How do you respond to politics at work?

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How do you respond to political plotting? It may not be easy but it is necessary to contribute to more positive workplaces! And it’s something you can do, regardless of your role. Every interaction makes a difference. Again, it’s important to acknowledge the others’ underlying need. It might be a need to bond with an ally or the need to …

How do you respond to gossip?

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How do you feel when someone gossips or complains about someone else? It depends, of course. It can be great to agree because it creates a feeling of bonding. “The two of us agree and it’s us against that person or that issue”. It can be such a relief to vent. But it may not be what you’d like to …

Is it safe or are there monsters?

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I simply love the Crucial Conversations book that covers how to have any conversation and respond to any reaction, while you stay true to yourself and enhance safety and respect in the relationship. Conversations are often difficult when stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong. Most people avoid them or don’t handle them well, resulting in the silence …

How to train your listening skills?

Marcella Bremer Positive Power 2 Comments

The counterpart of Inquiry is Listening. As we are often in telling mode and we value doing over being, listening may not come naturally. I assume that we could all use the exercise below and repeat it from time to time. I myself have to slow down, focus my attention and practice patience. I’m always tempted to jump in and …

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 …

national-culture

Are you aware of culture?

Marcella Bremer Change, Culture, Leadership 2 Comments

Lately, I discussed communication in my Personal Positive Power series to make a positive difference. But are you aware of how your communication is influenced by the culture you’re part of? Geert Hofstede, the Dutch culture researcher and one of my true gurus (I love his work) says: Culture reproduces itself. You learn when to be proud and when to …

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. …

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 …

What does your body say?

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If you suspect that you might need to clean up some emotional issues before you can be an authentic person at work – Steve Sisgold is your man. In his practical book What is your body telling you? he shares many exercises to tap into the wisdom of your body and your inner knowing. We cannot embody positivity if we …

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 …