Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

Showing posts in the category “Conflict”

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  • The Secret Ingredient in Difficult Conversations: Acknowledgment

    The Secret Ingredient in Difficult Conversations: Acknowledgment


    I'm writing a new book about how to manage and resolve employee confict. One of the key ingredients in working with conflict and possibly the most underutilized communication skill is acknowledgment. Acknowledgment is the secret to turning difficult conversations around.

    Because it demonstrates a willingness and ability to reflect back a view or thought process that is different and possibly in opposition to your own, acknowledgment makes a powerful statement. It says, “I heard you, I’m trying to understand, and this is the meaning I’m making out of what I heard.” It shows respect and a disposition toward resolution....

  • Time Management is Self Management

    Time Management is Self Management


    When I think about time management I smile. Time is what it is. What we manage is ourselves. Time management is self-management, energy management. If I only have so much energy, where do I focus it? So this is really a conversation about Purpose.

    In Aikido, we have a free-style sparring practice called "randori," in which the student stands alone on the practice mat and as many as five opponents attack simultaneously. The term literally means "chaos taking." The workplace—and life—can feel like this. Which task, event, or relationship do I take on first? How do I manage the chaos?

    The first secret of randori is to handle one adversary at a time....

  • Giving Advice: Help or Hindrance?

    Giving Advice: Help or Hindrance?


    I received an email recently from a gentleman asking for my help, saying he wanted to be less judgmental and more sensitive to friends and family. He explained that he was in a close, loving relationship, and that his lack of awareness sometimes creates stress.

    In a recent conversation, for example, his partner pointed out that when he gives her advice and uses the word "you," she tends to become defensive. He says he wants to help his partner solve problems, and he thinks of his suggestions as brainstorming, even though she hasn't necessarily asked for advice. 

    In my reply email, I thought hard about non-judgment, advice, and the willingness to change. I hope these tips make your day a little easier, too....

    I thanked him for his inquiry and emailed back a few thoughts. I appreciate his quest for knowledge, and he clearly has a dedicated partner on his side--someone who cares enough to advocate for what she needs. With his growing awareness and her willingness to offer feedback on how his genuinely positive intention is affecting her in not so positive ways, they'll learn a lot from each other.

  • Practice Deep Breathing

    Practice Deep Breathing


    I saw an article recently titled "Rise Above Your Awful Commute" about how to stay calm in the midst of traffic jams, rapid transit delays, commuter rail breakdowns and other similar challenges of getting where you want to go on time. The article encouraged strategies to be productive, lower tension in crowded places, and calm yourself during the commute as well as ways to shake off the effects once you arrive at your destination, such as:

    • Download and listen to calming music, audio or e-book.
    • Take a walk around the block before going to your desk.
    • Think about an inspiring person, story, or value you hold.
    • Spend a few minutes in a setting with natural light, vegetation or similar calming attributes.

    What stuck with me most: practice deep breathing...

  • Coming to Center: An Aikido Guidebook for Managers with Employees in Conflict

    Coming to Center: An Aikido Guidebook for Managers with Employees in Conflict


    When you have two individuals at odds, and each is valuable to the organization, knowledgeable, experienced, and compatible with everyone but each other, what do you do?

    I'm in the process of writing a new book: Coming To Center, An Aikido Guidebook for Managers with Employees in Conflict.

    The book illustrates a four-phase model I use when I'm invited to coach employees who are in conflict with each other and can't find their way out.

    If this has happened in your team or organization, you may have tried:

    • The pep talkCome on, now, you can do this. Rise above it.
    • The appeal to compassion and empathyTry not to take things so personally; see things from their perspective.
    • The common-sense approachYour work is suffering. Something has to change. You don't have to be best friends, but you do have to work together and get the job done.

    You may have also tried evading, ignoring, and hoping the situation will resolve itself. You’ve probably brought the topic up at performance reviews and talked to colleagues, coaches, and consultants. And yet the problem persists.

  • What Aikido Can Teach Us About Learning Plateaus

    What Aikido Can Teach Us About Learning Plateaus

    The achievement of goals is important. But the real juice of life, whether it be sweet or bitter, is to be found not nearly so much in the products of our efforts as in the process of living itself, in how it feels to be alive.
    ~George Leonard

    I receive many thoughtful responses to my monthly posts. Recently an Aikidoist from Canberra Australia, James Samana, emailed me some late night reflections on his Aikido journey. 

    James is a black belt in Aikido and works for the Australian Public Service as an executive coach, course designer and facilitator. I couldn't help extending his Aikido experience to the way we practice, learn, and attain mastery in any endeavor, including the mastery of conflict and communication--if that indeed ever happens.

  • Want Creative Conflict? Find Thought Partners Who Disagree

    Want Creative Conflict? Find Thought Partners Who Disagree


    I had a great idea for a new workshop. My colleague disagreed. I disliked his feedback and dismissed it. He just didn't get it! 

    Later, I revisited what he said and decided to call back and ask for specifics. Why didn't he think people would want to attend? What would he change to make it more inviting and useful? I asked him to push back more and used the feedback to create a more compelling program.

    In her TED Talk, Dare to Disagree, on creative conflict, author and CEO Margaret Heffernan offers a view of conflict so contrary to the typical TV images, Facebook rage, and Twitter rants of positional confrontation, that it is difficult to believe, unless you've tried it. She tells the story of Alice Stewart, a British scientist in the 1950s, who theorized that x-rays of pregnant women proved damaging to the fetus. But to be sure, she invited a colleague--statistician George Kneale--to poke holes in her theory; to, in fact, disprove it. She wanted to make sure she hadn't missed anything...

  • How to Say No: Tips and Tools

    How to Say No: Tips and Tools

    Assertiveness has never been my strong point. Maybe that's why I watch people who are really good at it, read books and take courses on it, and practice whenever I can.

    The impetus for my current life's work teaching conflict and communication skills actually grew out of my inability to express myself. 

    I was a successful real estate agent and company owner back in 80's, and I often found myself in the middle of a heated contest between buyer and seller or with a banker, building inspector, or concerned family member. My default conflict style is to accommodate other people’s wishes, and that isn’t always useful in negotiated transactions.

  • Coaching Corner: A Difficult Conversation With My Daughter

    Coaching Corner: A Difficult Conversation With My Daughter

    Recently a reader sent me a question after reading my “Checklist for Difficult Conversations” at JudyRinger.com. She described a difficult conversation in which her daughter said some things that were hard for her to hear. Afterwards Mom was struggling not to take her daughter’s remarks personally and asked for advice and maybe some tools to help her respond and not make things worse.

    The following is how I replied to Mom. Since most of us have similar goals to hold conversations that are useful, to not take tough comments personally, and to stay grounded in purpose, I’m sharing my reply more broadly. 

  • Coaching Corner: 4 Centering Practices to Increase Confidence and Focus

    Coaching Corner: 4 Centering Practices to Increase Confidence and Focus

    How do you practice centering?

    It's been a while since I've written about specific ways to get centered and to incorporate the practice of centering into your daily life, and it's best to start with the basics, like breathing in and out consciously. One of my personal favorite reminders to center is to notice when I'm holding my breath--it happens more often than you'd guess--and to open my throat and let the breath come in.

    We're usually not breathing when we’re upset or in conflict, but sometimes we stop for no real reason--opening a car door, for example, or sitting at your computer. You could be doing it now. Are you breathing? Just try to notice more often. It's a simple and powerful practice.

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