It’s a wild ride, navigating this new era of sensitivity and awareness.
What are some of the practices you use for staying relaxed, healthy and productive, even as volatility increases?
Personally, I’m working on my humility. As a post-middle-aged Boomer Caucasian male, every day brings me new opportunities to expand my awareness and become more humble.
It’s really true! I really do need to check my assumptions, question my background conversations, and self-assess my privilege, again and again and again.
The most challenging part is do all of that while holding on to my integrity.
I need to be able to say to myself: “It’s OK for me to be alive. I get to be here. I get to thrive and contribute. It’s good to love and laugh!”
THAT kind of integrity. The integrity of the soul.
But…. that’s easier said than done for some of us. How to succeed?
We must ask an important question:
How can I best serve?
When I ask that question, my answer is always clear, and always the same:
I can best serve by mastering CONFLICT and TRUST.
If I’m working with a business team, a nonprofit board of directors, leadership from an intentional community, or a pair of individuals having a disagreement, the content doesn’t actually drive the solution.
It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s a product launch, horrible earnings, a change in leadership, or mission confusion. It doesn’t seem to matter if they need a strategic plan, a team building session, or if there has been a downsizing directive.
The people involved experience one specific challenge:
They stopped trusting each other.
My contract might stipulate “meeting facilitation”, “strategic planning”, or some other service. What actually happens is:
I get paid to to MEDIATE CONFLICT.
Here’s an example: Recently, I was called in to help a team of ten people who have been working together for years to live in a housing coop. Some of these friends had known each other for over 20 years. But no matter how strong the background of relatedness, the current challenges were dividing the group. They had chosen to react to their circumstances, rather than slow down enough to take action.
Why? Because they had temporarily lost trust in each other.
Remember, when trust has been broken, there are only two outcomes:
- Earn back Trust
- Continue without Trust
In the Coop example, they’d stopped reaching for and finding the inner strength necessary to put aside their own pain/discomfort and focus on the co-op’s Mission.
Resentment and righteous blame were driving this group to fracture.
When people get “dug into our position”, we start looking for evidence to prove that which we don’t want to see. We start arguing for the things which cost our organizational success.
I don’t trust you, because I believe you are selfish and care only for your own self-interest. – – – See? You left work an hour early again! I knew it!! – – – (The real story: Their daughter has impacted molars and is in great pain, really needs the parent, and the parent works at home to fulfill their job responsibilities)
And then, we often begin to punish them! It’s crazy, and it’s human.
Here are examples of the most frequent punishments that lead to ingrained conflict and eroded trust:
- Aggression – physical or verbal abuse, explosiveness, loss of temper
- Passive-aggressive reactions – silence, creating distance, becoming unreliable, rejection, isolation
- Abusing relationship – sarcasm, cynicism, criticizing, shaming, focusing only on the negative
- Revenge, eye-for-an-eye thinking and similar destructive behaviors
I don’t know of any single person who is immune from exhibiting those punishing behaviors, myself included. It’s seems easier to punish someone, than to to the hard work and invest the energy necessary to generate a successful conflict resolution. But at the end of the day, that’s what makes the difference between teams that succeed, and those that fail.
So… how do we get out of this mess?
We need Trust and Conflict Tools.
The Meeting Guy has developed a suite of 10 Trust and Conflict Tools.
We’ll take a brief look at the first one here.
Trust/Conflict Tool #1: Go First!
Go First! is one of the best conflict tools available. Actually, it’s more a way of being than a specific tool. Go First! is about your willingness to generate success.
It takes courage to Go First! It also takes wisdom.
Going First! means you deeply know, you have it deep in your bones, that holding on to conflict, resentment, anger, blame, etc. costs so much more than letting it go.
Why further destroy something you’ve been building (for months or years)? Why destroy the key value, the most important organizational assets, when there is such a proven road to resolving conflict?
When you choose to Go First!, you have chosen to lean into the existing relationships, to build trust, and to experience conflict resolution.
When you Go First, it’s YOU who says:
- I’m willing to trust you first.
- I’m willing to let go first.
- I’m willing to get over it first.
- I’m willing to support our mission first!
Call on me anytime at www.themeetinggy.com/schedule