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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?

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’d like to think 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?

Selfish vs Selfless

Recently, these two words have played over and over again in my mind. Perhaps writing this post today, will help – a little!! In order to understand selflessness, we must understand its opposite, selfishness.

  • Selfishness is defined as too much concerned with one’s own welfare or interests, with little or no thought for others
  • Selflessness is defined as being devoted to others’ welfare or interests and not one’s own.

So where do you stand with these two principles? Somewhere in the middle perhaps? Or is there a real distinct character trait that you can clearly identify with?

Selfishness

A selfish person frequently uses the terms, “I”, “me”, and “mine” as opposed to “we”, “ours”, “yours” or “theirs”. Generally, you’ll find that a selfish person is keen to be in the limelight, and that ultimately they’ll find no happiness in constantly pursuing a personal or business agenda filled with selfishness. Viewed in its true sense, selfishness is the absence of empathy and compassion. The products of selfishness tend to be, loneliness, arrogance, pride, lying, hypocrisy, greed, and idleness.  The selfish idleness, with its “I’ll do it later” attitude is procrastination at its extreme. I love this quote from a wise leader Gordon B. Hinckley, “Selfishness is a destructive, gnawing, corrosive element in the lives of many people. But the antidote to selfishness is service, reaching out to those about us – those in the home and those beyond the walls of the home”

Selflessness

So what of Selflessness? It is unquestionably a marvellous virtue. It is the giving of ones self in the serving of others and the giving of ones self in being served by others. Through my experience of many years of building long lasting personal and successful business relationships, the key to it all is selflessness and service. Selflessness produces kindness and dispels hypocrisy. It develops confidence, trust and the embodiment of authentic servant leadership in every interaction with others. Selflessness fosters love, confidence, and trust.

The Power of Service

The idea of servant leadership goes back 2000 years, but in his modern ground breaking work in 1970, Robert K. Greenleaf coined the phrase “servant leader” and “servant leadership” in his classic essay “The Servant as Leader”.“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.”

“The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?”

What we desperately need today in our homes, schoolrooms and boardrooms, and certainly throughout society at large – are leaders, men and women who are willing to stand for principles of goodness and virtue. In leadership standing for these principles, there is often loneliness – but ultimately the courage of one’s convictions brings great happiness, joy and long lasting relationships of trust and happiness.

How can you develop greater selflessness?