Showing posts with label Conflict Management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Conflict Management. Show all posts

June 15, 2021

Paranoid or Not

Thought this was a great quote on paranoia:

Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean someone's not out to get me.

Think about that one a little. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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July 8, 2020

Controversy, Yet Agreement

In these great times of strife and controversy in this country...

One thing that we can probably all agree on:
Make Falafel Not War

Words to live by.

And to eat by.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 7, 2020

Prickly Like The People

This ball on the bench is prickly like a lot of people.

Say or do something that rubs them the wrong way and you got a sharp aching thorn in your side.

Hence the saying about handling them with "kid gloves" made from fine soft kid leather. 

Handle tactfully and with special consideration or else get stung badly and suffer the pain and consequences. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 2, 2019

Pyramid of Emotional Intelligence

I really like this Pyramid of Emotional Intelligence (EI). 

It starts at the bottom with your own personal self-awareness--knowing who you are, including your beliefs, values, priorities, needs, and dreams, and being able to express this. 

Next level is your personal self-control--being able to manage your feelings, control your actions, and cope with challenges and adversity. 

Moving to the social level is then social awareness--having a consciousness and respect of others, their feelings, thoughts, motivations, needs, desires, and rights.

Finally, at the top is relationship management--the ability to actively listen and empathize, assert and influence, be patience and unconditionally accept differences, develop trust, give and take, collaborate, and manage conflict.

Most people work on developing these areas of the EI their whole life, and it is definitely a pyramid worthy of the climb. ;-)

(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 21, 2019

OFNR Communications Model


This is a useful 4-part communications process (developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg):

1. Observations:  Tell the other person the behavior you observe from them that is making you uncomfortable. 
When I Observe...

2. Feelings:  Explain how the person's behavior makes you feel (happy, sad, angry, annoyed, excited, worried, scared, hurt, embarrassed, confused)
I feel...

3. Needs: Describe what you need from the other person (physiological, safety, social, esteem, self-actualization)
Because I need...

4. Requests: Ask them specifically what you'd like them to do.
Would you be willing to... 
It's a way to make your feelings and needs known and ask nicely what you'd like from others. 

This provides a mechanism to give feedback and work with other people without being confrontational, threatening, dictatorial, or nasty. 

When I see you reading my blog, I feel happy, because I need to try to be a good person and good influence in this world. Would you be willing to share my blog with others? ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal and Colleague from Work)
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September 16, 2019

Sometimes You Just Want To Say...

It funny, sometimes you just want to say...

Exactly what this ladies shirt says. 

My father used to say when certain people were nasty to him, he would just be nice to them.

And when they would still be really nasty to him then imperceptibly, quietly under his breath, he would say "F*** You."

Ah, maybe not always so imperceptibly. LOL

Sure, we can't always just come out and say it like this lady does boldly on her shirt.

Maybe it doesn't help to use expletives, but sometimes some people can be such jerks that just saying it quietly is cathartic and truth-telling. 

Perhaps more important, saying it let's you know that you still have  a moral compass and personal integrity, even if others around you have seriously compromised on theirs. :-)

(Credit Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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September 15, 2019

Ghosting - How Rude!

So when I listen to the Kane Show in the morning on 99.5 FM, they frequently do this thing where they call someone to find out why they've ghosted their lover or friend. 

Invariably, it often turns out that there is someone else in that person's life. 

The person is usually either too scared to confront the other person or is just a cheater and doesn't want to tell the other person, instead wanting to "have their Kate and Edith too."  LOL

So "ghosting" is where the person just disappears, cuts off contact, or goes incommunicado. 

It's sort of an avoidance strategy. 

This leaves the other person not knowing what happened or why. 

It's like the line just goes dead between the two people.  

Sometimes, one person is clingy or forces themselves on another in which case, the other person may feel smothered, and therefore repels or wants to run in the other direction. 

Other times, how do you tell someone that you just don't like them anymore? 

Worse is if the person is cheating behind the other person's back, hiding it, and denying it--that's unforgivable!

When a person ghosts another, it's sort of like at work when someone get's marginalized. 

No one wants to give honest feedback to the other person, so instead for some people it's just easier to avoid them and the topic  altogether. 

I think the point is not to hurt other people. 

The question is how do you cut the strings with someone you don't like without getting into a huge, ugly confrontation?

Honesty is the best policy, and treating people the way you would want to be treated. 

But for some people who don't take no for an answer, it's understandable that you may just want to have the phone on busy signal or you attempt to break contact.

Relationships are tough, and when they go bad, ghosting without at least trying to end it nicely can not only be rude, but also it's chicken to break it off as a ghost, and not a person. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 18, 2019

When People Can't Admit They're Wrong

So he's a story from the pool today...

I'm doing my laps minding my own business.

And this guy gets to the pool, sits down, and immediately pulls out his cellphone.

Then he proceeds to literally yell into his phone for probably a good half an hour. 

I'm doing my laps and I can hear this guy yelling:

- At his end of the pool 

- ALL the way at the opposite end of the pool

- With earplugs

- AND even underwater

And he goes on and on and on. 

Doesn't stop for even a breath of air. 

Now, in all the years swimming, I've never had to approach someone about their behavior like this.

BUT this was too much as my head was pounding from his incessant yelling.

I waited until he finished his call. 

And it happened to coincide with me finishing my laps. 

I come out of the pool and grabbed my stuff. 

I have to pass him on the way out. 

And I'm still debating with myself whether this schlemiel is even worth it. 

My head is still throbbing from his yelling.

I stop in front of his chair. 

Now he's pulled out a book and is trying to read. 

I say:
Excuse me.
He knows he did something wrong, and he barely looks up, trying to ignore me. 

I say again:
Excuse me. Did you intend for everyone at the pool to hear your ENTIRE conversation?

He starts murmuring something, and then says throwing it back on me:
What's the problem?

So I say:
You were speaking so loud, I could hear you all the way on the opposite end of the pool.  I could even hear you under the water. 

He's agitating now and he says:
Well, I was speaking to someone 85-years old who doesn't hear well.  You get it?

So I say respectfully:
I am sorry that he doesn't hear well, but does everyone else here around the pool also need to hear the conversation? 

Then he says:
So what--I don't care if everyone hears.

I try one more time.
Do you see all these other people trying to read, rest, swim--do you at all care?

He still can't get himself to come around, and instead doubles down and says, 
Well. I'll do whatever I want!

Now, I've had enough, and I say:
So basically you don't give a shit for ANY of your neighbors, do you?

Finally, he must of been embarrassed enough at his terrible behavior, and he backs down and says:
Next time he calls me, I'll take the conversation inside!

At which point, he goes back to his book, and I complete my exit. 

It took all that just to get him to say he'll handle it differently next time and basically be respectful of his neighbors and not a selfish pig!

It's amazing--some people really just can't own up to when they are being a jerk.

But I was glad this guy finally came around--maybe there is still hope. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 16, 2019

Never Get In a Pissing Contest



I saw this and thought this was a clean version of "Never get into a pissing contest."  ;-)

(Credit Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 17, 2019

Wrong and Wrong

I thought this was a funny saying that my friend told me. 
I'd agree with you but then we'd both be wrong!

He said that he actually liked it so much that he got a sign with it and put it in his office. 

As they say, "Two wrongs don't make right."

If you think something is wrong, hold your ground--otherwise no one will be right. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 27, 2019

Having Those Difficult Conversations

Took an interesting class recently in having difficult conversations.

These are the conversations you need to have about performance, accountability, expectations, bad news, conflict, and so on. 

Often these are the conversations we tend to avoid, because we don't know how to have them without making things worse where things get emotionally charged, people become defensive, things gets misinterpreted, and they get escalated. 

And it's even more difficult when there is a discrepancy in power between the people having the dialogue. 

But it is important to have the critical conversations in order to solve the underlying problems!

Often problems are rooted in that we judge others too quickly and erroneously, or we just don't have all the facts. 

The data points we do have get filtered, interpreted, assumptions are made, conclusions are drawn, beliefs are adopted, and actions are taken that may be wrong (reference: The Ladder of Inference by Chris Argyris).

The key to having a productive conversation is to explain the issue and the impact, acknowledge your part in the problem, describe the desired outcome for the relationship and the work, and most importantly, give space for the other person to respond.

We need to get the other person's point of view, including the data points that we may have missed or misunderstood, generate options, and agree how to solve the issue.

Unfortunately, there are times when the other person digs in and isn't open to working on or resolving the problem, in which case you may need to decide whether to grin and bear it (i.e. live with it) or leave the relationship, because it has become too unproductive and toxic. 

The instructor said it well: This is about problem-solving. But life is too short to deal with jerks!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 20, 2019

Compromise = Winning

So this shutdown has really been an education in political dysfunction, bickering, and childish behavior. 

But when President Trump yesterday went on the air and provided a compromise solution whereby he gets funding for a 200 mile border wall/barrier and the Democrats get money for humanitarian relief at the border, high-tech sensors, and years of protection for 700,000 children that came to this country illegally (DACA) and another 300,000 for immigrants from designated countries that prevent their sage return (TPS)--it seems like everybody would come out a winner!

That's negotiation.  That's compromise.  That's diplomacy.  

When President Trump did this, I thought he really won the day, especially when the Democrats rejected his proposals and offered nothing in return or as an alternative. 

Even if the other side disagrees with the solution, they can and should offer what their version of a compromise/agreement would be and so on between the parties--this way, they can negotiate until both sides get to the magical compromise that everyone can agree to and live with. 

What I learned from this is that regardless of your political leanings, the side that shows flexibility and compromise and the desire to get something done, is the side that wins the argument, period. 

Those that want it all or are simply obstructionist and haters are the big losers in the debate. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 13, 2019

Upside Down Bird, Black Sheep--Same Thing

I thought this art was funny and accurate:
There's always one in every family.
Really, it should be there is always one (or two) in every family, group, and organization. 

Whether it's the upside down bird or the "black sheep"--I think we call it that person a troublemaker!

Is it the attention they crave? 

Is it a good fight or argument they are after?

Are they just different and that's okay.

Listen, we are all the same, but we're also all different. 

Imagine being completely the same and how boring that would be. 

So being the upside bird isn't necessarily a bad thing. 

The other birds may look at this upside down bird as cuckoo.

But the bird may not be a cuckoo bird at all.

He may just be acting himself. 

To the upside down bird, he probably thinks of himself as being right side up bird, and that it's the other birds that are the cuckoos.

From my experience, there is being different and then there is being cuckoo for real. 

There really are one or more cuckoos just about everywhere you look.

Worse yet, if the other 4 birds are sane, then watch out because you may be the cuckoo bird.

And then there was the movie, "One flew over the Cuckoo's Nest."  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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December 16, 2018

My First Interfaith Event

So I attended my first interfaith event today at Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

The first lady that I spoke to said that she wasn't any one religion.  

When I asked more about this, she said:
The core to all religions is Rachamim (mercy, compassion) and Ahavah (love).

Pictured above are the table seating cards that directed people to sit next to people of other religions:  Jewish, Muslim, Other. 

The event was led by the One America Movement, and the Director, Andrew Hanauer spoke very well about bridging what divides us. 

Here are some of the take-a-ways:

- We need to address the divisiveness, polarization, and conflict. 



- Remember that we are talking with other human beings and not with labels.

- Polarization is not just issues, but devolves into identity--"I hate your stupid face!"



- But we are all human beings (and children of G-d). 



- Republicans and Democrats each say that the other is 20% less human than they are. 

- We all have our own "facts":  My facts vs. Your Facts. 

- We attribute good that happens to us as being because of "us," but bad that happens to us because of "them."

- Similarly, we believe that we act out of love, but they act out of hate--and:

- We interpret threats to our viewpoints (political and otherwise), as threats to our groups and to ourselves. 

- Try to remove binary thinking (right and wrong, left and right, etc.), critique your own point of view, and share doubts


- Reconciliation:  If we can cross the divide, have open dialogue, and positive interactions with each others, and develop cross-cutting identities then we will make it easier to counter divisive narratives, solve problems, and reduce violence. 



(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 20, 2018

How Does It feel At The Top

A colleague told me something interesting about what it feels like at the top.

He said:
The 360 degree view is good, but it get's windy at times!

I thought this was pretty smart, and one reason that many people opt out of moving into senior and executive positions in their organizations. 

Yes, it's great to be able to lead and have more visibility, influence, and impact. 

But at the same time, this does not come for free or without risks. 

At the top of the pyramid or corporate offices or whatever, there is opportunity. 

Yet, your dealing with other top honchos with strong personalities, egos, and often harsh ways of dealing with others and conflict can be perilous for many. 

My father used to tell me his philosophy:
Better a little less, but you know what you have. 

There is definitely wisdom in those words. 

Maybe as with most things in life, there is a time and place for everything. 

It is great to have the opportunity to lead.

It's also not bad to have a time to follow and contribute in that way. 

What's important is that whatever role your in at the time, that you do it with integrity and passion to do good. 

So how does it feel at the top--sure, it's a nice view, but it can get very windy too. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 13, 2018

Succeed OR Fail

So I liked this saying from a colleague of mine at work:
We succeed or fail as a team.

It's not me. 

It's not you. 

It's not him.

It's not her. 
It's us!

No one can do it alone. 

- If we fail, we fail as a team. 

- If we succeed, we succeed as a team. 

So let's come together and be a team and give it our best shot! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 27, 2018

Keep A Cool Temperament

So this was amazing. 

I was working with someone for a number of weeks/months. 

All of a sudden, I got a complete blow off email from them that said they are done and they wished me well in a sort of very sarcastic and even contemptuous way--like a real f*ck off!

Were they just being nasty or trying to pick a fight or something?

First, I was taken aback and honestly hurt--like what the heck happened that they showed their true strips...did I miss it all along. 

I showed my wife their email, and she read it the same way, and said "What an asshole!"

I continued to hold my mouthpiece and feelings as I contemplated how I would respond. 

I have to admit that some choice words and wishes back to them definitely came to mind. 

But I said to myself, "Hold, hold, hold!"

It wasn't easy not to respond in kind--lash back out at them--and even then some for good measure. 

No, that isn't the way. 

You can rise above this. 

I kept my mouth shut and literally controlled my reactions.

Well, lo' and behold, I thought I would never hear from this person again the way they spoke to me, but then a few days later,  I received another email where apparently they rethought what they did.

It didn't have to come from me to them to "set them straight!"

Their own conscience seemed to have played on them and they came to their own senses about how they behaved and spoke. 

I learned from this that it is critical to maintain your composure and keep your cool under all circumstances, no matter how trying. 

Don't stoop to their level--you rise above it!

Sometimes, the other person may just surprise you and rise back up too and do the right thing in the end. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 10, 2018

The Essence of Time Management

So here are some quickies on the essence of time management.

1. Urgency vs Importance:

Don't sacrifice the important items for the urgent ones!

- Focus on the items that are important on the right side of the matrix--if they are urgent (upper-right), you need to do now; if they aren't urgent, but they are important (lower-right), you need to make time for them. 

- Deemphasize the items that aren't important on the left side of the matrix--if they are urgent and not important (upper-left), limit them or delegate them; if they aren't urgent or important (lower-left), delete them. 

There are two potential areas of dissonance that can cause you tension, stress, and anxiety.

- When the urgent top row items and the lower-left life necessities get in the way of your focusing on the quality life items that are of long-term importance to you (the lower-left).  For example, work and errands can crowd out your personal, family, community, and spiritual time. 

- When you have too many items in the lower-right quality time area and these are in competition with each other for your time and attention, and you don't know how to prioritize them and get it all done.  It's like there is never enough time. For example, we ignore our spouse, the kids, or closeness with G-d, because we just can't get to it all.

This is where our personal values and conscience come into play to drive what we do and how we spend our precious time in this world. 

We all only have 24 hours in a day, so our actions need to be purposeful and driven by our values!

2. Tasks vs Relationships

Imagine another matrix with focus on tasks on the vertical access and focus on relationships on the horizontal access. 

Again here, we want to ensure a healthy balance of focus on both task and relationships (upper-right corner). 

If we focus on tasks at the expense of relationships or relationships at the expense of tasks, we are going to have a problem.  Moreover, it makes no sense to focus on items that are neither task- nor relationship-focused (lower-left).  

We need to collaborate with others to accomplish great, complex tasks (we can only accomplish so much alone). 

Again, dissonance (tension, stress, anxiety) is caused when we are pulled off-balance to focus on work or people to the exclusion of the other.  

As they say,

"Mission first, people always!"

We've got to build meaningful relationships and work together to get the mission done and the mission can be helping people and building a better society in a variety of ways. 

In a sense, it's people helping people. Love thy neighbor to help thy neighbor.  

Time is of the essence--we have so little of it--it is precious--we can't get it back--it goes so fast--we need to manage it like gold. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 17, 2018

Rocky Says

A quote from my role model Rocky: 
It's not about how hard you hit.
It's about how hard you get hit.
And keep moving on.
That's how winning is done.
Go Rocky!

And by the way, you should hit pretty hard also. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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March 9, 2018

Fruitful Discussions

I liked this guidance from Dr. Britt Andreata on addressing conflict through managing difficult conversations

Here's how the typical bad scenario unfolds:

1. Problems begin with another person (e.g. annoying or unwanted behaviors).  

2. People start building their cases - listing the wrongs done to them, collecting corroborating evidence, and seeking validation from others.

3. There is a tipping point in terms of frequency or intensity of the problems that lead to a confrontation where accusations are made and blame is attributed. 

4. Then the aftermath in terms of a animosity, loss of trust, and a damaged relationship.

Here's a better way to deal:

1. Problems begin with another person.  

2. People spend some time reflecting on why the behavior is affecting you, getting clear on what you want to correct it, and trying to see from the other person's perspective. 

3. The tipping point is sooner in terms of the frequency and intensity of the problems--so you nip it in the bud earlier--and you have a conversation with the other person where you have reframed the other person from an adversary to a partner (e.g. you've questioned the facts, assumptions, conclusions along with your emotions, beliefs, and actions--and you've looked at alternative narratives to these) and you take responsibility for your part, share your experience and goals to improve things, invite their perceptions, and "co-create solutions."

4. Follow through with the other person to work together, implement the changes, and hold each other accountable to address the issues. 

The amazing thing about this approach to conflict management is that assuming the other person isn't truly bad, evil, or gunning for you is that we can look at things from constructive perspective where we own our part, and they own theirs, and together we work together to make things better for everyone. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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