Misunderstanding: All the right words…in the wrong order?

Misunderstanding causes confusion, chaos and conflict. It reminds me of that wonderful quote from Morecambe and Wise He played all the right notes, just not necessarily in the right order. No matter how carefully we choose our words and how intently we listen, miscommunication still happens. There are a couple of reasons for this. Understanding…

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Conversations not Confrontations

Conversations not confrontations

I designed the Conversations not Confrontations course  in response to a request from an organisation after a successful mediation. The employees involved found the way the organisation had managed their differences before actually exacerbated the issues. They asked me to tell management that the “conversations not confrontations” approach of mediation was much better. I talked…

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Consider Mediation before Grievance/Disciplinary

Why should charities or other caring organisations consider conflict first aid or mediation before grievance or disciplinary procedures? A grievance procedure may actually intensify conflict and divisions, especially if it is lengthy, complex or inconclusive. Disciplinary procedures create defensiveness, and even end up in the party starting a grievance procedure. In small organisations, it is…

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My Apology Is Not Accepted: Now what?

How do I feel when my apology isn’t accepted? Years ago, in a conversation with a good friend, I inadvertently said something that obviously upset them and the conversation ended abruptly. Mystified, I phoned back on several occasions and started to apologise, however, it was obvious that talking on the phone wasn’t an option. Upset,…

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Justice and Judgement

judging and influencing

Do we want justice or judgement? Most people want justice–at least for themselves. Human beings are continually judging situations, themselves and others. Often we confuse the two. Children have a strong sense of justice. When someone does something wrong, they insist on punishment or recompense. Deep inside, we all tend to agree, even if we…

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Avoiding Difficult Conversations is Unkind

we can say what we need to say when we speak our truths

Avoiding difficult conversations is unkind??? For many people talking about sensitive or negative matters seems mean and unkind. Avoiding mentioning it seems kinder. Nice people frequently tend to avoid conflict, by ignoring difficult issues. Caring professions, charities and companies with a “nice” image  procrastinate when addressing unwanted behaviour. They make allowances, drop hints and make…

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Difficult Conversations: Wills, Death and Powers of Attorney

difficult conversations death

Topics that rank high as difficult conversations: Wills, Death and Powers of Attorney. We feel uncomfortable thinking about our own deaths or those close to us dying. We know it’s important–but now isn’t a good time. The longer you wait, the harder and more urgent these decisions are. Are you playing peekaboo and hiding from…

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How To Reduce Misunderstanding

Reduce misunderstanding–is that possible? Most of the conflicts I deal with as a mediator start with a misunderstanding. Even small misunderstandings potentially lead to damaged relationships or breakdowns of communication. Why do misunderstandings occur Our brains are continually trying to find patterns in the world and other people. If we spot a pattern, it makes…

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Making Myself Redundant

making myself redundant

As a parent, manager and mediator, my mission has always been making myself redundant. Seem strange? Especially as I am someone that needs to be needed and as a self-employed person only earn money when people to use my services. So why do I have this seemingly self-destructive tendency? It’s a choice between leaving a…

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Pebbles and difficult decisions

difficult decisions

One of the difficult decisions we face every weekend is where to go! Durham is within easy reach of cities, mountains, woods, moors and the seaside. As well as gorgeous sandy beaches (not many blackened by coal now), the North East of England coast has ones lots of interesting rocks and pebbles. So after some…

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