Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

Showing posts in the category “Emotions”

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  • September 10, 2019

    How to Influence the Way People Act During Conflict

    How to Influence the Way People Act During Conflict

    I was delighted when my friend Tammy Lenski agreed to let me reprint her post on "How to influence the way people act during conflict" because I think everyone should read it. I'm fond of saying we have more power than we think, and Tammy's well-researched article on behavioral confirmation reinforces this point. Tammy is a conflict resolution strategist, teacher, author, and mediator, which is why her post ends with "Two special notes for mediators". 

    Tammy's website--tammylenski.com--is full of skills for communication and the self-mastery needed to transform conflict into opportunities for relationship building. You can also read Tammy's original post and subscribe to her podcasts.
     

    How to influence the way people act during conflict

    If you believe someone is aggressive, could they behave more aggressively with you than with others? If someone believes you are a hostile person, are you likely to act more hostile when you interact with them? It’s called behavioral confirmation and if you’re interested in your own or others’ conflict behavior, it’s worth understanding.

    ~ Tammy Lenski


    A man gets on an elevator with his dog. At the next floor, a second man gets on the elevator, scowls at the dog, and says angrily, “Dogs don’t belong in this building!” The dog growls at the man.

    Several floors later, the annoyed man exits the elevator and a third man gets on. He smiles at the dog and says enthusiastically, “You are such a cute fellow!” The dog wags his tail happily at the man.

    So where does the problem lie? Is the dog a “difficult dog”? ...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • May 7, 2019

    Beginning Again and Again

    Beginning Again and Again

    Beginning again and again is the actual practice, not a problem to be overcome. --Sharon Salzberg

    As I made my way to the exit, the other passengers on my jetBlue flight were taking their time making their way down the aisle. If I could just get off this plane, I might make the 6:10 bus to Portsmouth and home, and not have to wait an hour for another bus. The flight was already late getting into Boston, and I really wanted to make that bus. Uncentered and pushing mentally, if not physically, I was grinding my teeth and trying to do whatever I could to hurry the passengers in front of me along, including bypassing some seats where the passengers didn’t immediately get up to retrieve bags from the overhead bin.

    And I caught myself. And breathed, and smiled, and returned to center...

  • April 9, 2019

    Teaching the Art of Centering

    Teaching the Art of Centering

    In my new book, Turn Enemies Into Allies: The Art of Peace in the Workplace, a key element in the process is the leader's ability to center herself. As a manager, supervisor, or anyone caught in the middle of two conflicting parties, you must first manage your own mindset and emotions before trying to support others. Then, if you choose, you can coach others in the art and practice of centering.

    It's a great concept, isn't it, to choose to be centered? To notice in the moment that you're off balance, and then decide to shift to a more centered state. If you know how you do this--catch yourself and re-center--you can easily coach others.

  • December 18, 2018

    From Grouchy to Grateful: Digraphs, Blends, and The Art of Peace

    From Grouchy to Grateful: Digraphs, Blends, and The Art of Peace

    I had a couple of grouchy days this week. In all the places I practice centering--the car, the indoor pool, on the phone, at the grocery store--I responded to the unexpected with gritted teach and halted breath. Instead of catching myself each time, I let my uncentered self enjoy the ride to self-righteousness and judgment. It was mostly internal. I wasn't mean to anyone--didn't say or do anything I regretted later. But it wasn't fun. It sapped my energy, and lowered my happiness quotient.

    An on-and-off kind of thing, the mood lasted about two days. I finally found my way out of it through curiosity and fascination. What’s going on? Is it something I ate? Drank? Not enough sleep? 

  • November 20, 2018

    Celebrate Gratitude This Week

    Celebrate Gratitude This Week

    I'm grateful to the folks at VIA Institute on Character for today's post. I use the VIA Character Strengths profile in my coaching and training to help clients maximize strengths such as honesty, bravery, love of learning, creativity, curiosity, forgiveness, and zest. According to VIA research, there are 24, and one of my top strengths is gratitude. 

    I invite you to practice gratitude this week. Be more aware today of the good things that happen to you. And enjoy this post from the VIA institute:

    Celebrate Your Strength of Gratitude

    You know that feeling when something "goes your way", like getting a good spot in a a crowded parking lot or discovering an item you really want on sale. It might be quick and fleeting, but what you probably feel is a brief moment of gratitude. "Thank you for this small victory!" ...

  • November 6, 2018

    Civil and Respectful: How to Argue Civilly

    Civil and Respectful: How to Argue Civilly

    I'm a subscriber to the VitalSmarts Crucial Skills newsletter. VitalSmarts is a training company and a team of authors responsible for excellent books and trainings, like Crucial Conversations, Crucial Accountability. and The Influencer. You can find them all on Amazon and on their website, along with downloadable free resources.

    In a recent newsletter, Joseph Grenny's post on "How to Argue Civilly" is a brief summary of best practices for the kinds of emotional conversations we might have with loved ones, especially around the holidays. I got curious about who else is writing on this topic, and did a little research on "how to argue civilly." A quick Google search returned pages of possibilities. I list three here that I found particularly useful.

    In this time of unrest and polarization, I'm doing what I can to engage my own difficult conversations with respect, curiosity and compassion. If someone thinks or feels differently about a candidate, a policy, or a party, what harm can come from learning how they arrived at their opinions? Most of the time, I find differences fascinating, not frustrating. 

    That said, I've written a lot recently on how to communicate successfully, so I'll stop here and let you read what others are saying.

  • October 9, 2018

    A Failure to Communicate: Part 3--Consider Your Purpose

    A Failure to Communicate: Part 3--Consider Your Purpose

    I titled this post before I started writing it, with the intention of talking about the one piece of a difficult conversation that steers the ship--my purpose for holding it. Then, it occurred to me that the purpose of any conversation is intimately connected to the purpose for my life, my work, my reason for being. For example:

    • Why do I hold certain conversations and not others?
    • What makes this one worthy of my energy and time?
    • How would things unfold if I didn't bring up the issue?
    • What are the consequences of this decision, pro and con?

    A lot goes into the decision for me and, I hope, for you. Because whether and how I express myself, listen, acknowledge you (if I do), and look for mutual ground (or not), says a lot about who I am...

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