Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

Showing posts in the category “Leadership”

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  • July 30, 2019

    How to Rebuild a Damaged Work Relationship

    How to Rebuild a Damaged Work Relationship

    A friend and colleague asked for some advice about rebuilding her relationship with a coworker. The relationship used to be easy. The two worked well together, laughed often, and accomplished their department's goals cooperatively.

    When a change of leadership in the organization caused a realignment of roles, my friend Mary and her coworker Sarah (not their real names) got out of synch. Sarah's responsibilities with the new leader increased, which reduced her availability to support Mary. Trying to make things work, Mary stayed curious and open-minded about the change, asking for help when needed. Both the new leader and Sarah seemed to hear when Mary expressed her need for support, but nothing changed. Mary ended up finding other ways to get the department's work done, usually by staying late and working weekends.

    Mary also thought she noticed a change in Sarah's attitude--from friendly conversation to terse replies, minimal eye contact and limited connection. Trust eroded, and gradually they stopped talking unless it was absolutely necessary.

    As you might imagine, Mary began to dream up stories and interpretations for Sarah's changed behavior. I suggested Mary invite Sarah out for a cup of coffee, lunch, or a sweet and talk about the relationship. Mary emailed me asking how to begin the conversation. I thought my answers might be helpful to anyone in this situation, and Mary gave me permission to share her story and my thoughts...

  • July 16, 2019

    Interesting Times: When Disagreement Is Good

    Interesting Times: When Disagreement Is Good


    "May you live in interesting times".

    This ancient curse, of unknown origin, speaks to the fact that the "uninteresting" times are generally quiet and peaceful, with not a lot going on. And the "interesting times" are often fraught with anxiety.  At best.

    The curse comes to mind a lot lately. One of those "interesting times" happened recently when a local teenager wore a T-shirt with a political slogan on it to a school patriotic day. What was most interesting to me was not that the principal asked her to change the shirt or cover the slogan, but rather the behavior of the girl’s parents. Instead of reacting with rage or self-righteousness, as we’ve come to expect these days in such circumstances, they responded with civility, reason, and respect...

  • June 18, 2019

    Two Steps, One Breath

    Two Steps, One Breath

    One of my coaching clients attends a weekly meditation class. We were talking about ways to return to center when we get triggered, and he shared a motto from the class--Two Steps, One Breath. In other words, feel your feet on the ground, and breathe.

    The motto came in handy during a challenging meeting the client had in which I was an observer...

  • June 4, 2019

    Listening When It's Not Easy

    Listening When It's Not Easy

    Many of my posts in the past few months have been focused on my new book, Turn Enemies Into Allies: The Art of Peace in the Workplace. The four phase model starts with managing yourself, making sure your mindset and emotions are centered and purposeful, before engaging others. An integral part of managing yourself is the practice of active, aligned listening, sometimes when it's not easy. And I realized recently just how long I've been making this point.

    I had the occasion to re-read my first book, Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict last month. One of the stories--"Listening When It's Not Easy"--gave me pause. Because it's about listening when it's not easy to do so, I found it as relevant to our current cultural landscape as it was when I wrote it in 2006, maybe moreso. The story is about a conflict that arose as I was leading a workshop back in the day, and how I practiced metaphorical aikido by managing myself in order to manage what was coming at me....

  • May 21, 2019

    Finding My Better Self: How About a Cup of Coffee?

    Finding My Better Self: How About a Cup of Coffee?

    An article I wrote many years ago has seen a lot of play recently on various internet sites. It's called "Working with Difficult People: Turn Tormentors Into Teachers". The article has been generating a lot of comments from readers hoping to think differently about the unlikely teachers in their lives. It seems clear that most of us have these folks in our lives and just as clear that we’d really like to change them from tormentors to teachers.

    I’m certainly no different.  And maybe because of the article, and maybe just because I want to walk the walk as well as the talk, I decided to practice one recent day with a "tormentor" of my own...

  • April 23, 2019

    Teaching the Power of Purpose: Aikido's Unbendable Arm

    Teaching the Power of Purpose: Aikido's Unbendable Arm

    In this last video of the five-part series about my new book, Turn Enemies Into Allies: The Art of Peace in the Workplace, I demonstrate how easy life can be when we're clear about what we want for ourselves and our relationships. This feeling of flow, ease, and connection is demonstrated through The Unbendable Arm, a physical experience of the power of a clear purpose. 

    The Arm has become my metaphor for living powerfully, communicating with purpose, and expressing emotions with the intention to connect rather than harm.

  • March 26, 2019

    Resolving Coworker Conflict: Bringing the Parties Together

    Resolving Coworker Conflict: Bringing the Parties Together

    "When co-workers can't get along, what are some ways to bring them together to resolve the problem?"  -- a common question from the managers and leaders I work with.

    In this third video of the five-part series about my new book, Turn Enemies Into Allies: The Art of Peace in the Workplace, I introduce "Phase 3—Redirecting", or how to bring the parties together.

    In Phase 2--Entering and Blending, the book talks about the wisdom of working with each party to the conflict individually for one or more sessions, in order to hear them out, defuse the conflict, and teach skills. Phase 3 offers ways to begin the joint sessions--now that the parties are more prepared and skilled--to talk about what they’ve learned, plan for the future, and keep the conflict from recurring. This phase also offers questions, ideas, and tools to resolve the conflict and redirect any remaining challenges...

  • March 12, 2019

    Resolving Coworker Conflict: Work Individually First

    Resolving Coworker Conflict: Work Individually First

    "When co-workers can't get along, should I work with them individually or bring them together?" This is a question managers, supervisors and HR professionals deal with frequently.

    Time pressures and the need to resolve the problem encourage us to get the parties together right away and help them talk things through. And while this strategy is tempting, it often makes matters worse, because the parties don’t yet have the skills or perspective they need to be open to any view but their own.

    Each individual pushes to have their perspective acknowledged. No one listens. Emotions run high. And the problem escalates. This is especially true if the conflict has a long history. Each party has fine-tuned their narrative about why the other person is the problem....

  • February 26, 2019

    Turn Enemies Into Allies: Introductory Video

    Turn Enemies Into Allies: Introductory Video

    When two valued employees can't get along, it affects the entire office. What do you do when terminating an employee isn't an option, but for the sake of productivity the problem can't go on any longer? How do you achieve workplace harmony?

    I know it's only February, and my new book--Turn Enemies Into Allies: The Art of Peace in the Workplace--isn't due for release by Career Press until May 1, but I'm excited that: 1) it's available for pre-order now, and 2) I can give you a preview of what's in the book, so you can decide if it's something you might want to own and have on your desk or your laptop...

    So with professional help from my amazing friends at Seacoast Flash and Rayaonassignment, I created five videos last month that are ready for prime time on YouTube. You're seeing them before anyone else (except my mom), although later this week this first one will be on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn...

  • February 12, 2019

    Delivering Difficult Feedback: Two Models, One Goal

    Delivering Difficult Feedback: Two Models, One Goal

    I'm reading a book by Shari Harley--How to Say Anything to Anyone: A Guide to Building Business Relationships That Really Work. I've also watched a couple of her videos, which are easy to find on the Web.

    One of the things I like about the book is the title, which grabs your attention. Having written a couple of my own, I know how important that is. I also like Shari's simple 8-step formula, especially the "State Your Motive" feature, because it shows the speaker's positive intent....

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