Training, Development & Retention
In my seminars on Wrestling Rhinos: Conquering Conflict in the Wilds of Work…and Everywhere Else! I ask the audience how many folks came from a home where no one spoke up when they were upset or hurting, the “Do not say boo to a goose” families. Those are the homes of the “Silent Ones.”
Then, I ask those who came from “Let it all hang out! Tell it like it is.” families to identify themselves. Those are the homes where everyone fought for airtime and whoever had the loudest voice took the day. Those are the homes of the “Ol’ Yellers.” There, people said their piece, cleared the air and went on to live and love again…or, not!
Now, put the extremes of those two home lifestyles together on a team. It isn’t rocket science to quickly realize how those homes impact the workplace even after twenty years in the work force! That’s why it is imperative to strategically and systematically acquire and practice the foundational skills of good conflict management. Those old skills need refreshing!
Sometimes, when I’m working with business teams, the evidence of the split between Ol’ Yellers and Silent Ones is screamingly obvious. The Silent Ones take the brunt of the pain internally and tend to turmoil and talk among themselves. This is completely counter-productive for all concerned. What they need to say to Ol’ Yellers is important to communicate and move on, yet, they stew in the juices of “Ain’t it awful” and “They’re doing us wrong!” That is stuck energy. Ol’ Yeller continues in the same way because no one set a boundary.
Recently a person wrote to me privately about the fear of losing one’s job being the reason no one speaks up. I understand that completely. Here’s my response to that email:
I can understand that conflict in the workplace where people are definitely concerned about keeping their jobs is a big issue. I’m talking about the personal fear of conflict, knowing that you are living from that disempowering place.
There will always be people who don’t agree with us, people who have a need to be dominating or superior in their desire to control, difficult people and miserable people. My suggestion is to be sure to have taken the time to understand yourself and what goes on with you when conflict is in the air. Then, equip yourself with the best skills to manage it in ways that are totally honest and totally kind at the same time. And, then, of course, be wise enough to know when to hold and when to fold! Then, we’re not living from fear, and who wants to do that if it is unnecessary?
And, yes, this is a tenuous time in the job market. People are looking at their businesses in a very masculine mode: this is a machine and if a part is not working, I’ll simply replace it. Women, when living from their true nature, treat their businesses differently: this is a garden which I will water, nourish, tend and support to help it to grow in the best way possible. Yes, that is a stereotypical generalization, but, it is also generally true. When business owners are fearful, it does trickle down, or, even, flood.
So, if you are bringing the conflict management skills you learned at home to your present adult life, you need to examine them for effectiveness. In the words of Dr. Phil,
“How’s it working for ya?”
It may be time for a refresher course that will empower you to think differently about who you are, your place in the world and how you express it. It is essential to bring your skills in alignment with your values, vision, beliefs and purpose. And, yes, you will have to discern when to hold and when to fold, but, you’ll feel confident that you have the skills to hold and speak up, skills that will help you be totally kind and totally honest at the same time.
OPPORTUNITY: If you want to refresh your skills easily, have a look at our February teleseminars. You can get what you need right at your phone. Visit: SowPeace.com/events These classes are also available for intact groups such as your workplace team. Just give me a call at The Optimize Center, 760.747.8686, so talk about your specific needs.
Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, is a peace catalyst. She makes it easier to talk about difficult things. Founder of Sow Peace™ International, she focuses on empowering individuals, leaders and teams with solutions and skills that get to the heart of communication, conflict and conscious collaboration. A popular keynote speaker, Dr. Shaler has shared her light-hearted approach and value-packed content with audiences, teams and readers for more than twenty-five years. Author of over two dozen books and audio programs, including her most recent books, Wrestling Rhinos: Conquering Conflict in the Wilds of Work and Soul Solitude: Taking Time for Our Souls to Catch Up, Dr. Shaler teaches people to express themselves in ways that are totally kind and totally honest at the same time. That sows peace. Trained as a psychologist and professional mediator, she shares her insights through her blog at http://SowPeace.com
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