Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

Showing posts in the category “Leadership”

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  • September 11, 2018

    When There's a Failure to Communicate: Choose Love

    When There's a Failure to Communicate: Choose Love

    We appear to be taking sides on everything.

    • Immigration
    • Gun control
    • The economy
    • Our schools
    • Workplace and family issues 

    Even Nike commercials. 

    We've stopped talking with each other. And we must find a way to reverse this trend--somehow....

  • July 31, 2018

    Appreciative Inquiry and Positive Framing

    Appreciative Inquiry and Positive Framing

    I was interviewed last month by Tom Rosenak of Diamond Mind in Evanston, Illinois. Tom helps people engage in transformative conversations in order to strengthen relationships and drive results. You can hear or download our interview, Conflict Transformation and Aikido on the Diamond Mind site.

    Tom's podcasts arrive every couple of weeks, and I highly recommend his interview with Jackie Stavros and Cheri Torres on their new book, Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement.

    Jackie and Cheri are internationally known for their work in Appreciative Inquiry (AI), a problem-solving tool introduced in 1987 by David Cooperrider, known for his contributions in the fields of leadership, change management, and organization development. Interestingly, AI solves problems by focusing on the question "What do you want?" and not on the problem, maximizing the power of noticing what is already working rather than on what is broken.

  • July 17, 2018

    Questions in Service of the Asked

    Questions in Service of the Asked

    I first heard the phrase--"questions in service of the asked"--as a participant in a workshop with Essential Partners, originally the Public Conversations Project, in Boston. It took me some time--and a lot of practice--to figure out what it meant and how to do it.

    I've written previously about the power of inquiry, curiosity and discovery, of asking useful questions, and of acknowledging what you hear to make sure the "asked" knows you're listening. After almost 25 years of teaching, coaching, and my own experience in conflict situations (yes, I have them, too), I can still get stuck on what questions to ask. What would help unravel this conflict knot? How can I better see where this person is coming from? What needs to happen here to find resolution?

  • June 19, 2018

    Making "I Statements" Easy: A Feeling, A Need, A Request

    Making

    Reading a recent online post, I was struck by the author's thoughts on the "I-statement." She was referring to the sometimes tricky communication technique by which I express to you a need, a feeling, or a request, by putting the responsibility for clarity or understanding on myself, rather than on you. It helps me communicate the impact of your behavior, whether positive or otherwise.

    Think of a recent verbal conflict. Did you make accusations like "You always ___! You never ___! You are such a ___! You make me feel ___!"

    Notice how the focus of those statements is on the other person--the "you" you are facing in the fight. An "I" statement shifts the focus and helps you express what's going on for you, as in, "I'm feeling surprised at your remark. I need to hear more in order to understand what's behind it. I'm asking you to elaborate." Your conflict partner is less likely to feel defensive, when you leave the "you" out. And you're more likely to connect by stating the need behind your feeling.

  • March 27, 2018

    Aikido Off the Mat: Tenkan and Acknowledgment

    Aikido Off the Mat: Tenkan and Acknowledgment

    (from my new book, Turn Enemies Into Allies: The Art of Peace in the Workplace, to be published April 2019, by Career Press)

    Quite a few Ki Moments posts over the years have focused on the power of acknowledgment in difficult conversations. I've even called it the "secret sauce" on occasion, because acknowledgment demonstrates respect for my partner’s position, and respect is a powerful thing.

    In aikido, there’s a body movement called tenkan, most often translated as “convert” or “change.” Tenkan “converts” the aikido attack into energy I can use, and is a physical embodiment of acknowledgment...

  • March 13, 2018

    Plus-Delta: Look for the Good

    Plus-Delta: Look for the Good

    They sat at the table, preparing for a phone call with their website designer. One by one, they enumerated all the problems with the site so as not to forget anything. The team member taking notes sat back for a minute and thought about the site as a whole. She visualized the new site, and saw there was a lot that was right about it. She asked the group if they thought so, too, and invited some feedback on what was working. There were quite a few things. 

    The mood of the gathering changed and became more appreciative. People were smiling instead of frowning.

  • February 27, 2018

    From Adversaries to Partners: Resolving Co-worker Conflict

    From Adversaries to Partners: Resolving Co-worker Conflict

    In my last two posts, I asked you to help me name my new book. And I received so much useful feedback--thank you! I asked for specific suggestions for the title, as well as your vote on the top four. I got all of that and more. I received some really helpful advice. For example:

    • I believe the title needs to clearly say what the benefit is to me. It has to get me to go, "Hmmm....," tweak my curiosity and compel me to to pick it up.
    • I wouldn't limit it to managers. If it says "leaders," both leaders and managers will think it applies to them.
    • The focus should be on WHAT you want to achieve through the book versus HOW. So I'm thinking Aikido isn't necessary for the title despite how integral it is to your message. 
    • My "take" is including aikido in your title will distinguish your book from the profusion of books in this field just as aikido distinguishes you professionally.
    • The title should make a prospective reader feel like the author "gets them" and knows what they most need and want and fear and hope for.
    • The word ‘aikido’ begins to define the book. It would be attractive for a certain segment of the population but might not be helpful for a broader audience.
    • "From Adversaries to Partners" paints a vivid picture of the issue (adversaries) to a desired solution (partners), which is much more powerful than just 'getting along'.
    • It sounds like the idea is to train the employees to resolve their own conflict so the manager no longer has to be in the middle.
    • As you look at all those titles, remember to breathe and pick the one that most resonates for you!

    It was tough, because some viewpoints directly contradicted others--just like life! ...

  • February 13, 2018

    Requesting Assistance -- Name That Book! (Part 2)

    Requesting Assistance -- Name That Book! (Part 2)

    If you read my last post, you know that I'm in the final stages of writing a second book, and that book needs a title. Thank you to everyone who responded--over 35 of you--when I asked for help.

    I was delighted! And your suggestions gave me a lot to work with.

    If you're willing to continue with me on this journey, I've narrowed the selections down to four, and I'm asking for your help to narrow them down a little more. Like last time, you can record your vote in the "Let’s discuss this post in the comments" section at the bottom of the post, or you can send me an email at judy@judyringer.com. And I'll send you a copy of my new book (in pdf or hard copy--your choice) when it's published.

    If you want to know more about the book's premise or read an excerpt, you can find all of that in the original post. Briefly, if you're my intended reader, you are:

    • A manager, supervisor, CEO, school principle/superintendent, or HR professional,
    • With two staff members who can’t get along,
    • And both are valuable to the organization.

    As their leader, you are looking for an approach to help your staff resolve their conflict. You're seeking skills for yourself, as well as a process you can follow to coach the parties and eventually bring them together to form a new working relationship...

  • September 12, 2017

    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 conflict. 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....

  • June 20, 2017

    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.

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