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Are you wrestling?

Are you wrestling with something or someone?
Perhaps things are a little tense at the moment?
Recently I was asked “how do you deal with conflict President?”
One of my key goals is to ensure that as mission leaders we foster a mission culture of collaboration, encouragement, and unity.
Sounds simple enough, right?
But human beings are oftentimes far from simple!
Communication is strained, there are opposing positions, emotions run high – sound familiar?
And what happens if there are disagreements that impact relationships?
There are some simple things that we can do to overcome differences.
As a leader it is important to consider the following.

Top Tips

– Start with one-on-one conversations and get the full story by listening to understand.
Help each person do the important basic initial work at hand, namely – seeing the other person’s viewpoint, discerning their own emotions, and preparing for conversations to come.
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– Ask purposeful, meaningful questions by starting a dialogue
It is helpful to ask questions that focus on the facts and also on their emotions. “What is going on for you right now?” or “What’s motivating you?”
To help foster mutual understanding , it is also useful to have each person take the other persons perspective. This in turn will help everyone to feel heard and empowered.
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– Look forward – together
Once a little bit of clarity has started to evolve for each other, encourage each party to share what they have discussed with you as their leader.
In addition, remind them that they can work out their differences and find resolutions on their own by focussing on their relationship. Once the immediate disagreements are addressed, then make a plan to get everyone back on the same page.
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Some other important things to remember.
• Use this opportunity to revisit agreed purpose and goals.
• Promote more interactions to create better cohesion.
• Don’t assume everyone knows what they’re supposed to be working on! Clarify each other’s roles so that people know exactly what is expected of them.
Compassion, empathy, finding common ground, forgiveness, kindness, being an active listener and above all, selfless service are key to build bridges to resolve any conflicts.
Finally, choosing to slow down and focus on what matters most – really helps!
How can you repair some broken bridges?

Remember to say please.

Remember to say 𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞..

Not too long ago, I was reminded of some behaviours that we ought to avoid, namely, criticising, mocking or ignoring others, in other words incivility – it isn’t very pleasant.

Incivility- “rude or unsociable speech or behaviour.”

Its opposite is civility – “formal politeness and courtesy in behaviour or speech.”

Georgetown University professor Christine Porath, found that people who are civil are viewed as better leaders.

“Civility lifts people up,” she says. “We will get people to give more and function at their best if we’re civil. Incivility hijacks performance. It robs people of their potential. … When we have more civil environments, we are more productive, creative, helpful, happy and healthy. We can do better. Each one of us can lift others up.”

Far more important, are the things we do instead….

Do you use the word please?

When did you last compliment someone on a job well done?

Do you listen and seek to understand another person’s views?

How often do you give others the benefit of the doubt?

Do our words, our actions, and even the expression on our face communicate to people around us that we value and respect them?

Think what could happen in our homes, offices, classrooms, and numerous other places if we just treated others with more civility, kindness, politeness and respect.

Think what could happen to our relationships, to our health and well-being.

Yes, life is stressful and often uncivil, but we can change that – little by little – as we choose to embrace civility and simply say please.

Friendship

What new friendships have you made this year?
Reflecting this morning, on the year gone by, I got to thinking about all my friendships anew.
There have been many, all across the world.
A friend cares.
A friend is honest.
A friend reaches out.
A friend listens.
A friend loves.
To all my friends old and new, I discovered a poem that encapsulates how I feel about each of you. I have no idea who wrote it. Enjoy.

“𝐀 𝐅𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐋𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐘𝐨𝐮”

There’s a tenderness comes stealing
O’er this heart of mine today
And a warm and happy feeling
That can never fade away;
Just a feeling that is growing
Every day each long year through –
It’s the joy that comes through knowing
That I have a friend like you.
Round my heart are memories clinging
Of the golden days of old.
And they set my soul a-singing
With a happiness untold.
Yes, our pulsing heart throbs, treasured
Through the years of friendship true
Make me prize the love unmeasured
Of a good old friend like you.
Every passing day I wish you
All the joy your heart will hold;
May success be always with you
As the coming years unfold.
That the fast-approaching morrows
May see all your dreams come true
And contain but minor sorrows,
In my wish, dear friend, for you.
May our friendship grow and strengthen
In the misty years to come,
So that when life’s shadows lengthen
And our mortal race is run,
We may still be friends united –
Still be comrades staunch and true;
That our ways may e’er be lighted,
Yours by me and mine by you.
To all my friends old and new, I hope that 2022, brings you all your hopes and dreams you could ever wish for.
From one good friend to another – Much Love. 💕

Christmas Memories

This Christmas season has brought many opportunities to spend time together making memories.
Over the last few months, there have been a number of missionaries who have brought the piano in the mission home to life by playing some wonderful musical numbers.
In our family, over the last couple of days each of us have shared our piano skills.
Yesterday, patiently, lovingly, carefully, Cristi spent an hour or so, practicing some simple Christmas melodies on the piano.
Very slowly and with a little more attention, her confidence grew.
It was the first time she’d sat in front of a piano for many years.
I watched, I listened, I encouraged and occasionally annoyed her too! Dads are good at that sometimes! But for me, I enjoyed the music and simplicity of the tunes. It’ll be an abiding memory that will stick with me for many years to come.
Through it all was family time, with loved ones both near and far.
Catching up, telling stories, playing games, enjoying a delicious meal, video calls and reminiscing on Christmas’s past. It’s just about spending time together, talking, laughing, sharing, serving, loving, and making memories.
There were far fewer gifts this year, but what I learned is that creating good memories are real blessings.
The spirit of service was very real in our home yesterday.
May we give as the Saviour gave.
I learned too that families don’t really want or need anything from you, but your love, your time, and your memories.
Think on your own life.
What abiding memories do you have of Christmas past and present?

Ministering

Several times in the last week or two, I have been asked “What is ministering?”
In my answers I have used different words like listening, observing, helping, serving, sharing by effectively learning to attend to the needs of others by lifting and strengthening those around us.
This morning, as I was reflecting further I recalled this experience from a few years ago in Blackpool, England. Whilst facilitating a learning workshop, I experienced something I’d never witnessed before, in such a way that everyone in the room was moved to tears, when one delegate shared a very personal story, that brought great insight to the point we were discussing…
I wrote the experience up in one of my blogs, see https://www.darylwatson.org/2020/02/19/touched/ however, I will share it below too….
“The energy in the room was high. Then in a reflective moment one participant shared “I can relate to that” and tears started to flow freely.
The atmosphere changed.
We had already created a safe environment for sharing that day, but the authenticity in the room soared to a different level. Attentively, everyone focused on the personal story being shared. It was a moment of high emotion and an intimate turning point in the workshop. In opening up in such a manner the participant had taken a great risk in approaching a vulnerable area in their life by sharing it so deeply.
The silence was palpable.
Unwittingly, by speaking so candidly and tenderly, the participant had completely engaged everyone in the room.

Then it happened.

I watched, as those on either side felt impressed to reach out in a compassionate and reassuring way by physically touching our storyteller.
The whole experience had a profound effect on all of us in the room. There was a feeling of connection, togetherness and unity for a fleeting moment in time.
Deep and meaningful learning moments come quite unexpectedly at times. When they do, don’t be afraid to welcome them, gently explore them, embrace them and cherish them….forever.”
That day, in that moment, we were all “present”. Every part of our being was sensing something very different.
Each of us in that room were moved in a compassionate, loving and gentle way as we listened and observed one by one to the story being told.
Everyone in the room was emotionally touched.
So much so, that each of us then moved physically, to touch the storyteller in a gentle, kind and supportive way.
That is ministering.
Can you reach out, minister and touch someone today?

How do I become a better leader?

Recently I was asked, “How can I be a better leader?”
My thoughts returned to a childhood memory…
As a child I remember having a kaleidoscope. With each simple turn of the kaleidoscope a new beautiful pattern appeared. Hence the name for a group of butterflies, as they flutter around together – a kaleidoscope!
Kaleidoscopes constantly generate changing symmetrical patterns from small pieces of coloured glass.
In a similar way a kaleidoscope can symbolise anything that changes continually. Consider leadership!
“Trying to describe leadership is like having several viewers trying to compare what they see in a kaleidoscope when the mere act of passing the kaleidoscope shakes up its design.” Neal A. Maxwell.
Growing older, I am beginning to see that life can be like a kaleidoscope. We can get shaken up from time to time. By pausing, slowing down, reflecting and looking inside our kaleidoscope of life and holding it to the light – beautiful new patterns emerge.
Sometimes however, we play the busy card and don’t stop long enough to see the beauty appear.
So it is with the kaleidoscope of leadership. Endless patterns, endless models, endless ideas, endless determining factors constantly shifting and shaping our leadership styles.
What matters most are the constant principles that create the most respected leaders – namely; 𝒍𝒐𝒗𝒆, 𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒅𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔, 𝒑𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆, 𝒎𝒆𝒆𝒌𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔, 𝒉𝒖𝒎𝒊𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒚, 𝒉𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒚, 𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒈𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒏𝒈, 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒎𝒊𝒕𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕, 𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒑𝒆𝒄𝒕, 𝒔𝒆𝒍𝒇𝒍𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒐𝒃𝒆𝒅𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆.
So you want to become a better leader?
Then I suggest you focus on each of these character traits. In turn each will produce a kaleidoscope of beauty, no one can eclipse.

Friendship

And that’s the end of our first full month (already!), back home in the Netherlands.

One thing that has struck me is the importance of 𝐟𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩.

We have spent a large chunk of our first month making lots of new friends and reacquainting ourselves with many old ones too.

As we have visited together, we have laughed, cried, talked, sung, enjoyed meals, walked, played games, hugged, encouraged, helped and above all really listened to one another’s stories and experiences.

It has been a real joy to be with such wonderful friends.

My experience is that all of our interactions together are made more enjoyable and productive when they are accompanied by genuine feelings of friendship.

I remember years ago the counsel from Ralph Waldo Emerson who said “𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚 𝐟𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐞.”

To be a good friend, show genuine interest in others, smile, care about them, be kind, be grateful and show respect. Above all…

– 𝐁𝐞 Real
– 𝐁𝐞 You
– 𝐁𝐞 your authentic self!

Being who you are is key!

What kind of friend are you?

Generosity

When you think of a generous person, who first comes to mind?

Generosity – “a willingness to give help or support, especially more than is usual or expected.”

Who has inspired you the most to greater generosity?

I hope that it won’t be some famous celebrities or philanthropists, rather it’ll be a family member, a friend, someone in the community, or a co-worker perhaps.

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” said Debbie Macomber.

One by One.
Act by Act.
Service by Service.
Little by Little.
Each of us can make a difference.

I am encouraged by the words of the Dalai Lama who said – “Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude of compassion and loving-kindness.”

We simply don’t talk about generosity enough.

We desperately need more men and women in society at large to look around, to look beyond themselves and consider the needs of others. To become more selfless, outward looking, to give more, to be more compassionate and much, much more generous. Some will think it airy-fairy. Yet, it is a powerful, personal, potent, peace giving potion.

What can you do, who will you help today?

Frustration

What frustrates you?

Frustration: “…the feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something.”

I know that an upside of frustration is that it tells you that you still have some important lessons to learn in a specific area.

Are you like me? Gripping a few prickly problem perhaps? You try extremely hard to resolve the issue yourself. Then anxiety and stress start to build. We become our own worst enemy, when infuriatingly despite our best efforts, we can’t resolve the matter. Grrrr!

I was like that for a little while on Saturday morning. What was this huge grizzly challenge? Of all things – a wooden gate! My woodworking skills aren’t amongst my top abilities and my stubbornness meant I wasn’t for listening to any suggestions either.

Yet, sometimes a rescuer comes along and helps. With patience, kindness and tender words, they help you to see things differently, offering alternative solutions to the issue at hand. The answer can only be received if you humble yourself, set aside your pride and listen!

As the tension subsided, working together we resolved the matter. Gate fixed! Thank you to my darling wife, for her forbearance, restraint and composure to deal with grumpy old me. Lesson learned, again!

Civility lifts people

“Thank you” she said. “No, thank you” said another. Out campaigning yesterday for what I believe in, something impressed me about everyone I met – every individual person was civil and respectful. What a joy!
I’m not sure why I would have expected anything else, but what I do believe is that each of us should be active in the communities in which we live. We should aim to work cooperatively and do as much good as we can, treating others with respect and civility regardless of different views or perspectives of a given situation.
In Scotland, as another election looms on the horizon, I hope that we will continue to enjoy healthy debate, but also cordial and reasoned exchanges amongst one another. Each of us are free to choose our own political philosophy, where we can think and speak for ourselves. Living in a society which embraces freedom of speech and values democracy is something so important to each and everyone of us. I hope we all get that.
Civility lifts people up and is key to how we engage with others.
Rather than rancorous confrontation, I hope and pray that in the days ahead, we choose to be equally kind, considerate, civil, co-operative and respectful of one another, despite the broad range of views in the political spectrum.