Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Keys to Confronting Well – Part II

ConfrontingIn last week’s blog I shared the first five of ten keys to confronting well. Have you had an opportunity to practice those principles in a confrontation? If so, let us know in the comments below!

Confrontation can be a scary proposition, but when you learn to do it well it can be the key to resolving differences and strengthening trust in your relationships.  Here are the last five keys to confronting well.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Keys to Confronting Well – Part I

ConfrontingMany people struggle with confronting well. The thought of speaking up, especially during a conflict or uncomfortable situation, can be almost paralyzing. However, the ability to effectively confront tough issues by clearly stating what you think, feel, and want can be one of the most valuable interpersonal skills a person can possess.

This week we will look at the first five of the ten keys to confronting well so you can be prepared for those difficult conversations.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

“But I Don’t Like Confrontation”

ConfrontationWouldn’t it be nice if everyone always got along and communication was always agreeable? That, of course, is a fantasy that will never happen as long as human beings co-exist on Earth. The reality is that there are times when discussions must take place that involve disagreement or confrontation of a behavior or situation that needs to change, whether you like it or not. You may know someone who enjoys a good argument or seems to relish stirring up discussion about difficult subjects, but that doesn’t describe most people. It is more likely that you would rather run the other direction – and you are not alone!

I would have to say that fear of confrontation is one of the most common issues many of my clients face. It’s not uncommon for people to literally become sick to their stomachs at the thought of having to confront for fear of having it turn into a conflict or facing the possibility of rejection. Consequently, these same people often experience low self-esteem, sub-par relationships and emotional turmoil. They live with constant nagging of unresolved issues, anger and frustration. Resentment often creeps into their relationships, and sometimes the other person doesn’t even realize there is a problem.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I Just Don’t Like Confrontation

ConfrontationWhile helping clients navigate the pain and frustration associated with some of their most important relationships I often hear a very familiar phrase, “I just don’t like confrontation.” The truth is, the vast majority of people fear confrontation.  The thought of confrontation often evokes fear of criticism, rejection, and/or conflict. There are multiple reasons associated with wanting to avoid confrontation, but I want to address just one of them today – fear of rejection.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Quaking in Your Cubicle: Dealing With a Difficult Boss

Surveys show a high correlation between job satisfaction and liking and respecting workplace superiors, yet few are awarded “Boss of the Year.”  So, unless you’re independently wealthy, chances are one day you’ll encounter a difficult boss.

Difficult Boss

Common complaints involve bosses with a negative or pessimistic attitude, those who offer limited direction, hover over employees, claim undeserved credit, speak critically of others, withhold recognition of success, correct in front of others, play favorites, speak when angry, exhibit moodiness, refuse to listen, pass the buck, make destructive comments, and fail to express gratitude.

Fortunately, there are constructive steps you can take to effectively address the problem.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Why Most People Avoid Conflict… and Why You Shouldn’t

If you can think and talk, and if you ever come in contact with other people, there is the potential for conflict. Conflict is an inevitable, completely normal part of the human condition, yet most people readily admit that they intentionally avoid anything that even remotely resembles disagreement or confrontation.  In fact, much of my work in relational counseling and coaching involves helping people to understand – and even embrace – the value of conflict and overcome the fears that feed their aversion.

avoid conflict

There are a number factors that can influence conflict avoidance, such as self-doubt, lack of assertiveness, inadequate communication skills, fear of rejection, disapproval, criticism, loss of security and more.  In other words, people avoid conflict in order to minimize perceived threats to their self-esteem and sense of well-being.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Tips for Holding Team Members Accountable

If you want to jeopardize the productivity and performance of your team and at the same time compromise trust and respect, DON’T hold your team members accountable. Before you protest, “But trying to get my co-workers to do anything always causes trouble,” let’s look at some facts.

accountableIn his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni lists the fourth dysfunction as Avoidance of Accountability – ducking the responsibility to call peers on counterproductive behavior that could harm the team.  Failure to maintain an organizational culture that values and demonstrates a high standard of excellence invites mediocrity, low morale, mistrust, and employee disengagement. Those are not the characteristics of a winning team!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Secret to Eliminating Destructive Conflict in the Workplace

When two or more colleagues come to my office, either voluntarily or by referral from their employer, one of the most often identified coaching goal involves learning how to effectively confront problems while eliminating destructive conflict.  There are many reasons for why destructive conflict occurs in the workplace, but there is really only one effective way to consistently decrease it.

Most conflicts start when one person speaks up with a concern or complaint.  Too often, the message is delivered in a harsh, critical fashion which increases the likelihood of a negative or retaliatory reaction.  Very quickly, the emotions of both parties begin to overflow the banks of self-control and good judgment.

In an effort to help coworkers change their destructive pattern of communication I encourage them look at the complaint, no matter how it is delivered, as an expression of emotional hunger.  If your body doesn’t get the food it needs, you will experience physical hunger and your stomach will growl.  When an emotional need is not met, the “growl” usually occurs in the form of a complaint or criticism. So when your coworker whines, gripes, nags or complains it may reflect a need to be emotionally fed and nourished.

But here’s an unfortunate reality: When I ask the colleagues to describe a recent conflict, I often find that once a complaint has been expressed (translation: “I’m hungry.  Please feed me!”) I find that most people ignore the request and begin feeding their own needs instead by defending, blaming, criticizing and explaining.  Often, they will react with a counter-complaint of their own which conveys the message, “My hunger is more important than yours and your needs don’t matter to me.”

You can see now why it’s so easy to become offended and to quickly ascend the emotional escalator.  After all,

Monday, April 29, 2013

Keys to Confronting Well – Part I

Most people fear confrontation. The thought of speaking up – especially during a conflict or uncomfortable situation – can be almost paralyzing. However, the ability to effectively confront tough issues by clearly stating what you think, feel, and want can be one of the most valuable interpersonal skills a person can possess. The ten keys listed below can help prepare you for those difficult conversations.

1. Objectively describe your concern

Stick to the facts only when describing your concern or complaint. If you begin by talking about the other person’s motives or intentions, you’re likely to trigger a defensive or angry reaction.

2. Avoid making it personal

Address the action or behavior without attacking the person with criticism, name calling or blame. Negative personal comments can damage your relationship, even into the future.

3. Keep your comments brief and to the point

Reserve the lectures for the classroom because they never benefit relationships. If your goal is to influence positive behavioral change and resolution, less is more.

4. Resist getting sucked into an argument

If your comments are met with hostility, blame or defensiveness, fight the temptation to argue your position. Instead, state what you believe needs to be said and then end the conversation. Arguing is often destructive and will likely make the situation worse.

5. Avoid getting sidetracked

It’s easy for irrelevant or unrelated issues to sneak into a discussion when confronting a difficult issue. Commit to only addressing one concern or complaint at a time, and it will increase the likelihood of an acceptable outcome.

I will share the last five keys to confronting well in our next blog post.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Guaranteed to Improve Communication

By far, the number one problem identified by married couples is that they can’t communicate effectively. It’s actually somewhat hard to believe that this problem is so pervasive in homes today when you consider that these same couples often claim to not have difficulty communicating with friends and co-workers. What’s up with this?

One of the main reasons couples have such a difficult time communicating at home is because their conversations involve “high stake” relationships along with “high stake” issues that are often highly emotionally charged.

I have found that one of the best ways to guarantee better communication when engaged in these difficult conversations is to learn how to be a skilled listener. I’m confident that if you consistently practice the tips below for the next thirty days you will see the quality of your communication improve significantly. Give it a try.

1. Listen twice as much as you talk

“It is far better to keep quiet and let people think you are foolish than it is to speak and have their suspicions confirmed.”

“The word “listen” contains the same letters as the word ‘silent’.”
Alfred Bandel

2. Commit to not interrupting

“Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” King Solomon

3. Listen for accurate understanding

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
Stephen Covey

“Hearing is merely picking up sound vibrations. Listening involves understanding what you hear.”

4. Avoid mind reading and drawing premature conclusions

Acting as a mind reader or jumping to premature conclusions because you have “heard it all before” will likely take you down the road of misunderstanding.

5. Ask questions to gain more information and to seek clarification

The more fully and clearly you understand the thoughts, feelings and