If there is one life-skill people and leaders need right now it is learning how to have compassionate conversations.
The average human being and professional dislikes conflict. Mainly, this is because people find it much easier (at least in the short term) to avoid confrontation even when they know it’s inevitable.
Let’s say someone musters up the strength and courage to confront another person. How they go about it usually sets them up for a volatile interaction, which only escalates the conflict. If there is one thing I think kids growing up in the education system should learn more, it’s healthy conflict resolution. Unfortunately, it’s just not taught enough. This puts people, including leaders, in a trial and error learning process. Thus most people engage with conflict in 1 of 3 ways: passive aggression, anger, or suppression.
When we react in any of these 3 ways, it’s an outside in approach. We’re attempting to change our team member to meet our needs instead of changing ourselves to meet their needs.
Thankfully, there is a better way!
We must work through our insecurities from the inside out. To do this, I have interviewed the best of the best to help us through.
Kimberly Loh is a conflict resolution and negotiation specialist, leadership coach, and co-author of the book Compassionate Conversations: How to Speak and Listen from the Heart. Her book is viewed as the definitive guide to learning effective strategies for engaging in open and honest conversations about divisive issues. Previously, she worked in peacebuilding and mediation research for the United Nations, as well as writing and advocacy for international NGOs and academic institutions. A lawyer by profession, she is an expert in international arbitration and litigation. Her work today centers on serving conscious leaders to up-level their human relationships and harness the true power of their teams.
During out 30-minute conversation, I ask Kim the following questions:
- How did your diverse family background shape you?
- How did your parents divorce help you better understand conflict?
- Why is it important to begin and end challenging conversations with a common bond?
- Why is it important to offer praise in the midst of a tension-filled conversation?
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