Mapping a Solution for Trump and Sessions Conflict

Even though Trump likes to dump out unexpected comments and tweets the chances of solving communication and interpersonal problems with a one-way approach of “my way or the highway” are very small.

I would recommend a meeting to align expectations and push through barriers of frustration.

Pinch Model: Mapping the Solution of Aligning Expectations and Assumptions

Research fact–Planned Renegotiation and the Pinch Model developed by John J. Sherwood and John C. Glidewell (1973, 1975)  is based on the premise that relationships in a social system—a pair, a group, an organization, or a community—seldom proceed smoothly or as planned or expected. The model describes how social systems are established, become stabilized and aligned so that work can get done and how change can enter the system. When these expectations are disrupted it is called a “pinch” and if not resolved to the satisfaction of both parties can lead to uncomfortable and unproductive relationships and even interpersonal “crunches”, like termination of the relationship.

Pinch and Crunch Model Steps:

Want to Grow and Develop in the Face of Fear or Suffering ? Learn from the Sages and Modern Day Research

To be a growth orientated person is a skill that can be learned. It is the basic foundation that underlies what we mean when we speak of having a high IQ or EQ. When we develop the skill of a “Growth Mindset” we actually change the physical structure of the brain. This revelation is based on one of the most exciting scientific discoveries of the last twenty years: How we focus our attention shapes the structure of the brain. Neuroscience has also definitively shown that we can grow these new connections throughout our lives, not just in childhood.

Want to learn how to change personal habits and reach your goals for change even in difficult and painful circumstances?

Everywhere man is confronted with reality of fate, with the chance of achieving something through the challenge of conquering difficult situations and his own suffering. The solution for finding this “inner strength” to overcome present pain and suffering is to focus on better times in the future. For example, when  working as a psychiatrist to the inmates of concentration camps during WWII, Victor Frankl found that the single most important factor in cultivating the kind of “inner hold” that allowed men to survive was teaching them to “hold in the mind’s grip some future goal”. He cites Nietzsche’s, who wrote that “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how,” and admonishes against generalization:

“ Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on. He was soon lost. The typical reply with which such a man rejected all encouraging arguments was, “I have nothing to expect from life any more.” What sort of answer can one give to that”?

What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned and challenged by life — daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual from moment to moment in life.”

These tasks, and therefore the meaning of life, differ from man to man, and from moment to moment. Thus, it is impossible to define the meaning of life in a general way. Questions about the meaning of life can never be answered by sweeping statements. “Life” does not mean something vague, but something very real and concrete, just as life’s tasks are also very real and concrete. They form man’s destiny, which is different and unique for each individual. No man and no destiny can be compared with any other man or any other destiny. No situation repeats itself, and each situation calls for a different response. Sometimes the situation in which a man finds himself may require him to shape his own fate by action. At other times it is more advantageous for him to make use of an opportunity for contemplation (reflection) and to realize assets in this way. Sometimes man may be required simply to accept fate, to bear his cross. Every situation is distinguished by its uniqueness, and there is always only one right answer to the problem posed by the situation at hand.

Modern Day Research Support:

One modern way to learn how to handle the situation at hand is to understand and use the future planning tool “IF…Then” thinking and planning.

Well over hundred studies on achieving goals reviewed by  Gollwitzer and Paschal Sheeran research (file:///C:/Users/mark/Downloads/HP_Sheeran&Orbell(2000).pdf demonstrate how effective and efficient “if..then” plans are in facing  life challenges and overcoming tough decisions, obstacles of fear  and improving performance to keep on keeping on in the face of difficult situations like pain and suffering.

In a meta-analysis the researchers look at studies on preventative health screening, exercise, eating healthy and dieting, to negotiating and setting other life goals. They found that a person’s positive intention to perform a behavior is the key predictor for changing actual behavior and performance”.  The key elements of success were found to be –setting in advance (intentions) using IF…Then goals for taking specific actions to reach your goal. Remarkably they discovered that the use of “IF… Then” plans and focused intention can triple your chances for successful completion of personal change goals. The aim of the study was to look at the gap between setting intentions ( concept of implementation intentions) and actual behavior of woman coming for cancer screening. For example, they stated their goal of the study was address this problem using Gollwitzer’s (1993;Gollwitzer & Brandstatter, 1997) concept of implementation intentions. In particular, we examine whether intentions to attend for cervical screening that have been supplemented by implementation intentions specifying when, where, and how the appointment will be made improves the likelihood of attendance.

Self- Coaching Challenge: Try using the IF…Then intervention when trying to change habits or reach personal goals

 

Learn these two critical communication skills for Connecting with Others.

 

Daily Quote: ” Sometimes the most unique connection and learning happens when others are encouraged to talk about themselves. Questioning and active listening are the best and most appreciated way to show others you care”. Mark W. Hardwick, Ph.D.

Reflection: Questions can be an effective way for you to show others that you curious about them and want to get to know them better. Effective questioning and active listening promote unique connections, progress and possibilities, and typically lead to two-communications, discoveries, understanding, and solutions.

A powerful question, for example, might be, “What are your goals for this year?” “What are the critical responsibilities for job”? “How do you show gratitude for others support”? and “What do you think our customers need to refer us to other companies”?

When the right questions are asked we can connect with others and have the possibility for problem solving and opportunity finding.

In the following, I will discuss some ways of questioning that lead to connections and  open-up conversations. Also we will examine the other side of the coin where the wrong type of questions shut down conversations and move others away from us.

Let’s review a few types of questions to see which ones work better in developing rapport and connections with others.

  1. Open ended questions. Are used so the other person can explain or provide more information which creates more of a two-way conversation and unique connect. Most open questions start with What? or How? Questions. For example –What are we going to do with our credit card debts? How are we going to pay for the kid’s college tuition?  Another way to open a conversation up is to say – “tell me” more about your ambition to be a doctor…
  2. Closed questions. Are questions that  can be answer with a simple “yes” or “no” and actually close down dialogue between to people. For example, Are you going to the game today?
  3. Exploration questions.   These types of questions generally, start with What? How? Where? or When? They facilitate exploration and provide an opportunity for learning more about the other person who you are interacting with. They provide more opportunity to gather information and lead to more understanding which is the basis of empathy.
  4. Judgmental questions. By contrast, a question that is classified as a “judging” make others defensive and less forth coming. Questions like this are more closed-minded, snarky and critical which lead to withdrawal a very little productive dialogue. They focus on problems rather than solutions and often lead to unproductive outcomes. Judging questions lead to negative energy and stop conversation before it has a chance to really get started. For example, “Are you responsible for this mess?  Or “Why aren’t we selling more in this quarter? By the way most people find Why? very difficult to answer and most of the time “just make shit up” to get the person off their back And so on.

Self-Coaching Challenge. Ask a colleague to make note of the kind and frequency of questions you ask at your next staff meeting. After you get the feedback decide what you are going to do to improve the openness and flow of your questions.

Daily Quote, Reflection and Self-Coaching Challenge: Doing something to increase the “ripple of hope” effect

Daily Quote : “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

Reflection: Learning something new keeps you growing. Exploring and looking at things differently opens up new paths for learning. Deliberately seeking out the unfamiliar and people who are different from you keeps hope alive. Developing more experiences increases self-efficacy and confidence in one’s ability to handle a new challenge. These qualities—are characteristic of an agile and growth oriented learner and add to the “ripple” of hope that Robert Kennedy’s quote references. And with the world becoming increasingly complex with each passing day, Learning to be flexible and embracing small acts of kindness can make a crucial difference in making the world a better place.

Self-coaching Challenge: Commit to do something in the next 24 hours to increase the “ripple” of hope in the world.

Daily Quote and Self-Coaching Challenge: Coping with Life Difficulties and Losses

A Self-Coaching “Smart-Step” approach to Coping with anxiety and difficult times

Daily Quote: ” When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”.–Viktor Frankl 

Through out life we will encounter good and bad times. With the rapid pace of living  we all experience change as a way of life. Some of us learn to roll with the punches and find ways to get through our daily ups and downs. Others get “stuck” and have a difficult time functioning at an acceptable level. And still others find themselves anxious or increasingly depressed over a problem, concern, or worry for a long time. So we all react differently to change and try to find individual ways to cope. In my experience with clients, I have found some ways that are more effective than others to cope and push try to relief. Below I will provide two Self-Coaching tools that provide a practical framework and a mental set for dealing with these personal obstacles to live a life of constructive action. I suggest you write them down in your personal journal or on a 3x 5 index card so that when you find yourself on the edge or overwhelmed with worry and  insecure thinking, you read these tips to get you through the difficult situations you find yourself in. If necessary, read them over and over again, mantra like.

1.) I will let life be what it is. I won’t “make stuff up” too upset my balance and positive outlook. Sure there are obstacles and inconveniences but no awfulness and shoulds’ in life. Try using positive self-talk like the following: This too shall pass…it could have been much worst…this is inconvenient and unexpected so consciously  STOP. Take a deep BREATH. SMILE and Move ON. 
Sometimes, when the phone rings and the voice or message at the other end knocks you for a loop, you may feel shock, out of control or overwhelmed with what life has just delivered you. And yet you need to keep going on because sometimes there are no solutions or answers to life’s difficulties. Rather than reading these events as “awful” and “unsolvable”, a more constructive approach to terrible news is to notice and accept how you are feeling, if sad, be sad; if you start to cry just cry; if angry; be angry and then redirect your attention to something more useful. For example, find a tissue to wipe your tears, if you are standing sit-down, go for a long slow walk etc. Redirection physically can be a powerful constructive act.  Just remember this event as just a moment in life–not good or bad, just life.  Mentally reject the inner voice that tells you this is awful and you can’ go on. Don’t fight the fear or focus on it;  just notice it and accept it. Acknowledge these events are real, unwanted and  inconvenient obstacles that just need to be handled the best way you know how. With heighten emotions and unclear thinking about loss and fear driven thinking your insecurity and confusion will rise and you may find yourself slowed downed–but this is event is not the end of life or awful! What feels to be hopeless and overwhelming is only an emotional flooding created by this unexpected circumstance. Keep in mind your tool to STOP. Breath. Smile. Keep Moving and trust yourself to handle this situation.

2. Not every problem has a solution, and sometimes you have to just keep going and accept that maybe or maybe not an answer or understanding will appear. 
In time, some problems can be solved or understood. On the other hand, some problems will never be solved and you need to learn to live with this uncertainty and ambiguity of not knowing. Unfortunately, this is not easy to do, but begins with clear and positive thinking (3-1 rule of positivity) not with doubts, fears and negative thoughts. It is your irrational demand for answers and certainty in dealing with life’s problems and ambiguities that generate irrational thoughts, fretting behavior and other unhealthy symptoms such as nervousness, losing control, anxiety and feeling sick.

As you practice these new mental sets,  it helps to remind yourself of the countless problems and worries that have come and gone in your life. How many problems have you solved? One thousand? Ten thousand? or Hundred thousand? Many times you have faced problems and figured-out, how to survive these difficulties  by re-framing, re-strategizing, or over just letting time take its course. Right? Trust yourself and be more gentle and self compassionate because life difficulties eventually become part of your biography and you move on. Remember you have more fuel in the tank than you think you do.

Importance of Empathy on Employee Engagement and Satisfaction

Empathy is a building block of one’s interpersonal connections.—for people to cultivate empathy skills, it helps if they can stop and take the time to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. It is also a key ingredient of successful relationships because it helps us understand the needs, priorities and desires of others. Here are some of the ways that interpersonal communication research has testified to the far-reaching importance of empathy. 

  • Empathy is good for bonding and team development: Managers who demonstrate empathy have employees who report greater job satisfaction and engagement 
  • Tied closely to empathy is the concept worker engagement and positive work climate this  recent trend towards positive psychology, where the concern is positive aspects of employees’ behavior. According to Maslach and Leiter (1997), when there is a person and positive job match, employees experience engagement with their work, characterized by high energy, involvement, and positive efficacy. As per Schaufeli et al. (2002), employee engagement is a positive, work-related state of mind characterized by vigor, dedication and absorption. In this regard, attention is paid to human strengths, optimal functioning, and positive experiences at work (Seligmen and Csikszentmihalyi, 2000; Schaufeli and Bakker, 2004) not on negative feedback or focus on weaknesses. While, disengaged employees display incomplete role performances and task  behaviors become effortless, automatic or robotic (Hochschild, 1983). According to the author, disengagement may be result of employees who lack positive social interaction and support, who experience little autonomy in work roles, or who feel their work and contribution is unimportant to others.  

So the question is -How often do you stop to listen to and engage your fellow workers? Or Do you focus on the task and getting the job done? 

Want to improve social-emotion connections cultivate empathy in your relationships.

1 Model empathy. Show people what mens to appreciate them. Observe and show interest in the lives of others. Listen to other people’s experience and opinions. Talk about your experiences practicing empathy, and about the times you forgot to act with empathy.

2. Start with safety and security. Fear and self-centeredness interferes with the development of empathy. Learn to stop and demonstrate consideration and toward others.

3. Practice self-regulation skills. Self-regulation skills are the foundation for empathy. By learning to calm yourself, regulate emotions, delay gratification, persevere, and stay focused on the right things, fellow workers and family members develop the skills which allow them to look beyond themselves.

4. Notice other people’s feelings without judgment or put downs. Talk about these feelings and assure the other person they are okay to share and have these inner experiences. Learn to use words that focus on the so-called “soft things” in life and avoid only the “hard stuff” like project schedules, profit, or task activities.

5. Follow the Golden Rule of relationships and empathy  “ Treat others in the same way that they themselves would like to be treated because relationships matter. Relations emphasizing empathy are built on focused attention, active listening and demonstrated caring and trust. For example, most of us would like to be listened to and understood by others.

Fundamental Tool for Self-Coaching –“Pinch-Crunch Model” for Managing Expectations and Conflict

Pinch Model: Mapping the Problem of Aligning Expectations and Assumptions

Research fact–Planned Renegotiation and the Pinch Model developed by John J. Sherwood and John C. Glidewell (1973, 1975)  is based on the premise that relationships in a social system—a pair, a group, an organization, or a community—seldom proceed smoothly or as planned or expected. The model describes how social systems are established, become stabilized and aligned so that work can get done and how change can enter the system. When these expectations are disrupted it is called a “pinch” and if not resolved to the satisfaction of both parties can lead to uncomfortable and unproductive relationships and even interpersonal “crunches”, like termination of the relationship.

Pinch and Crunch Model Steps:

1. Stability and Productivity: This is the period where things are going as we and ours expected they would. This situation is often seen as a period of personal productivity and alignment.

2. Pinch: A pinch is something that is done or not done, that violates one of our expectations/assumptions. Pinches are private. We feel them though the one who caused the pinch may not be aware that we are disappointed or have been offended.

3. Broken promises at the heart of “Disruption of Expectations”By not acting, we may come to doubt our initial judgment of a situation. We are not sure if we can trust our operating expectations and assumptions because we have been disappointed already. Tension and stress builds as our situation becomes increasingly unpredictable.

4. CrunchA crunch is open conflict. Both parties are now aware that there is a problem. However, if I have been suffering silently, my crunch may be my partner’s pinch.

Crunch Management Options

Silent Ending: This is where one party terminates the relationship after the fight without any further communication. They just cut you loose and never want to talk or see you again. They abandon or shun you…

Re-Commitment: This is where we smooth things over and play nice (kiss and make-up) with each other, with the hope that the relationship will return quickly to stability and productivity. The pinch, however, remains private and unresolved. It is bound to re-appear under stress or difficult times.

Lower Expectations: By lowering our expectations and just “putting in time,” people hope to reduce the number of pinches and crunches that they are experiencing with each other. Eventually, this can lead to apathy, cynicism and superficial interactions.

Re-Negotiation: By engaging in a difficult, honest conversation after a crunch, information can be gathered, expectations and assumptions clarified and parties can either renew their commitment to their relationship or agree to disagree and explore the final option of a planned and/or agreed upon ending/transition to the relationship.

Common Ways of Dealing with Pinches

1) Let it Go

There is a Congo proverb that says, “It is best to let an offense repeat itself three times. The first may be an accident, the second a mistake. Only the third is likely to be intentional.” Many of us are living examples of this proverb, especially with the small ‘pinches’ we experience in our lives.

2) Complain to someone else

Once the ‘pinch’ has been repeated (or is really significant the first time), we often look for someone with whom we can share our experience. Our motivation for doing this is often positive. We want to release our frustration to someone else, or we are unsure if we have a legitimate reason for being frustrated. The problem is that our search for clarity often stops here and inevitably the behaviour repeats itself. This is a very common strategy in Canadian workplaces.

3) ‘Pinch’ back

After our frustration has reached a certain level and the ‘pinch’ is being remembered days later, our behaviour often changes toward that person. We begin to be hesitant or more aggressive in their company. We are on the lookout for the behaviour to repeat itself. Our initial responses are often very subtle and are not always obvious even to ourselves. We may respond to the other person’s email in a less timely way or delay in responding to work that affects them. We may become quieter in the other person’s company, withholding some of our ideas. We may become defensive in their presence as we look to protect ourselves. Not only the person who is the catalyst, but all others in the room, can invariably feel this defensive energy. In fact, it will likely become a ‘pinch’ for others.

4) Hold on to it

Often we hold on to our hurt, nursing it, reliving our ‘pinches’ in our mind, with our friends, during the day and in our thoughts at night. This thinking often results in feelings of victimization and growing resentment. Medical research says that living with these feelings will increase our stress levels and make us more vulnerable to disease.

5) ‘Crunch’ back

When we have suffered long enough, many of us will say or do something out of character. We will snap back. This is what we call open conflict; everyone who hears the exchange would believe that there is a fight.

6) Talk about it. Constructive dialogue to discuss and seek understanding about missed expectations.

A ‘pinch’ is an opportunity to have an ‘expectation conversation.’ to resolve differences and gain understanding so that the relationship can move forward in a healthy and constructive way. Unfortunately this is done far too seldom.

*Adapted and re-visioned from http://korcos.wikispaces.com/file/view/Pinch+Crunch.pdf