Possibility-oriented questions

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In the last post, we have seen that our behavior follows our questions. For instance, I could complain about the lack of response to my emails. I could ask limiting questions that focus on finding the culprit. Why do they not even have the courtesy to reply? Who ignores my emails? These questions will make me feel annoyed and not …

What do you ask to influence others?

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In our culture of telling, to ask can be judged as ignorance while leaders are supposed to know what to do. Telling is expected and respected. And it feels so good to give advice, thinking we have solved someone else’s problem! But wise leaders use questions to engage people and encourage them to take ownership. Looking at the lack of …

The art of asking

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Humble Inquiry is the art of asking questions to which you do not already know the answer. It is building a relationship based on curiosity and interest in the other person, says Edgar Schein in his book Humble Inquiry. Our culture is biased toward telling. When in telling mode, we hope to educate, impress, or to entertain. Western, egalitarian and …

Silence, Violence or Flow?

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What kind of interactions are taking place around you? A helpful discernment is whether there is silence, violence, or a natural flow in a conversation – as described in Patterson’s a.o. book Crucial Conversations. In crucial conversations there is a lot at stake and we often hold things inside by going silent until we can take it no longer—and then …

Are you congruent?

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In every interaction there are three levels that influence its effect and meaning: What – the content; the words I say How – the process; how I say it (nonverbal communication) Why – the intention; the meaning, what I am trying to accomplish with this interaction. We tend to focus on What people say and are less aware of the …

Positive Communication

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“Every professional context is created by the conversations that people have. (..) Every moment of interaction is important. Positive communication can help create positive organizational climates, high-quality relationships, and affect a wide range of outcomes such as health, learning, or morale.” That’s what researchers Julien Mirivel and Ryan Fuller found out. Even something as simple as the absence or presence …

Do others still bother you?

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You, too, are probably mistreated in one way or another. You might be overlooked, blamed, discriminated against, criticized in one context or another. But you still have the choice to see the other as a whole person. That is what great people did: they did not become bitter by their unjust treatment and saw others only as demons or caricatures. …

Do you engage in drama?

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A well-known example of Ego-interaction is the “drama triangle”, described by psychologist Stephen Karpman. One of your self-justifying narratives could be the prosecutor, the victim, or the rescuer. The Victim’s stance is “Poor me!” He feels oppressed, helpless, hopeless, ashamed, and can’t make decisions, solve problems, etc. The Victim always finds a Persecutor and a Rescuer – who both perpetuate …

How do I relate to others?

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How do you relate to others? When you look at situations the blind spot is yourself. As you are the source of attention, looking outward, it is not easy to “turn back the camera” and see yourself as part of the situation. Here lies an explanation for self-deception. You may conclude: the others are the problem, not you. Self-deception is …

How authentic can you be?

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I hope you are still reading this blog… Why do I go on about transcending fears and feeling safe in spite of human vulnerability? Because authenticity is essential for positive agents. Authenticity also fuels your courage, which helps to be the change you wish to see. Frederic Laloux labeled it “wholeness” in the reinvented, “Teal” organizations that he researched. People …

What is your vulnerability?

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Brené Brown explains that until she dealt with shame and fear, she wore different suits of armor that kept her from becoming too vulnerable. She kept people at a safe distance and always had an exit strategy – especially in our culture of cynics and critics. But when you armor yourself – you cut yourself off from others and from …

What are you grateful for?

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Gratitude has been found to increase individual and group performance and leads to positive behaviors. Paying gratitude visits (to say thank you), writing gratitude letters and keeping a gratitude journal are scientifically proven to work. The practice of keeping a gratitude journal is quite simple. Get a notebook and write down three things that you were grateful for this day. …