Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

Showing posts in the category “Leadership”

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  • June 30, 2020

    Making Assumptions: Why Should You Catch Yourself?

    Making Assumptions: Why Should You Catch Yourself?

    In my last post, I posed a question about whether you can catch yourself when you're about to make an assumption about another person's thoughts or actions, and whether you can choose to move toward curiosity instead of judgment--a crucial awareness if you want to have more skilled conversations.

    I think now a more important question than "whether" you can catch yourself is "why you might want to".

    As I read and re-read the post, I came to see it as naive. Those of us who want to catch ourselves making assumptions will do it and get better at it. And there are some who don't want to get better and maybe don't care. If you just want to be right--or know someone who does--read on....

  • May 19, 2020

    The Tao of Tea

    The Tao of Tea

    My Ki Moments post today, The Tao of Tea, is by Jonathan Blakeslee, who writes about someone from his past, a role model who used aikido principles to disarm and redirect a difficult customer. As Jonathan puts it, I learned a lot from Veerinder, who in many ways inspired me to walk the path I am on now work-wise.

    If you live anywhere in or near the seacoast of New Hampshire, you probably know Jonathan and his work. He and his restaurant--White Heron Tea--are a wonderful feature of life here. Even in the shutdown, White Heron Tea continues to offer healthy and organic signature teas (and delicious muffins, cookies, and sandwiches). Knowing this, I think you'll appreciate Jonathan's essay even more.

    Whether Veerinder knew of aikido, he certaily understood how to turn an enemy into an ally, and how to advocate without attacking. Thank you, Jonathan, for the wonderful story....

  • December 3, 2019

    In the Spirit of Giving: Respect, Presence, and Pausing for Breath

    In the Spirit of Giving: Respect, Presence, and Pausing for Breath

    Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

    -- attributed to Ian Maclaren (1850-1907)

    In this month of sharing gifts, I'd like to share four brief stories from Ki Moments subscribers like yourself. Over the years, stories like these from generous readers demonstrate how big a difference it makes when we pause, take a moment to find our presence, and offer respect, sometimes when it is least expected. 

    These writers' experiences highlight real-world applications of aikido principles, such as respect, moving with instead of against, and that the only real enemy is the one within. When we practice inner self defense, we can manage whatever comes our way from outside...

  • October 22, 2019

    Working On Yourself Alone: A Metaskill for Difficult Conversations

    Working On Yourself Alone: A Metaskill for Difficult Conversations

    I had to have a difficult conversation. I was invited to deliver a training for the organizational development team at a large U.S. tech company. At the last minute the company said they wanted one of their facilitators to partner with me. I was already at the site, and I could see they wanted to give this person (let's call him Max) some experience, and I said OK.

    I explained to Max how to follow my lead. I indicated where he could be of assistance, and asked him to otherwise be an observer of the group. Things went well for a while, but soon Max began to add content, most of which seemed designed to show his expertise but wasn't relevant. When I asked a question of the group, Max spoke instead, taking a "front of the room" position and expanding on the topic.

    At the break I decided to talk with Max. I should tell you first that confronting people is not my favorite thing. My default style in conflict is to accommodate. But there was a job to do here, a group experience at stake, and objectives to be met. A strong purpose to protect the training experience propelled me to speak....

  • September 24, 2019

    Self-Awareness Primer: What It Is. How to Get It.

    Self-Awareness Primer: What It Is. How to Get It.

    Occasionally I enjoy sharing posts by other writers--personal favorites by fellow coaches and leadership consultants like Joe Dunn, the author of today's post on self-awareness.

    Self-Awareness Primer: What It Is. How to Get It.

    by Joe Dunn

    We know it when we see it. We say “she’s highly self-aware,” and we mean it as a compliment. We mean that person is able to take criticism, correct her mistakes and learn as she goes. We can work with that person, tell her what we think and expect a reasonable response.

    Being self-aware is a strength. It’s a foundation for authenticity, for communication, for decision and for leadership. It’s also something that can be simply defined, learned and practiced...

  • 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”? ...

  • August 27, 2019

    Circles and Sides

    Circles and Sides

    It seems like everything is ‘sides’ these days. Which side are you on? That’s all we want to know, isn’t it? It tells us everything we need--to pigeonhole, to categorize, to finish or continue our thought. After all, if you’re not on my side, why should I talk to you? Should I even like you? As I watch the nightly news and browse social media, it would appear not.

    And yet, there are many sides, aren’t there? So many more than two. Consider a circle: walk in any direction and you return to where you began. There are no sides to a circle, just round and round. Go left and you come back to the right; go right and you eventually come back to the left. In fact, left and right aren't even different sides, they meet in the middle.

  • 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...

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