I talk a lot about conflict resilience

Uncategorized Aug 27, 2018

What is conflict resilience?

Conflict resilience is not the absence of conflict but the ability to manage it.

We will all be engaged in conflict throughout our lifetimes, some of us daily; some of us not so frequently but we cannot live our lives and be completely free of conflict because we are human.

We all have different values, needs and beliefs. There are not two people in the world who have the same thought at exactly the same time about the same things.

We are not robots. We will not always agree. That in itself is not a problem because important growth and development comes from discovering what you stand for and disagreeing with another person.

We have had great technological and scientific developments as a result of conflict because when we passionately hold a position we learn what stand for. We often learn a lot about the subject matter we are passionately arguing about. We become experts and our opinions matter. However these arguments are often respectful. Where all...

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Why we always stop at the Giant Koala

Uncategorized Aug 27, 2018

There is nothing like a road trip. We drive to Melbourne to visit family at least once a year. I really enjoy the drive. I find the drive to be incredibly cathartic. The stress just drops away the further we drive.

My husband and I pretty much always stop at the Giant Koala.  We have seen it in its good years and seen it in its pretty run down sad years.

It is part of the journey. It’s also one of our stranger rituals.

We often go and explore landmarks. We go off the beaten track to see what the fuss is about. It takes a bit more time but for us it’s not just about the destination; it’s about the journey.

There was no way, when I was a kid, that my parents would have checked out any landmarks. The fact that we were going on a holiday was enough excitement for them.  We got to our destination as quickly as possible. Holidays were stressful for us as a family; best to get them over and done with.

But Graham and I like to do things differently. We love to...

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Feeling uncomfortable

Uncategorized Aug 27, 2018

A while back I watched the latest royal wedding. I thought Meghan’s dress was stunning. I thought the music and gospel choir and Meghan walking up the aisle by herself most of the way was awesome.

But I have to admit that I felt very uncomfortable when Rev Curry spoke.

Not because of what he said. But because of how he said it.

I could see that the Queen and some members of the Royal family were uncomfortable and I felt uncomfortable for them.

I grew up in the Anglican Church. My dad was a priest. I know the service backwards.

My dad was not a traditionalist by any sense of the word but he couldn’t stomach Evangelical preachers and the excited ways they spoke about the “faith”.

So as soon as I heard Rev Curry’s excited and exuberant speech on love and then on fire, I felt stressed. My dad’s voice in my head kicked in. It was matched by the discomfort of the Queen and I just wanted him to stop. I wasn’t listening to his words. I was listening...

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When will we learn?

Uncategorized Aug 27, 2018

Poor Doug had to be groomed the other day. Doug is one of my dogs. He’s a Maltese Shitzu and his “sister from another mister” is Margaret, she’s a Maltese Shitzu x Poodle.

They both have to be groomed on a regular basis.

They hate it.

Doug in particular has a little breakdown every time he has to be groomed.  Neil, who comes to our house to commit this atrocity on the dogs, is used to Doug having to empty his bowels on the bench before the procedure begins.

After this traumatic procedure, Doug then comes inside and shows me how clever he is that he survived once again and then he proceeds to run around the house like a mad thing,

It takes Doug at least a couple of days to recover from being groomed. He will sit on his bed for hours. He won’t eat or if he does he runs over to his bowl, grabs some food and then takes it back to his bed. He is agitated and neurotic for a few days and then suddenly he forgets all about the traumatic experience and goes...

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The threat of violence

Uncategorized Aug 27, 2018

My dad said once, “The threat of violence is usually worse than actual violence”.

Living in fear that there might be violence is terrifying, even if there is no personal violence towards you.

My dad told me this as he apologised for all the threats of violence we had experienced throughout our childhood. My dad never hit me, my siblings or my mother but there were many threats of violence.  Dad could blow up very quickly and we would all hide in our rooms. We all believed that being hit was a possibility.

Dad was a three career type of guy.  He was a cattle farmer who had an epiphany and became an Anglican priest, who had an epiphany and became a psychotherapist.

It was in this final iteration that he realised the pain and distress he had accidentally caused us throughout our childhood. He was deeply and genuinely sorry and we were grateful that he recognised how hard it had been. His apology was part of the healing process.

In response to the threats of...

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Prevention is better than cure

Uncategorized Jul 30, 2018

I was speaking to a new client the other day. I am going to do some work their team who have been through a lot of change in the last twelve months.  

My client asked, "how can I promote your business to my team? You have 'conflict' in your title. They’ll think we have a problem."

I said, "you work in an area where there is lots of conflict. Good healthy conflict. It’s important that your staff disagree and debate and care deeply about the best way forward to deal with the issue at hand."

Conflict is normal, inevitable and an important part of a healthy relationship. We are not robots.

Conflict ensures that we, as a society, are creative and innovative. Conflict occurs when we need to challenge behaviour that needs to be challenged.

I told my client that learning how to manage conflict does not mean you have a problem with conflict; it means that you respect how important conflict is to your organisation. That you understand and respect that in order to get the most...

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Public shaming is so shameful

Uncategorized Jul 30, 2018

The other day I was having a meeting in a cafe that was situated in a busy and dynamic office building just off Flinders Street, in Melbourne.

Out of the corner of my eye I could see this woman talking down to a man about something that had happened in that building.  The woman was trying to speak quietly but she was clearly angry and not accepting the responses she was receiving and her voice got louder and louder.

My meeting ended and I had to wait a while for the rain to pass and I watched as this woman continued to raise and deal with a performance issue in public.  She kept responding to almost everything the said with “no, that is not acceptable” or “we have discussed this before” and it seemed that nothing he said was going to satisfy her. He was wrong and she was right and it was all so very public.

I cringed.

I cringed not only because public shaming is not ok; but because it was clear that she wasn’t listening to him. She had a fixed...

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Do what I say, not as I do

Uncategorized Jul 30, 2018

I regularly promote self care as a way of looking after your mental health. I encourage the people I work with to put the tools down, to sing their favourite song loudly, walk around the block or to go on a holiday.

I know that by taking time out we are much better able to manage the stresses of life.

I tell the story of how I ended up in hospital with morbidly high blood pressure and how I now have non-negotiables in my life, like getting up really early and going for a run every day

And then all of a sudden my life got ridiculously busy and I started fitting in work instead of going for a run. There weren’t enough hours in a the day and all of a sudden my non-negotiables became negotiable again.

Then something happened that made me stop and reassess my life - once again.

The fly on my favourite pair of jeans broke.

I hadn’t put on much weight (about 4 kg) but I wasn’t as fit as I was a year ago and suddenly all my muscle turned to jelly and BANG! Jeans...

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Uncategorized Jul 30, 2018

Hand up if you’re a parent or know a parent.

Hand up if you have ever witnessed a three year old have a tantrum in a shopping centre when you said no. When you set a boundary. When they couldn’t have what they wanted there and then.

Hand up if you’ve witnessed an adult have a tantrum when we have said no, when we have set a boundary and followed up on it.

Adult tantrums tend to be less violent. Less thrashing around on the floor; less full on weeping.

Adult tantrums might look like sulking and silent treatment or alternatively they might look like yelling and telling you that you’re an idiot, that you don’t get it.  Often there are lots of words, emails and phone calls to help you understand how unreasonable you are being. There’s lots of drama.

Either way this full on behaviour will be an attempt to manipulate you to let them have what they want.  They don’t want you to hold your ground. They want you to cave - big time.

So there...

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The Sweet Taste of Revenge

Uncategorized Jul 30, 2018

There is a terrific game that most of us play that is based on revenge.

One person does us wrong by accidentally setting us up, or showing up our failings in front of our peers or blaming us for them feeling bad. And then we get them back with similar or worse behaviour.

Someone told me about an office they worked in where the staff found the management to be particularly disinterested and unsupportive; so when the photocopier ran out of paper every day by mid afternoon, no-one was prepared to refill it and they would all sit at their desks doing nothing until the end of the day because they couldn’t print off their work schedules etc.

They say revenge is sweet; but it is also really expensive.

Think of the cost to a company whose staff deliberately go slow or work to rule just to get back someone in middle management. What opportunities do companies miss out on when staff won’t tell anyone their great ideas because they don’t feel valued?

How much does it cost in...

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