Posts Tagged ‘conflict situations’

Can you change a habit of a lifetime?

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Can you change a habit when it comes to challenging people in your life? I’ve noticed something happen time and again in the War to Peace® workshops I’ve held over the past decade.

A man's hands: Can you change a habit of a lifetime?Here’s what goes on: We break for lunch, and the participants head out to grab some food and headspace from the deep work we’ve been doing, becoming aware of how we’re being in the relationships in our life.

Some people decide to lunch together; others take a sandwich across the road to the park and recharge amid the ancient oaks, or explore the neighbourhood cafés.

We regroup for the afternoon session, and that’s when I notice it.

There’s almost always one participant whose face has changed entirely, almost beyond recognition.

Maybe they started the day with a worn, tired expression, and suddenly they look relaxed and awake. Often before I’ve asked them, they’re bubbling over to tell me what’s happened.

The reason is always the same: an internal shift when they’ve suddenly realised that a relationship in their life that they’d thought could never change suddenly feels different.

Can we really change the habit of a lifetime?

This kind of shift in perspective might seem far fetched until you’ve experienced it. And it’s definitely not “magic”, even though it can look like that from the outside.

The fact is, most participants don’t come to the workshop thinking about the really big relationships in their lives.

(Usually, the goal is to resolve something far closer to home: a dispute with a colleague, a neighbour, or a boss.)

But the tools we share are both practical and powerful, and once you become aware of what they can do, all sorts of new possibilities open up. You can read about Gordon's experience of exactly this here.

When we experience what it really feels like to be at ease with someone whose behaviour is challenging to us, without letting them off the hook, it’s inevitable that we begin to look at some of the bigger stuff.

That’s the change I notice on the faces of the people who come back from lunch with a totally different way of thinking about their dad, or their daughter, or their ex. Nothing about the other person has altered at all. What has shifted is how they’ve been able to move their focus from what the other person is doing, to what they themselves can do.

A real shift in what’s possible

There’s a huge freedom that comes when we are no longer waiting for someone to change or make amends in order for us to feel better.

Instead, we start to take ownership of our interactions. We’re not giving our power to the other person and so we’re able to be our calm, creative, resourceful selves.

We have more energy, more compassion, and greater capacity to focus on the things and people that matter to us (instead of the ones who drive us crazy).

What I love about sharing this methodology is that it can apply to any relationship we need it to. Big and small, from the people who’ve known us our entire lives to the new maddening hire in the office.

In the decade that War to Peace® has been around, thousands of people have come away from our workshops with a method that will help them navigate challenging and sensitive interactions in every area of their lives.

Curious? Find out for yourself

Our first public workshop of 2018 is on 2nd March and we have just 4 places left, so if you’re wavering, now’s the time to book! Click here to get your ticket and find out if you can change the habit of a lifetime. (And you have nothing to lose with our Wise Investment Guarantee, which offers you a full refund if you’re not satisfied*)

And to be the first to hear about our new workshop dates, sign up for our monthly blog posts containing tips and strategies for your relationship challenges.

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Can you change a habit when it comes to how you experience the most challenging people in your life? We're sharing the unusual experience we've noticed in several workshop participants

 

 

 

*Our Wise Investment Guarantee

If you leave one of our workshops and don’t feel better equipped to deal with the people you find difficult we will willingly refund your money. We believe wholeheartedly in what we do, we know it works and if it doesn’t work for you, we wouldn’t want you to pay us. If you are not satisfied with your experience, just return your course materials to us, give us some feedback on how we could have made it better for you and we will give you a full refund.

When one person lets down the team

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

I loved my team - we were dedicated, high performing, go-getting and made up of the most intelligent, action-taking, committed individuals I could have wished for.

Except for Martin. Team meeting - what to do when one person lets down the team?

Martin was the exact opposite. Every annoying habit you could conceive, he had. From turning up late, to repeatedly promising he’d do things and then not delivering, he was the one bad egg in the team of my dreams.

As his line manager, the stress of trying to shift his behavior was keeping me up at night. I felt like I’d tried everything: I’d check his understanding of his tasks and ask him to set his own deadlines, I’d ask him why he hadn’t delivered to his own deadline and what support he needed, I even tried to show an interest in him and his home life to see if there was something at home that was troubling him. Then I tried being tough, setting non-negotiable deadlines and threatening disciplinary action, which eventually was the process that was entered into. Martin was impossible, and in the end I asked my boss to remove him from my team and give us his entire workload, as I concluded that it would be easier to take on all of his responsibilities than the amount of time, effort and frustration managing him was costing me.

We breathed a collective sigh of relief when Martin exited our team and moved into another department. Finally, we could be high-performing once more, albeit feeling somewhat resentful of all the extra work we had to do under already pressurised conditions.

The unexpected twist

Several months later, I met someone who was now working with Martin. I was ready to commiserate when they told me he’d been promoted! I was floored. This incompetent, irritating, un-manageable person... promoted... how had he fooled them? My team were incredulous when I told them, it’s not as though we’d forgotten about Martin - his name had become a euphemism for non-delivery. But it bothered me nonetheless...

Several years later, I had changed roles a good few times in the organisation and was again fortunate enough to be heading a high performing team. Once more, we had uncompromising deadlines and pulled regular all-nighters to meet them. This time it was Amy who was the thorn in our side. Clearly intelligent, her role was essential to our success, as she was responsible for updating our ever changing project plans and PowerPoint presentations to the board. However, she made it known to us on a daily basis that she felt this task was way beneath her capabilities and frequently suggested that she had much better ways of doing things. I’d brace myself before every encounter with Amy, knowing that she was going to roll her eyes, highlight the inadequacies of our approach, complain and would input the data through deep sighs, tutting and a slowly shaking head.

Was this going to be Martingate all over again…?

A new approach to conflict

Amy bothered me. On the one hand, I’d feel perfectly justified in telling her to get on with it - it was her job after all and we were all under immense pressure, often not agreeing with the decisions made above our heads and having to do work that didn’t exactly satisfy us either a lot of the time. On the other hand, how many times in my career had I been shut down and told to JFDI (just do it) when I had great ideas about doing things differently? It wasn’t exactly motivating and it would be easy to see how this could escalate into full blown war if I wasn’t careful. But then she did have a poor attitude that was in real danger of bringing down the team, so it wasn’t as though I could leave things as they were, so what could I do?

Often at the times when urgent action seems necessary, it’s a good indicator for us to pause and reflect. With the Martin experience still ringing in my ears years later - and all the time and stress that it had cost me - I decided to invest some time in contemplating Amy’s situation and how I’d want to be viewing this in years to come. I concluded very quickly that whilst she clearly wasn’t a good fit for our team and it would be easy to make her wrong (just as I had with Martin), this wasn’t going to solve our issue, any more than imploring her to just do her job would.

When I looked at the situation from Amy’s point of view, I could see why she was frustrated and that some aspects of the role were beneath her razor-sharp intellect. I could also see that there were other departments in the organisation that could use someone with her desire for process improvement. That said, with my experience of her attitude, I didn’t feel I could wholly recommend her, but that was part of a conversation I could now have with her.

Speaking honestly

Instead of wasting weeks in conflict, trying to get her to change her behavior and venting to anyone who’d listen about how she was making life a misery, a much more honest conversation ensued with her than ever it did with Martin. I was able to tell her frankly why she wasn’t a fit for our team – and the kind of position I thought she’d be better suited to. I also explained that even though I understood her frustration, her attitude didn’t leave me feeling able to fully recommend her, but I did want her to succeed and shared the potential I saw in her.

Key to this dialogue was getting into a frame of mind that was empathetic to Amy’s situation. Imagine how she might have experienced being on the receiving end of the same words from someone who felt angry and aggrieved? Instead, together we were able to mutually agree a plan for her to move on and, funnily enough, her attitude in her remaining weeks with us was considerably better, and she even helped source her replacement!

Moving out of the vicious circle

What is less important in the War to Peace® methodology is the action we take. What’s far more important is the way in which we take the action, in other words, how we are being. So, in this case, the action taken was to remove an under-performer from the team. In the first case, it cost dearly and there was bad feeling for everyone involved. It could have been exactly the same in the second case had it not been for a change of attitude - mine not theirs.

I can only imagine how Martin feels about his time with and exiting our team. And I know how Amy feels about hers, because it turns out it was the first time she had experienced such frank feedback and she later shared the positive impact it had on her.

I am sure you’ll be able to think back to similar examples in your life. Times when you’ve managed to have what seemed like difficult conversations – in work or at home – with grace and aplomb. And others when you wish you could turn back time and do it all differently. I’m willing to bet it was your own attitude that made the difference.

Next time you find yourself facing a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario ask yourself what viewing the situation from your own narrow perspective is costing you (I know you feel justified because it’s affecting other people too, but it’s still costing you dearly to focus on this). You may be surprised at how imagining yourself on the receiving end of you may lead you to a change of heart - and a solution that you couldn’t otherwise see.

Healthy boundaries, easy change

If you ever find yourself frustrated by colleagues, team or family members, or just want to be able to handle challenging conversations without being a pushover or sacrificing your boundaries, then War to Peace® is for you. In our one-day, practical workshop you’ll experience our award-winning methodology for yourself and apply it to a real-life challenge that’s coming up for you right now.

Our first open access workshop with spaces available is on March 2nd. Click here to get your spot, and move into Spring with your biggest time-suck taken care of. (Because if you have a Martin or Amy on in your life right now, or find yourself landed with one in future, all the productivity hacks in the world won’t give you back your time or your sanity).

And to be the first to hear about our new workshop dates, sign up for our monthly blog posts containing tips and strategies for your relationship challenges.

P.S. pass it on!

If you know someone who might find this article helpful, let them know. Share it by using one of the buttons below.

 

 

What to do when one person lets down the team – and doing nothing's not an option. A true story from @halcyconglobal

 

 

 

Photo via Unsplash

Letting off steam – or blowing your top?

Monday, October 10th, 2016

When we’ve been wronged in some way by someone, it’s natural to feel hurt and upset. When people around us see that we are upset and ask about what’s happened, our instinct is often to tell them.

Imagine you are walking to work and a stranger barges into you, spilling coffee on your jacket and knocking you to the floor before disappearing without a sorry. When you arrive at the office, dishevelled, you are highly likely to tell your colleagues what happened – it can be cathartic to share the experience, after all. You're unlikely to see that person again and, when you have been given a coffee and commiserated with for a few minutes, you can clean up your jacket, take a deep breath and get on with your day.

letting off steamBut what about if the person who wronged you is someone you have to see regularly? A colleague, friend or family member, for example? Is it always healthy and cathartic to tell others about what has happened to you, or could you end up getting into an unhelpful place of gathering of allies?

Gathering allies is one of the signs of being at War (or going into conflict) that we talk about in the War to Peace workshops. If we are a country about to go to war – or a person about to become in conflict with someone – we've learned that it's in our interests to get as many people as possible to be on our ‘side’.

So the barging stranger example earlier isn’t generally going to be a War situation – it’s hopefully just an annoying thing that happened on the way to work.

But what about if Wendy still hasn’t written that report that you need for your presentation tomorrow – and she promised it three days ago? And what if she did this to you last week as well, and you had to pull an all-nighter to get ready for the big meeting? Is it OK to have a moan to your colleagues? You’re really annoyed, naturally, and it’s cathartic, right?

What about if your colleagues join in with your moan and tell you that Wendy left them waiting a few times too, and that her work was sloppy when it arrived? Would that make you feel better or worse? Does the conversation still feel cathartic, or is it starting to feel toxic? How would you feel if Wendy walked into the room as you were talking? And is your relationship with Wendy getting any better as a result of sharing your frustrations? Would you think to include the times that she had helped you or done some fantastic work in this conversation? (By the way, when we go to War with someone, it's largely unconscious and means it's usually very difficult to recall much good about the person or anything they've done).

There’s a big difference between a short ‘vent’ into a journal or to an unconnected friend and a gathering of allies such as the example above. The first allows us to let off steam, which often helps us to move on and deal with the problem at hand; the second only sends us further into the war zone by reinforcing to ourselves and others how 'right' we are about the person, and gathering further reinforcement and evidence of this from our allies. In short, it’s a quick route to being at War.

In the meantime, Wendy is wondering how she is going to get through another day on no sleep when she's been caring through the night for her sick mother for a month now. She's so distraught, she daren't talk about it for fear of crying at work and looking "unprofessional." If only you'd known what was going on for her...

Over to you

  • The next time you find yourself telling someone about a ‘wrong’, ask yourself: "Am I having a cathartic vent or gathering allies?"
  • Notice what story you are telling yourself and your allies. How do you feel about yourself and the person you talked about afterwards?
  • How can you find more inner resources at times of difficulty? (clue – try starting with the ideas in this post or this one)

Do you know someone who could benefit from War to Peace?

If you, or someone you know, would like to experience how to let off steam in a healthy way and learn how to be at Peace, even with the people you find most difficult, our next open-access War to Peace workshop is on 3 March 2017. We only have 8 spaces left and spaces sell out quickly (especially our reduced priced tickets) so if you would like to attend, do book yours today.

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Are you letting off steam or blowing your top?

 

 

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©Halcyon Global 2016

 

 

Are you seeing red with someone?

Monday, July 18th, 2016

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Jasper had been worried about money for about three years. Since his partner Ruth had become ill and unable to work, things had been tight. At first, they saw it as a sort of a challenge – they swapped energy providers and switched to own brand products at the supermarket and celebrated the savings they had made. They rented a cottage in the UK rather than going on holiday abroad. They cancelled their gym memberships and walked their dog Benjamin a lot more. They dipped into their savings pot because that’s what savings were for, right?

The last six months had felt bleak though. It was no longer a game. Any holidays at all were a distant memory, the savings fund had dried up and they never put the heating on despite freezing temperatures. They were defaulting on their mortgage payments and, to make matters worse, Ruth’s health was declining fast. Jasper couldn’t see any possible happy ending – he stood to lose his partner and his home and he felt desperate.

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Karen had been overjoyed when she got the job four months ago. It was a significant promotion for her and she loved the company she worked for, the position itself, which saw her having to be creative and innovative, and most of all she liked the team she was working with.

Well, all except one person. Since she had arrived, Karen had made a big effort to befriend her colleagues by chatting with them at work and socialising with them as much as possible after hours but Jasper seemed to resist all her attempts to strike up conversation. Every time Karen tried to engage with him, either by asking him opinion on a work related matter or just offering him a cup of coffee, she was met with unsmiling eyes and a polite but very brief answer to her question and nothing more. Jasper seemed to almost be going out of his way to avoid Karen and never joined in with the social activities when she was there.

Jasper’s reactions bothered Karen and she spent a lot of time worrying that maybe she had done something wrong or said something to annoy him. She just couldn’t shake the idea that it was something to do with her – maybe Jasper thought she wasn’t up to the job? These concerns were starting to make Karen doubt her abilities and question her new role in the company.

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When people that we come across are distant, abrasive or even aggressive, it’s very normal to put up our defences and go to War with them. Depending on what sort of person we are, these reactions can be self-questioning, aggressive, or judgemental (we use a framework called the ‘5 Shades of Red’ to better understand this on our War to Peace workshop). Whichever Shade of Red we go to, our reactions invariably only make the situation worse for ourselves and the person we are at War with, even if we try to hide how we’re feeling.

In the situation above, Karen has a very self-critical reaction to Jasper’s behaviour, which makes her unhappy and question her ability to do the very job she was overjoyed about just a few months before.

Another person in Karen’s position may have also gone into the Red but reacted by complaining about Jasper to the other members of the team, in an attempt to gather allies and make themselves feel somehow ‘more right’ about their difficult colleague.

Still others may have confronted Jasper, made disparaging remarks or denigrated him to the boss.

Yet, as we have seen, Jasper’s behaviour has very little to do with Karen and very much to do with the big worries he is carrying around with him.

It’s very easy to take the behaviour of others personally. But what if we stood back and imagined that other person’s apparently abrasive behaviour has nothing whatsoever to do with us?

If Karen had known what was going on with her colleague at home, the chances are that she would treat Jasper (and herself) very differently, which would make her job enjoyable again, and would perhaps also make Jasper’s life a little easier at the same time.

Of course, we can’t always know other people’s stories and pains, but we can stop ourselves from making them up - and we can definitely learn how to stop reacting to their behaviour.

Over to you

  • What might happen if you decided that the behaviour or attitude of a person you're finding difficult to deal with has absolutely nothing to do with you or anything you have done?
  • How might that new perspective benefit you? How might it benefit them?
  • What has been your own 'Shade of Red' in conflict situations? How do you tend to react when someone is abrasive or ignores you?

Do you know someone who could benefit from War to Peace?

If you, or someone you know, would like to experience and understand more about the impact on your life of being at War and learning how to be at Peace - yes, even with the people you find most difficult - our next open-access War to Peace workshop is on 7 October 2016. We only have one space left for this workshop! So if you would like to attend, do book yours today. Not sure if it's for you? Read what other people who have tried it have to say.

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Seeing Red with someone? Here's what to do about it. 

 

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photo credit: Bound to Ignite via photopin (license)