I make an effort to bring peace to others by being genuinely interested in them and being a very good listener.

George Walker: Find time for quiet introspection [could be called meditation or prayer]. Be a calm reassuring presence when others are in turmoil – just be there for them.

Paul David Walker: This understanding is the first phase in my work with leaders and individuals. We must know ourselves first, as many prophets and wise people have said over the centuries.

By John Hain

By John Hain

We hope you have gained some wonderful ideas for finding and expanding peace in your life. I have been learning about meditation and mindfulness to focus on the moment – to be fully present. Recently, I saw a segment about Andy Whitfield who had a difficult and heart breaking battle with cancer. One way that he and his wife came to terms with his situation is to get tattoos that said, “Be Here Now”. I find those words to be so helpful. Whenever I’m doing something – whether a walk, folding laundry, etc. I try to stay in the moment with those words and focusing completely on the sensations, the moment, the breath of whatever I’m doing. It is so easy to let the mind wander off and we can’t really appreciate all that is happening in the moment. If I get off track… I say those words to myself: Be Here Now.

– Ellen Borowka, MA, Lighthouse Consulting Services

Here are some other ways to find and expand your peace:

Stress management ideas
https://lighthouseconsulting.com/managing-stress/
https://lighthouseconsulting.com/feeling-burdened/

Preparing Your Thought for the Day by Paul David Walker
https://lighthouseconsulting.com/preparing-your-thought-for-the-day/

MARC (UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center)
Great ideas for guided meditation/mindfulness – be sure to check out their video for introduction to meditation
http://marc.ucla.edu/default.cfm?id=1

For a limited time, Headspace (meditation app) is offering free subscriptions to 1) anyone who is unemployed (https://www.headspace.com/unemployed) and 2) anyone who lives in LA County (https://help.headspace.com/hc/en-us/articles/360046874573-Headspace-for-Los-Angeles-County-Residents).

Calm is also a great app, they have a variety of meditations on youtube and free resources too (https://blog.calm.com/blog/free-resources).  Hope this helps you to find some peace and support.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2020 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Larry Cassidy has been a Group Chair with Vistage International (formerly TEC International) for over 28 years. He works monthly with more than 40 Southern California executives, in two chief executive groups and one group of key executives. Larry has facilitated over 1400 executive advisory group meetings, and has participated with chief executives in over 13,000 coaching discussions regarding all aspects of their businesses. Larry has received recognition for his work as a Group Chair, including multiple Chair Excellence Awards, the Star Award, designation as a Master Chair, and the Don Cope Award, the highest recognition given to active Chairs. You can contact Larry by phone (714) 424-9443 (work) or email larry.cassidy@vistagechair.com.

Bob Dabic is a “Master Chair” (business/life coach) of Vistage Chief Executive & Key Executive Groups in the California Counties of Orange, Los Angeles & Riverside, a “Best Practice Chair” responsible for chairs & members in the Los Angeles area, & a Lead Trainer of new & existing chairs. In addition, Bob is CEO (Coaching Excellence Officer) of DabiCoaching, a multi-purpose coaching/training/consulting company. In this role, Bob will also do coaching of clients, as well as conduct numerous workshops on the topics of: vision/mission/values creation, strategic planning, goal setting, leadership, communication, delegation, finance, selling, process improvement (TQM), and career development planning. Prior to taking on the above roles, Bob was a successful owner, president & CEO of several airport and aerospace equipment design & manufacturing companies over a 30-year period. For the last 6½ years in the day-to-day operating role, he was a member of a Vistage CEO group. Bob was also director of marketing for an alarm manufacturer and worked in a sales role with Xerox Corporation right after graduating from California State University at Long Beach with a B.S. Degree in Business Administration/ Marketing. Please feel free to contact Bob at (949) 376-8600 or bob.dabic@vistagechair.com.

Tom Drucker is President of Consultants in Corporate Innovation and Vice President of Transitioning to Green. He is unique because he integrates the principles of positive psychology and advances in Mindfulness with best practices of global business, including Sustainability and Innovation. Today he serves as a trusted advisor on Innovation, Sustainability, Leadership and Governance to owners and leaders of every type and size of business: helping them grow profits, solve people and business problems, bringing new ideas to market by designing off sites and strategic planning sessions or having really powerful conversations. He began his business career working directly for the Chairman of Xerox Corporation (the only person who could keep Tom away from the beach for 15 years). During that time, he ran a global division focused on developing strategies and designing new leadership models for the corporation that Xerox is today. Tom received his first graduate degree in Clinical Psychology from UCLA while working with and being mentored by Viktor Frankl in Vienna and then by Abraham Maslow, who Tom says, pushed him to go to UCLA’s business school. There he pursued a PhD studying Change Management, his dissertation was on which leadership style was best to sustain long-term organizational change. You can contact Tom by email tom@corporateinnovation.com or phone 310-306-2066.

Ken Keller is a syndicated business columnist focused on the leadership needs of small and midsize closely held companies. Feel free to email Ken at kenkeller@sbcglobal.net or call or text at 661-645-7086.

Gary Lockwood specializes in helping Chief Executives, entrepreneurs and business professionals achieve breakthroughs in their business. Contact Gary at 951-642-9576 or Gary@BizSuccess.com.

Don Pierro has been coaching and consulting to leaders and teams in businesses and non-profits for more than thirty years. He was the owner and president of three private companies in three different industries all of which were successfully developed and acquired by larger firms. In 2004, Don founded Empower Lab Coaching Group to fully engage his passion for catalyzing leaders to create a strategic vision and inspiring them to accomplish it. Don is a Chair with Vistage International providing mentoring and facilitation for peer advisory groups of CEO’s and business owners. He has been successful across a variety of industries and professions facilitating change and leadership development. Don is a board certified coach with the Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE), and a certified transformational trainer with the Leadership Training and Development Group (LTDG). His education includes a Masters Degree in Leadership from Azusa Pacific University, a Coro Fellowship in Public Sector Leadership, and a BA in economics from UCLA. You can contact Don by phone 626-385-7155 or email don.pierro@vistagechair.com.

Boaz Rauchwerger is an internationally-known speaker, author, consultant and author. A former television producer, newscaster, and advertising executive, he is the Speaker of the Year for Vistage International, the world’s largest organization of CEOs. Feel free to contact Boaz by phone 619-723-3007 or email BoazPower@aol.com.

George Walker, Vistage Chair [Coach for Business Owners and Executives] with extensive experience as an operations manager [oil refining] and a corporate executive [health environment safety and public policy for Fortune 500 Integrated Oil Company] Specialties: Working with business owners to take their businesses to the next level, Dealing with diverse stakeholders on environmental issues, organizational design, hiring the right people, setting goals collaboratively to maximize success of the enterprise. An engineer by education, George had a 36 year career with Unocal. He spent 24 years in the refining division followed by 12 years as a corporate officer. He retired from Unocal as Vice President for Public Policy, Health, Environment & Safety. After retirement from Unocal, George had consulting assignments with the Nature Conservancy and Pacific Gas & Electric. Now, he devotes his time and energy to coaching business owners – helping them to grow their businesses and find work/life balance. He uses the Vistage model that involves Group Meetings as well as individual coaching sessions. You can contact George by phone (310) 990-9003 or email george.walker@vistagechair.com.

Paul David Walker, CEO and Founder of Genius Stone Partners, is one of the early innovators of leadership consulting and coaching at the executive level. For more than thirty years, he has successfully guided the CEOs and senior executive teams of such Fortune 500 and mid-sized companies as New York Life, Mutual of Omaha, Chase GIS, Finance One, VONS Grocery, Pacific Mutual, Rockwell International, Conexant Systems, Harrods, Anne Klein, Union Pacific, StarKist, The City of Long Beach, Long Beach Fire Department, Culver Studios, Shout Factory, Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar, NTS, Archstone Foundation, The Queen Mary and many other thriving organizations. He is author of Invent Your Future-Starting With Your Calling and Unleashing Genius: Leading Yourself, Teams, and Corporations. He specializes in building teams of leaders committed to each other’s success and the success of the business. Feel free to contact Paul by email pauldavidwalker@geniusstone.com or his cell 562-233-7861.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code” please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Our Sino-Am Leadership Program helps executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit, https://lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.

Overcoming Fear to Grow

By Paul David Walker, CEO of Genius Stone Partners

Each insight is a flash of seeing into the true nature of things, and leads to another, providing you act on the first; if you don’t, the spark dies, and an opportunity is missed. Being in “the zone,” simply described, is one insight after another acted upon in the flow of cause and effect. It is like dancing in perfect harmony with a band. Dancing to the rhythm and flow of the moment brings out our soul’s calling and our natural genius, both of which have yearned to be expressed most of our lives.

As insight expands it can create momentum and turn into a compelling vortex that draws energy like a giant storm draws air. There is an attraction that brings in all manner of opportunities as people, near and far, see a familiar intent and join an energy field that feels like their tribe; like going home again.

The key to creating a chain response of insights is our ability to act in the moment before the flash of insight fades. A professional athlete has the muscle memory from years of practice in a given sport to respond in this manner. But can business teams do the same? Why not? Most have years of experience in their business. It is a matter of practicing the art of connecting insight to action as a basketball player responding during the flow of the game. A team of athletes has to practice so that when opportunity presents itself, it is ready to act as a team in a fast break. Likewise a business team needs to do the same. This is the kind of team that wins.

Fight or Flight Syndrome

On the other hand, when we are fearful, we move into “Fight or Flight.” This will be engaged when we are attacked on the street as well as when we feel threatened in a conversation. Our ego does not seem to know the difference. Any threat throws us into this syndrome automatically. It is a primal instinct that as been very useful to our survival ever since we lived in tribes.

What happens when we are in “fight or flight” is our blood runs from our internal organs to our arms and legs to give us power to run or fight. Additionally, our consciousness narrows to focus on the threat. So instead of being in “the zone,” as described above, the opposite occurs. Tribal warfare erupts and the wisdom of the team is lost.

As they are often threatened, police officers train at least twice a month on the firing range and in other ways mainly because of this syndrome. Given this primal instinct they and their weapons become dangerous. They have to work hard to overcome this primal instinct, to enforce the law in a constitutional manner. The people who live in underprivileged inner cities who are often exposed to random violence find themselves
in “fight or flight” constantly.

Experts have tested children as young 7 years old and find they suffer from PTSD. Police officers trying to enforce the law, in neighborhoods full of people who are hyper-vigilant easily snap into fight or flight, is a deadly combination. How productive would your team be if they were exposed to constant threat?

Insight Drives Results

An insight is a combination of two or more ideas merging to create a reality previously unknown, vs. two or more personal realities needing to be right while being fearful. One has an expansive, curious, and inclusive feeling. The observer and the observed becoming one to uncover new realities, paths, and understandings. Fear creates just the opposite effect.

Fight or flight combined with another primal instinct the “need to be right,” can create “tribal warfare” with your company or team. Imagine a team of people who feel threatened and have a deep need to be right trying to solve business problems together. Only with practice do we learn to manage our primal instincts, but do not underestimate the tricks our egos can play on us.

Stimulate Insight And Action, Not Fights

Leaders have to work to inspire people to exceed their own expectations without putting members of the team into fight or flight. A company only grows as fast as those leading the company. Great teams question the status quo, and collaborate to understand new realities, then act on solutions that lead to manifestation. Yet most people feel threatened by change, so it is imperative that leaders manage the state of mind of themselves and the team. One of the CEO’s I work with, Celso Pierre of Goodridge Americas, developed the following values for his team to facilitate growth.

We Work Together To …

• Bring a sense of possibility beyond the status quo
• Examine possibilities until solutions emerge
• Align our intentions to drive solutions

As this example illustrates, a clear and compelling picture of the desired state is important. It is an aspirational statement that provides an understanding and a draw towards the ideal. A picture of a common goal creates insight as we succeed or fail that is self-correcting in a positive manner. Insights that uncover hidden realities that are successfully acted upon create engagement. The purpose is for you and/or your team, as observer of the ideal, to become one with it, then create a new ideal. Since a leader must confront old ideas to grow, this takes practice and skill.

The assumption that fuels insight is understanding that there is no limit to what we can create together. As an individual, I find that if I capture insights as they occur, not letting them fade, and take action, even deeper insights emerge. To facilitate this I always have my journal at hand to capture, understand and expand insights before the clarity fades. I allow time in my schedule to reflect.

So when I work with a team I set a safe context to avoid fight or flight, while asking people to reflect on new ideas before acting. Likewise a team should have time as individuals to reflect in a safe environment with the purpose of discovering “possibility beyond the status quo.” Business leaders who make this a priority tend to lead their sectors.

The Habit of Reflection

After a success it is easy for us to fall back into old patterns and primal behaviors, as individuals and teams. So it is important that personal, professional and business growth is the default setting. Insight into the true nature of things followed by action invents futures that provide strategic advantage. To win consistently we have to teach each other, and those that follow us, how to create a state of mind around insight that is similar to athletes “in the zone.” Each time I learn something my state of mind is lifted and I become committed to new levels of action. The same is true with teams. When creating insight is a natural habit, higher states of mind will drive intent and performance at all levels.

Paul David Walker, CEO & Founder of Genius Stone Partners, and works with domestic and international companies to improve their bottom line today and planning for the future. Paul is one of the few CEO coaches who has worked with numerous Fortune 500 CEOs and their key staff members for over 25 years along with many mid-cap organizations. Some of the organizations that Paul has worked with include Star Kist Foods, Von’s Grocery Stores, New York Life, Anne Klein, Rockwell International countless manufacturing, global utilities, service and consulting organizations. Paul is the author of the best selling book, Unleashing Genius and his new book, Invent Your Future – 7 Imperatives for a 21st Century.  You can reach Paul at pauldavidwalker@geniusstone.com or call him at 562-233-7861.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2020 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code”, “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Our Sino-Am Leadership Program helps executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit, https://lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.  We also have an affiliate in the UK who covers all of Europe so we are now a true multi-national company that can support our clients globally.

 

The Power of Focus – Expand Insight into Action

By Paul David Walker

Each insight is a flash of seeing into the true nature of things, and leads to another, providing you act on the first, if you don’t the spark dies, and an opportunity is missed. Being in “the zone,” simply described is one insight after another, acted upon in the flow of cause and effect. It is like dancing in perfect harmony with a band. Dancing to the rhythm and flow of the moment brings out our souls’ calling, and our natural genius, both of which have yearned to be expressed most of our lives.

As insight expands it can create momentum and turn into a compelling vortex that draws energy like a giant storm draws air. There is an attraction that brings in all manner of opportunities as the worlds, near and far, see a familiar intent and join an energy field that feels like their tribe; like going home again.

The key to creating a chain response of insights is our ability to act in the moment before the flash of insight fades. A professional athlete has the muscle memory from years of practice in a given sport to respond in this manner. But can business teams do the same? Why not, most have years of experience in their business. It is a matter of practicing the art of connecting insight to action as a basketball player responding during the flow of the game. A team of athletes has to practice so that when opportunity presents itself it is ready to act as a team in a fast break. Likewise a business team needs to do the same.

Knowing The Difference

An insight is a combination of two or more ideas merging to create a reality previously unknown. It has an expansive, curious, and inclusive feeling, even if stimulated by reading a poem, or seeing a painting. The observer and the observed becoming one to uncover new realities, paths, and understandings.

When ideas come from stored memory they seem to be cloaked with a “need to be right,” which prevents merging and expansion. It is like pulling the answer out of the internet or our past, the feeling lacks wonder, unlike a true insight. Only with practice do we learn the difference, but do not underestimate the tricks our egos can play on us.

First We Become a Team

The first step is becoming a team committed to each others success that knows each person’s strengths, weaknesses and potential. Each member of the team is committed to helping unleash each team player’s potential, the potential of the team, and business. This creates a safe field for innovation and exploration. Each understands and have expertise in their roles, and those roles synchronize to form a team ready to build on insight and act upon opportunities uncovered. This is a healthy high performance team.

Stimulate Insight

Once you have a strong team, as described above, it is time to stimulate insight and action. To do this the leader and the team has to question the status quo, and collaborate to understand new realities, then act on solutions that lead to manifestation. One of the CEO’s I work with, Celso Pierre CEO of Goodridge Americas, developed the following values for his team.

We Work Together To …

•  Bring a sense of possibility beyond the status quo
•  Examine possibilities until solutions emerge
•  Align our intentions to drive solutions

As this example illustrates, a clear compelling picture of the desired state is important. It is an aspirational statement that provides an understanding and a draw towards the ideal. A picture of the goal creates insight as we succeed or fail that is self-correcting in a positive manner. Insights that uncover hidden realities that are successfully acted upon create engagement. The purpose is for you and/or your team, as observer of the ideal, to become one with it, then create a new ideal.

The assumption that fuels insight, is understanding that there is no limit to what we can create together. As an individual I find that if I capture insights as they occur, not letting them fade, and take action, even deeper insights emerge. To facilitate this I always have my journal at hand to capture, understand and expand insights before the clarity fades. I allow time in my schedule to reflect. Likewise a team should have time as individuals and a team to reflect with the purpose of discovering “possibility beyond the status quo.” Business leaders who make this a priority tend to lead their sectors.

The Habit of Reflection

After a success it is easy for us to fall back into old patterns, as individuals and teams. So it is important that personal, professional and business growth is the default setting. Insight into the true nature of things followed by action invents futures that provide strategic advantage. To win consistently we have to teach each other, and those that follow us how to create a state of mind around insight that is similar to athletes “in the zone.” Each time I learn something my state of mind is lifted and I become committed to new levels of action. The same is true with teams. When creating insight is a natural habit, higher states of mind will drive intent and performance at all levels.

“Here you will find a treasure trove of distinctions, tools, and models that will allow you to engage people in a way that naturally harmonizes and enhances working with others—and that in turn advances the mission and purpose of the organization. More than that, you will be introduced to the thinking that guides and directs our most advanced leaders. There are years of learning available in Invent Your Future. Do not be surprised when, in the days and months to come, you find yourself referencing this book. It’s that good.”  — John King, Bestselling Author of Tribal Leadership

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2020

Paul David Walker is a Senior LCS Consultant and one of the few CEO coaches who has worked with numerous Fortune 500 CEOs and their key staff members for over 25 years along with many mid-cap organizations. Some of the organizations that Paul has worked with include Star Kist Foods, Von’s Grocery Stores, New York Life, Anne Klein, Rockwell International countless manufacturing, global utilities, service and consulting organizations. Paul is the founder of Genius Stone Partners and works with domestic and international companies to improve their bottom line today and planning for the future. Paul is the author of the best selling books, Unleashing Genius and Invent Your Future – 7 Imperatives for a 21st Century. You can reach Paul at paul@pauldavidwalker.com or call him at 562-233-7861.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code”, “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Our Sino-Am Leadership Program helps executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit, https://lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.

We also have an affiliate in the UK who covers all of Europe so we are now a true multi-national company that can support our clients globally.

Dealing with Loss & Change in Your Life

By Ellen Borowka

We face loss and change frequently in our lives whether it is a death in the family, losing a job or change in life cycle like retiring or moving out on one’s own. Loss comes in many shapes and forms, and in a way, change is a loss. When we get a new job or have a child or get married, we lose a familiar way of life. Even when the change is good and welcomed, it creates feelings of anxiety for we face something different, something unknown. Here are some ideas of how to handle things when change and loss come into our lives.

mountain vista

Take time to say good-bye

Take some time and in your own manner, say goodbye to the familiar way of life, or to the person or object that has left your life. It’s important to deal with the feelings and not to dismiss or judge these feelings as silly, stupid or insignificant. And it’s important to give yourself space to deal with the loss and change, to mourn and grieve, and to acknowledge and accept feelings of pain, hurt, fear, anger, sorrow, … in your own time.

Reach out to others

Support is strongly needed during periods of loss and change. Those who reach out to others find they can better handle difficult situations. They feel heard and cared about, which strengthens and nurtures them. Reaching out to family, friends, self-help or support groups, counselors or clergy can provide the warmth and support that one needs during these difficult times.

Taking care of yourself

This is one of the most important ways to deal with loss or change. When dealing with difficult situations, be sure to take care of yourself. Eat well or have someone help you to eat by ordering or bringing in food to you or reminding you to eat. Take care of your body with warm baths or saunas; provide yourself with enough sleeping and resting times; and get enough exercise or hikes or even just walks around the block. Walking along the beach or on some nature trails can be very comforting and peaceful. Plus, these walks can be helpful towards finding any needed answers to the hard questions one finds within. Sometimes during hard or fearful times, we forget to attend to our needs or think of them as unimportant. It’s important to understand that feelings brought up by loss causes wear and tear on your body so you need to provide the nurturing and care your body needs.

Caring for your mind and spirit is important too during times of change and loss. Journaling, writing poetry, drawing or creating a collage are helpful ways to work through painful feelings and gaining an emotional release. I have found drawing in which I simply put colors, shapes and lines down on paper with crayons or colored pencils to be very helpful during stressful or difficult moments. Research has also shown that writing can help not only your mental well being, but also your physical health as well. Writing helps to explore feelings and situations in more depth. Other things that can help to nurture the spirit is mediation or visualization, spending time with a pet, prayer, reading poetry or an inspirational book, giving & getting hugs, listening to music or watching a favorite movie. During difficult times, it may be hard to care for yourself, but this is a crucial time to love yourself. If you need help doing this then be sure to reach out for help.

Life Finds A Way

By Berkeley Hall School’s 1995 Graduating Class

John-Michael Hayward, Katherine Lewis,
Christina McComas, Bonnie Paul & Andrew Wyly
Soil washes off the hill;
A seed is left close behind.
A breeze picks up speed,
Carries the lonely seed,
And leaves it on the rock… confined.bridge
And the light shines upon the rock
Out from the sky’s misty gray.
As it passes every day,
Life finds a way.
The seed knows it must take root.
Life will not be mocked!
The power within the tree
Becomes the unlocking key,
And the tree stands firm with the rock.
And the light shines upon the tree
Out from the sky’s misty gray.
As it passes every day,
Life finds a way.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2020 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and her organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. Ellen has over 20 years of data analysis and business consulting experience and is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code”, “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

 

Healthy High Performance Teams vs. Silos

By Paul David Walker, author of Invent Your Future: Starting With Your Calling

One of my clients shared her experience in her spinning classes. She said,

“The authentic commitment and energy of the leader starts up the class. As the energy builds each members commitment and energy syncs with the others. The class feeds off each other and reaches a level they could not have achieved individually.”Spinning class

She was glowing as she told me this story. The classes have transformed her energy and improved her health dramatically. Imagine a business team that feeds off each other’s energy. We are working together to build each of her facilities into healthy high performance teams. Her story and experience will be key to this work.

Ask yourself, do the teams you are leading look like her experience in the spinning classes? Most do not, and many feel it is impossible to achieve this kind of synergy for a business team. Of course, with this attitude, it would be impossible. I have experienced many leadership teams who started out feeling stuck with the level of teamwork they had, and like my client in her spinning classes, achieved what I call a Healthy High Performance Team.

Authentic Inspiration

The first step is knowing and experiencing the possibility, like my client who experienced it in her spinning class. Once you know something is possible, your words become alive with authentic inspiration and commitment, which provides an experience for those who follow you.

Casey Sheahan, Former President and CEO of Patagonia, said this to me during his interview for my book, Invent Your Future-Starting With Your Calling:

“Inspiration has to start with you. If you don’t believe that you can affect positive change, then it won’t happen. But if you can inspire people, as opposed to motivating them with fear, then you know there is a better outcome possible … I think you can really light people up. You can light your customers up, and you can light your manufacturers up too. When people are inspired, you get a better result, working conditions, and high-quality products. It is a priority for us.”

When you know the possibility from your experience, people can feel it and become inspired, and motivated by your presence. Your presence is 93% of any communication. It has been proven that the content is only 7% of communication. Your tone, body language, and the energy that comes out of you tells the story. If it is inconsistent with the content of your message people know, and will question what you say. If it is consistent, people are inspired because they are caught up in your experience.

It Starts With You

If the leader of a spinning class was out of shape, and had to take breaks while the class was peddling their hearts out, soon there would be no class. The same is true with leaders of teams in business or public service. It is often said, “Who you are speaks louder than what you say.” The most successful leaders are living examples of their vision. This is something you cannot fake, and takes courage.

We cannot create something we cannot conceive. So how do you get those following you to conceive a possibility they have not experienced? It starts with the stories you tell about times when you experienced a high performance team. Along with a compelling picture of the future state, the stories you tell about your experience become a living example. Told effectively they are an experience for a team or individual to feel.

Silos and Workarounds

The opposite of a high performance team is silos within organizations. Groups of people who are doing workarounds to avoid accountability, or at best be part of a small team that they can control. When you try to inspire teams to exceed their own expectation most people say, “Easier said than done, or you don’t understand what we are dealing with.” This complicates getting things done and creates suspicion, backbiting and a slowing of the growth of the organization. Multiple silos lead to a bureaucratic effect.

synapsesExperience and Habit

Many say life’s greatest teacher is experience, but if this is the case why do many who are experienced people repeat the same mistakes. From research on brain chemistry it is clear that bad or traumatic experiences form neuropathways that harden and create fears that seem real. People will go into a form of “fight or flight” that once protected them when similar situations present themselves. Silos are a form of protection, and if they have created safety for people in the past, they will default to them. Only more compelling experiences will mitigate these defense systems. People will still have the fear that is presented, but after a number of positive team experiences they will default to teamwork.

Teams Committed to Each Other

If people feel part of a team that is committed to each other’s success and the success of the business or organization they will feel safe participating in new behaviors. They will still experience fear, but with leadership that reinforces team commitment and illustrates the dangers of the opposite with authentic stories that create an experience, they will change. The team becomes a sanctuary of safety and inspiration. As the success of the team and the business grows, they will become more committed.

Success Stories

Prior to success it is important to find experiences in each individual’s life when they were part of a good team, or have seen one, while watching sports. An experienced leader finds ways for them to recall times when they experienced high levels of teamwork so they are inspired to let go of old safe habits that form silos. Breaking this natural human tendency requires that they can see, feel and hear a better way.

Creating off-sites for a team that creates an experience of a healthy high performance team is effective. You can do white water rafting or other similar outdoor experiences, but it is critical each experience is related to the organizational or business challenges. What is even more effective is dealing with difficult business or organizational challenges while creating the experience of teamwork directly relevant to work. Well- facilitated, these off-sites create a living example of the possibility for the team, and create success stories.

As individual and team success occurs, it is important to tell success stories as part of the organizational day-to-day process. These stories reward people and carry the wisdom forward, creating an organizational mythology. Each story should embody the feeling of success and the strategy that created that success.

Like the spinning class, there is no denying the value of a high performance team experience and the feeling of power and pride it embodies. The more you and your team can Invent Your Future by PD Walkerexperience the power of a team, the sooner it will become an organizational reality. It will not happen overnight, but as it is achieved, the performance and wellbeing of the organization will grow rapidly. Once healthy high-performance teams are woven into the fabric of your business or organization, it will retain and attract the best talent, produce performance beyond your expectations and provide a powerful barrier of entry against completion. It is not easy to create, but what of real value is easy.

“Here you will find a treasure trove of distinctions, tools, and models that will allow you to engage people in a way that naturally harmonizes and enhances working with others—and that in turn advances the mission and purpose of the organization. More than that, you will be introduced to the thinking that guides and directs our most advanced leaders. There are years of learning available in Invent Your Future. Do not be surprised when, in the days and months to come, you find yourself referencing this book. It’s that good.”
-John King, Bestselling Author of Tribal Leadership

Permission is needed from Paul David Walker to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2020

Paul David Walker, CEO and Founder of Genius Stone Partners, is one of the early innovators of leadership consulting and coaching at the executive level. For more than thirty years, he has successfully guided the CEOs and senior executive teams of such Fortune 500 and mid-sized companies as New York Life, Mutual of Omaha, Chase GIS, Finance One, VONS Grocery, Pacific Mutual, Rockwell International, Conexant Systems, Harrods, Anne Klein, Union Pacific, StarKist, The City of Long Beach, Long Beach Fire Department, Culver Studios, Shout Factory, Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar, NTS, Archstone Foundation, The Queen Mary and many other thriving organizations. He is author of Invent Your Future-Starting With Your Calling and Unleashing Genius: Leading Yourself, Teams, and Corporations. He specializes in building teams of leaders committed to each other’s success and the success of the business. Feel free to contact Paul by email pauldavidwalker@geniusstone.com or his cell 562-233-7861.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement. To order the books, Cracking the Personality Code, Cracking the Business Code and Cracking the High-Performance Team Code, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

We recently launched a new service called Sino-Am Leadership to help executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information, visit https://lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.

It’s Ok To Be Imperfect

By Ellen and Dana Borowka

So many times we don’t allow ourselves to be imperfect. We hold ourselves up to impossible standards, then criticize ourselves for not meeting those standards. We graciously accept for others the same flaws we berate ourselves for. So, how do we challenge this issue? Dr. Rudolf Dreikurs had an idea that he called “the courage to be imperfect”. When you have the courage to be imperfect, you can begin to let go of the past and focus on your talents today.girl with flower

You can:

♦ Constantly encourage yourself through positive self-talk, and don’t expect perfection. Positive self-talk is giving yourself encouragement rather than discouragement or criticism. Some examples could be, “I know I can do this”; “I am capable and effective in my work”; “I believe in myself”; and “I like who I am”.

♦ Monitor discouraging self-talk that may begin with absolutes like, I must, I should, I have to or I always and I never. These place judgment and are often unrealistic expectations.

♦ Challenge discouraging thoughts by asking yourself questions like, “Is this realistic and reasonable?”; “Why am I thinking this way about myself?”; and “What is really true about myself?”

♦ See mistakes as part of the learning process, not failures since everyone makes mistakes.

♦ Strive to express your talents and qualities fully, rather than to be better than others.

♦ Do what you can, and say no when you need to.

♦ Accept and value your efforts and yourself.

♦ View tough situations as challenges, rather than problems to overcome.

♦ Explore and love your imperfections as well as your strengths and good qualities.

I discovered a wonderful story that I think says it all:

“A man who took great pride in his lawn found himself with a large crop of dandelions. He tried every method he knew to get rid of them. Still they plagued him. Finally, he wrote to the Department of Agriculture. He enumerated all the things he had tried and closed his letter with the question: “What shall I do now?” In due course, the reply came: “We suggest you learn to love them.”

– Anthony de Mello, The Song of the Bird

plant twinLike the dandelions, we need to learn how to love ourselves with our imperfections, and not let the flaws take importance and attention away from our strengths. After all, perfection is all relative and is based on a perception of what we behold as being “perfect”. When you find yourself striving towards that model of perfection you may want to ask yourself several questions like , “Why am I holding out this model as being better than my current “self”?; What are the underlying reasons for wanting to change?; and “What small steps can I make in order to revise this goal to be more realistic?”.

Remember, life is filled with opportunities for learning and growing. The first step is to appreciate yourself right here and now with all your “imperfections”. The more you explore and challenge negative beliefs, the stronger you will feel. Then your courage will grow, and you’ll find that it’s ok to be imperfect.

For a long time it had seemed to me 

that life was about to begin – – real life.
But there was always some obstacle in the way.

Something to be got through first,
some unfinished business;
time still to be served, a debt to be paid.
Then life would begin.

At last it dawned on me that
these obstacles were my life.

Bette Howland: Life in the Snake Pit, 7/90

This article contains some modified concepts from the Systematic Training for Effective Parenting Program, developed by Don Dinkmeyer, Sr., Gary D. McKay and Don Dinkmeyer, Jr.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2017  This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO and Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC with their organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. They have over 25 years of business and human behavioral consulting experience. They are nationally renowned speakers and radio personalities on this topic. They are the authors of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

The Masks We Wear

By Ellen Borowka, MA

Masks have long been a part of daily life. From the past when tribal dancers wore them to worship their gods, to the present where children wear them for special holidays like Halloween. Our ancestors used masks for a variety of reasons. Some were worn to portray spirits, gods or animals; and others were used to protect and guard against misfortune and disease. There were masks to maintain contact with the dead through burial rituals or in ancestor worship; tomask2 represent characters in theater; and to celebrate the change of seasons and festivals.

Masks in Everyday Life

We use masks in everyday life too. Usually not made of wood, clay or stone as in primitive times, but one that seems invisible though it too conceals our true nature. This mask is the image or facade we present to others. It is our false self that was developed in response to an unsafe and demanding environment. We have different reasons for using this type of mask. We may want to protect ourselves from getting hurt or rejected by others. We may want to become what others want us to be, in order to be accepted by them. Perhaps we feel no one would like or love who we truly are, so we hide our true self. Or we might not like ourselves so we try to pretend to be like someone else.

Yet, I think the core issue is not feeling loved by others and ourselves. This seems to fuel our insecurities and we may find ourselves willing to do anything to be loved by others. Even denying our true self – who we are – our beliefs, our values, our desires, our needs. If we don’t love ourselves, then we depend on others to provide that love and make us feel worthwhile. Yet, they may look to us to provide the same thing! That makes for a very unstable foundation for our relationships as well as for our psyche.

How Do We Cope?

Coping mechanisms, like pleasing others, are based in these insecurities. We seem to develop our mask as a way to handle our fear of rejection and other painful feelings. Those who wear masks on Halloween are in disguise – pretending to be another person or creature. If we are conscious of our masks then we know we are not what we pretend to be. Many are not aware of the mask they present to others. Like the tribal dancer, we can in some ways become the mask we present. The facade can take over where we may feel we have little control over our lives. Whereas our ancestors may have believed that one’s religious or magical powers are released by changing identity and becoming another being, we actually lose our power when we allow our mask or false self to take over our lives. If we can’t be true to ourselves then we deny our expression, our soul, and we deny the light we bring to this world. I believe that each of us is here to not only discover and accept our unique qualities, but also to share them with others. That is the healing process when we touch heart to heart.

What’s Our Mask?

So, what kind of masks do we wear? I would say that our mask changes to meet the demands of the environment. In other words, our mask or false self depends on our external world whereas our real self relies on our internal world. Our mask reacts to the demands of our environment and our true self responds to our needs and desires. There are many different masks or coping mechanisms we take on. We may push ourselves to be perfect in how we look and/or how we act. We may deny our feelings of sadness or anger or fear, because we may have learned these feelings are “bad” or unimportant. We may feel we must always be right or good or knowledgeable. We may feel we have to care for everyone else to be loved and needed. Or perhaps we think we exist only to make others happy. These are just some of the masks we wear.
mask1What kind of mask do you wear? What are some expectations you put on yourself or false concepts you have of yourself? Do you think you “have to” or “should” or “must” do or say or be a certain way to be loved and accepted by others? If so, that might be part of your mask. A good exercise to learn more about your mask is to create a mask that represents the qualities of your false self. You can draw with markers or crayons and/or use parts of magazine pictures and words to create a life-size mask. Clay or paper mache with acrylic paints is also a good medium, and symbols are helpful to give your mask depth. Or you could write about it.
One might think it is necessary to get rid of the mask to allow the true self to be seen. Yet, actually we need both to live in this world and as our world becomes safer then we may need our mask less and less. George Washington once advised, “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.” So, we need our mask to protect our inner self. What is also needed is to have a balance between the two – allowing our inner light to shine out to others, while protecting it from those that cannot appreciate it. Our masks are not bad, but it just comes down to choice. The real self has choices of how to be, but the false self depends on others for how it should be.

Finding Balance

How do you find a balance? Some ways are to explore your inner world, and learn more about your true and false self. Begin to distinguish between the two, and discover all you can about yourself – not only your good qualities, but also your “bad” qualities or what Jung would call your shadow. The shadow contains our dark side and it’s important to explore the darkness and find healthy ways to express it. Work to appreciate and accept your qualities, your style, your strengths and your weaknesses. Support your realness to come to the surface while still acknowledging the need for your protective mask.faces

Being Real

Allowing your inner self to come forth is scary as it risks rejection, so you might want to take small steps in your risktaking to feel safer. Some may have so much pain and anger from past rejections or betrayals that assistance may be needed. When the past needs to be healed first, I suggest turning to a counselor or clergy for help. Norman Cousins once said, “The great tragedy of life is not death, but what dies within us while we live.” Don’t let your mask suffocate your inner light, but rather use it to create safety and security so your light burns brightly to the world.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2016 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and her organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. Ellen has over 20 years of data analysis and business consulting experience and is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

 

Resolving Conflict Successfully

By Ellen and Dana Borowka, MA, Excerpt from the book, Cracking the Business Code

Ever notice that no matter what you do, you can’t avoid conflict! It’s everywhere – at work, at home, at that special social gathering or even at the supermarket. Whether you are discussing the dirty dishes with your spouse, that difficult project with a co-worker, or your barking dog with the Conflictnext door neighbor – conflict is hard to manage well. And since we can’t ignore it, we might as well handle it the best possible way. In this article, we’re going to explore what makes up conflict, how we usually (and unsuccessfully) handle it, and ways to manage it better.

Conflict vs. Resolution

First, I’d like to define what conflict is, so we know what we are working with. The first definition is war; and the second is a clash between hostile or opposing ideas, interests or persons. War! That’s a big word! Some might think that their conflicts don’t rate up with war. Yet, just because we don’t pull out guns and bombs, doesn’t mean that we don’t have some casualties in our battles. Many people can go for the kill when they feel hurt and angry, especially in our intimate relationships. Other definitions include, an earnest struggle for superiority or victory; and the state of those who disagree and lack harmony. How many times in conflict do we struggle to be superior to, and have victory over the another, especially when they are acting rude? I think the key phase for conflict is that we lack harmony, and that is not a fun place to be at.

So, what is our alternative? Conflict resolution! It’s a way to settle disagreements peacefully by getting to the root of problems and finding lasting solutions. Why is conflict resolution so important? Knowing how to handle conflict in a constructive manner can help you in relating with others, like your spouse, children and co-workers. Conflict resolution assists by promoting new ideas, encouraging greater understanding, strengthening personal relationships and keeping people safe from violent conflict escalating out of control. It helps us to work through our issues to find harmony and unity with others.

The Three Components of Conflict

What do you need to have conflict erupt? It takes very little to create conflict. In fact, you need only three components to have conflict flare up. As they say in commercials, “It’s as easy as 1,2,3!” The first is people. Conflict can occur between individuals, between groups or among members of the same group. Anywhere where you have people, you can have conflict. The second is different points of view. When each person or group sees a situation in a different way, wants a different outcome or has different plans of what to do then you can have conflict. An example that comes to my mind is the family reunion where conflict can start easily, even over where to go for dinner. The third component is strong emotions. Individuals or groups may have strong feelings about the problem or situation. They may feel a variety of emotions, like anger, fear, disappointment, betrayal, hurt, and so on. Strong feelings can set the stage for a potential war.

Mapping Out Conflict

Yet, conflict is a normal part of life. As I said before, wherever we go we might run into it – misunderstandings with a co-worker, dealing with a difficult client, or a changing relationship with a spouse or friend. So, what can we do about it? Something that seems to be very helpful is an exercise called the Relationship Web, which maps out the status of your relationships. Drawing a relationship web is very easy. First, on a piece of regular size paper, draw a circle in the middle and put your name in it. Then draw other circles around yours and put names of those people that have an impact on your life. You then connect your circle to each of your other circles with a variety of lines. A straight line signifies a peaceful and calm relationship; a slightly wavy line is a relationship that has occasional ups and down; a very wavy line denotes a relationship with many ups and downs; and a jagged line is a stormy relationship. The lines of your web might look like spokes on a wheel that attach to your center circle. When you are done with your web, you might want to consider the following questions for your relationships: Why do you think you have conflict with this person? And if you could change some of these wavy and jagged lines, which ones would you change and why? Now that you have explored the conflict in your relationships, it might be helpful to look how you handle conflict.

Common Conflict Styles

The following are some ways that we commonly deal with conflict:

  1. Avoid or runaway from the conflict. An example of this could be when someone refuses to address a problem with a spouse or co-worker.jumping hoops
  2. Pretend the conflict doesn’t exist. This is when we deny that there is even a problem to address!
  3. Give in or go along with the other person. When we give in or go along, we deny our own needs and build resentment towards the other person.
  4. Attack or try to win through force or power with criticism, insults, manipulation, name-calling or violence, which is a very destructive method to deal with conflict.

As you might imagine, none of these styles resolve our problems. Rather, they worsen the situation – allowing conflict to fester and explode out of control. So, how do you handle conflict? Do you have a conflict style that you use in difficult situations? Let’s look at some ways that we can deal with conflict in a healthier manner. Since good communication is the key to successful conflict resolution, we’ll start there.

Elements of Successful Communication

  1. Have respect for the other person’s feelings and point of view, even though you don’t agree. The goal to successful communication is to have empathy – to understand why someone is doing what they are doing and feeling what they are feeling. We feel that empathy is the glue in all relationships. If you don’t have empathy, you don’t have anything.
  2. Don’t take the conflict personally, don’t let it under your skin. Let the other person blow off steam, and be patient. Many people say things in anger that they don’t mean.
  3. Be a good listener! To be a good listener, you need to avoid interrupting the other person, and ask questions when they are finished speaking. Also, watch body language to be aware of what is going on with the other person, and to look for mixed messages. Mixed messages are when someone says one thing, yet their body language is saying the opposite. There is an old saying, “The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” – Unknown
  4. State what you’re hearing. Use active listening, which is to paraphase what you think the other person is saying. This tells them that you understand what they are saying, and gives them the chance to explain, if you didn’t understand. This is an extremely effective tool in managing conflict and avoiding miscommunication.
  5. Use “I Statements” when discussing hot subjects. An example of an I statement is “I feel really hurt when you snap at me, because it makes me feel like you don’t respect me.” An I statement is composed of three elements. The “I” helps us to maintain our responsibility for our feelings or observations; the “when” gives a specific example for the other person; and the “because” provides our reason for why we are bothered by the situation. I statements helps us to avoid being vague and accusatory with others.
  6. State your feelings clearly – express what you think without attacking the other person. Don’t be hostile or use name-calling, criticism or insults – that will only make things worse.
  7. Focus on the problem, not the person. Look for common ground – a shared need – something you both want or can agree on. This will strengthen teamwork between the both of you.
  8. Are there any hidden agendas? Is there something that is bothering the other person that he or she is not talking about, that might be feeding into the problem. Asking questions is a good way to uncover hidden agendas, like: Is something else bothering you? Is there something else going on? You look like you have something more to say?
  9. Take timeouts to keep conflict from escalating. When things get too hot, take some time to cool down – at least an hour or 24 hours. Be sure to schedule a follow-up time to resolve the issue.

The Problem Solving Process

After you have had a full discussion about the conflict then you may want to brainstorm with the other person to find some ways to resolve the problem. First, set an agenda on workgrpwhat you both want to focus on in the situation. Next, brainstorm for different ideas to solve the problem. One of you should write down the ideas, and don’t evaluate the ideas during the brainstorming process. Sort through the ideas and implement a specific action plan. Consider every idea and think about the consequences. Then arrange a follow-up date to check in on the progress of the action plan. If the plan is not working then recycle through the problem solving process again.

Successful Conflict Resolution Takes Practice!

These are some tips to manage conflict in a structured and positive format. It takes practice – so don’t throw it out, just because it takes some extra effort. Conflict resolution is not, by any means, the easiest thing to do. Yet, when we don’t deal with our conflicts, they fester and grow worse. It’s like when we feel sick and throw up. Noone likes it, but it cleans out the system and we feel much better. Successful conflict resolution takes practice, patience and respect. There’s an old saying, “Coming together is a beginning, Keeping together is progress, Working together is Success!” How you handle conflict will determine its outcome!

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2016 

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO and Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC with their organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. They also have a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. They have over 25 years of business and human behavioral consulting experience. They are nationally renowned speakers and radio personalities on this topic. They are the authors of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

We recently launched a new service called Sino-Am Leadership to help executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit, https://lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.