Leadership Training

Bulldog Leadership: A Warrior’s Way

Date: June 23rd, 2015

Blog Post by: Sheryl Wilde

“Warriors are not what you think of as warriors. The warrior, for us, is the one who sacrifices himself for the good of others. His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who cannot provide for themselves, and above all, the children, the future of humanity.”
~ Chief Sitting Bull

ChiefSittingBull-for 22 June Sheryl article

It wasn’t a death fitting of a warrior. I think she would have preferred to die in a blaze of glory on a battlefield defending those she loved. Not quiet and helpless, lying on a cold, hard table in a place she’d never been before.

I guess most of us don’t get to choose how we die.

But, Miko, my Warrior Princess, led the way into death as she had lived her life – with courage. And, perhaps, in a way both bold and beautiful, she did choose how she died – and I think she may have done it to save me.

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How to Handle Complaints From Lower Levels

Date: June 16th, 2015

Blog post by: Michelle Adams

A common problem for all leaders is what to do when a member of one of your team’s group comes to you with a complaint arising from some unmet need. Typically, when a person makes such an appeal to her boss’s boss, it is called “going over your boss’s head.” This is almost universally condemned as reprehensible. Discussions about this problem in our leadership training workshops always produce the strongest of feelings from participants:

“That’s insubordination!”

“It should be strongly discouraged.”

“Going over your boss’s head is asking for serious trouble.”

“I’d fire anyone who went over my head.”

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What to Do When There Are Conflicts Between Leaders and All Group Members

Date: June 8th, 2015

Blog post by:  Michelle Adams, excerpted from the L.E.T. book by Dr. Thomas Gordon

As would be expected, at some time leaders will come into conflict with all of their people. It may not happen often, but it does happen, particularly when all group members somehow fall into a pattern of doing something in concert that the leader finds unacceptable, as in the following situation described by a leadership training [L.E.T.] graduate of a large French computer company:

Each week, Michele, the project team coordinator, organizes a meeting on project follow-up that brings together the 15–18 project coordinators. The objective of these meetings is for the project coordinators to keep each other informed on the status of their projects so that their interface is optimum and so they avoid duplication of effort.

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At last-A Great Alternative to Performance Reviews!

Date: June 2nd, 2015

Blog post by: Michelle Adams (excerpted from the L.E.T. book, by Dr. Thomas Gordon)

But first, what’s so wrong with them anyway?

In over 25 years of consulting with many kinds of organizations, I never saw a performance evaluation system that people liked—either leaders who administered it or group members on whom it was used. Typically, performance evaluation causes problems and headaches for both the evaluator and the person evaluated. Being evaluated by another is so often threatening. People dread being told they haven’t done a good job or their work is not satisfactory or they’re only 4 on a scale of 7. Managers, too, dislike sending such messages—they know how they hurt, how they lower a person’s self-esteem, how they provoke arguments.

cloud of emotions dark sad negative anxiety advice

Here are some other serious deficiencies in performance evaluations:

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Do You Have a Problem with Someone’s Behavior? Here’s Where to Begin (and Where Not To)

Date: May 19th, 2015

Blog post by: Linda Adams

Before you decide to confront someone about their unacceptable behavior, there are three things to consider first:

Changing Yourself.

1. First, see if you can honestly change yourself from being unaccepting to accepting of the other’s behavior. Try to lighten up. 2. Ask yourself: “Am I just uptight and grouchy today? or is this behavior really unacceptable?”
3. If it works, there’s no need for a potentially difficult confrontation of the other.

But beware of false acceptance — pretending that their behavior is OK with you when it really isn’t — it may be easy now, but you might feel resentful later.change leadership skills how to advice problems

Changing the Environment.

Sometimes by changing the setting or changing something within it, the other person’s behavior is no longer unacceptable. For example, you wear earphones when you are working on projects to block your co-worker’s music.

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You Know What They Say: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Date: May 12th, 2015

Blog post by: Linda Adams

Raise your hand if you would love to prevent conflicts! Okay, that’s a lot of hands. Here’s a tool to help you do just that! In our workshops, we teach when and how to send I-Messages—the concept of the Confrontive I-Message was created by Dr. Thomas Gordon.) Linda Adams added a few more and they are mighty helpful. Read on!

communicate leadership effectiveness trainingThe Preventive I-Message is a way of preventing problems and conflicts in a relationship.

The Preventive I-Message lets others know what you need and want.

The theory behind the Preventive I-Message is that other people are better able to help you meet your needs if they have a clear picture of what you want.

A Preventive I-Message, like all I-Messages, is direct, clear and congruent.


There are three major steps in sending a preventive assertion:

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Collaboration, Empathy and Employee Engagement—yeah, we got that

Date: May 4th, 2015

Blog Posted by: Michelle Adams

Way back in 1955 Dr. Thomas Gordon wrote a book called Group Centered Leadership that contained many of the ideas and skills in the present day L.E.T. book. It didn’t sell very well because it wasn’t a particularly easy read but mostly because the ideas presented were years ahead of the readiness of business leaders to share decision making, which is one of the things the GCL book advised them to do.
However, the Japanese were ready. With their industries in ruins at the end of World War II they had no choice but to start over. So they imported the ideas of W. Edwards Deming, Douglas McGregor, Frederick Herzberg and others to help them structure a new industrial empire that, within a few years was closing in on the productivity output of the United States and every other industrial nation in the West.

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What If I Need to Send an E “I-Message”?

Date: April 27th, 2015

Blog Post By: Michelle Adams 

You might be sitting there, scratching your head thinking, “Hey, I don’t remember that type of I-Message from the workshop I took from Gordon Training….”

Confrontation over email leadership communication trainingWell, I just made it up. I wanted to address the very common issue of when you need to confront another person, but you might be in Virginia and they might be in Dubai and you can’t skype or talk on the phone due to time and schedule issues…so now what?

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How to Handle Values Collisions

Date: April 20th, 2015

Blog Post by: Michelle Adams (from the writings of Dr. Thomas Gordon and Noel Burch)

A handful of men meeting in Philadelphia through the long, hot summer of 1787 argued, debated, compromised and eventually produced one of the world’s most remarkable documents, the Constitution of the United States of America.

The writers knew it had some flaws but, flawed or not, they submitted the results of their efforts to the thirteen state governments for ratification and went home to attend other matters. They didn’t dream that the tediously crafted document they had written would create such a furor. But it certainly did, one that lasted four years. The reason: there were no guarantees in the body of the proposed Constitution to protect people from certain governmental excesses with which they were all too familiar. For a while it looked as if the proposed Constitution would fail to be ratified but fortunately its framers had foreseen a need for flexibility and had included processes for amending the document. They just hadn’t thought it would be so soon.

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Diving Into Conflict Resolution: How To Do It Well

Date: April 14th, 2015

Blog Post by: Michelle Adams

If I am in a conflict and introducing this method to people unfamiliar with it an explanation is needed, a kind of sales pitch that could go like this: “There are three ways we could solve the problem we are having with each other.

One way is for me to come up with a solution and then try to impose it on you whether you like it or not. A second way would be for you to try to impose a solution on me. Either way, someone gets imposed upon. Or, a third way might be that I could say ‘well, I don’t want to make a big deal out of this’ and hope the problem would just go away.’

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What Power Does to Relationships

Date: April 7th, 2015

Blog Posted by: Michelle Adams (from the writings of Dr. Thomas Gordon)

An impediment to satisfying, functional relationships is an organizational form so prevalent that without thought it has been accepted, adopted, implemented and defended even though other organizational structures might be far superior.

Where did it come from? Well, more than two millennia ago, Romans devised an organizational system based on a command and control hierarchy that nowadays we call the Pyramid. As Rome grew from a city-state to a far-flung empire it became increasingly unmanageable for the simple reason that it took days then weeks or months for messages to reach the outer territories and a similar time to return. The hierarchy also structured the government, including some people and excluding others, groups who changed from time to time as Caesars and other powerful rulers came and went.

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Hey Are You Really Listening or Just Hearing?

Date: March 30th, 2015

Blog Posted by:  Michelle Adams

We all need people who will listen, who will give us what Dr. Carl Rogers referred to as minimal evaluative feedback (or Reflective Listening) and what was later named as Active Listening by Dr. Richard Farson. I doubt there is anything one can do that will build high quality relationships more rapidly or maintain them as solidly.

The big problem is that experiences, feelings, even thoughts cannot be communicated directly. I might, for instance, be sad but I can’t transmit my experience of sadness to you no matter how desperately I want to. My experiences stay inside and so do yours and everyone else’s. Let’s let the circle below represent a person in an emotional state of equilibrium. In other words, this person is experiencing no strong feelings.

Good Relationships Book graphics 1

However, if the person is frightened the illustration would look like this:

Good Relationships Book graphics 2

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How to Win the Battle of Conflicts

Date: March 23rd, 2015

Blog Posted by:  Michelle Adams

One of the outcomes of good communication is the discovery that no matter how open and honest your relationship is, there are still conflicts. We tell people “Look, no matter what you do, how loving you are, how caring, how supportive, how absolutely wonderful your relationship, you’ll have conflicts.” To many people this is terrible news, and why not, given the long, bloody and inglorious history of conflict. The dictionary says conflict means fight; battle contend; to be antagonistic; incompatible, or contradictory; be in opposition; clash. There’s more and it’s equally depressing.

Rams Battle of Conflict at Work Relationships

All anyone has to do is watch the evening news to see the dictionary definitions of conflict in action. There is no shortage of antagonism and fighting. In Africa, in the Middle East, in the House of Representatives, on the soaps.

On the SOAPS?

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Four Helpful Tips for Becoming a Better Consultant

Date: March 16th, 2015

Blog Posted by:  Michelle Adams

There are some other things I can do that may increase my influence as consultant* (whether I am in a formal or informal consulting role). For example: there are thousands and thousands of people making a living, some quite a handsome living, by sharing expertise and knowledge with those who need it. They are called consultants and I sometimes do what they do with my client base: my spouse, friends, family, co-workers, etc. However, there are some rules of the consulting game that I must follow because if they are not followed, any influence I might have had can be lost.

How to Be a Better Consultant Leadership Leader Effectiveness Training

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Are You A Good Model?

Date: March 10th, 2015

Blog Posted by:  Michelle Adams

One of the most powerful teaching tools is modeling. One of the least effective is lecturing. If I really want to influence another’s values I can’t lecture, I have to live them. If I value promptness, then I must be on time. If I value hard work, I must work hard. If I value democracy, I must be democratic. Espousing a value and not practicing it is easily seen for the sham it is.

People tend to adopt the behaviors of those they admire and respect, not those who say do as I say, not as I do. Kids watch their parents, workers watch their bosses, friends copy each other’s positive acts, and through the years spousal values tend to become more and more alike.

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Do You Think Praising Is a Good Thing?

Date: March 4th, 2015

Blog posted by:  Michelle Adams

Praise is so ingrained in us, so much a part of social fabric that we seldom, if ever consider its risks. But it does have risks, as all Roadblocks do. People erroneously assume that everyone likes to be praised. Not so. People often feel uncomfortable or embarrassed by praise. Have you ever noticed the body language of people being praised? They may blush, hang their heads, scrape their feet, or squirm. Then they may deny or discount it. Sometimes people become suspicious of the person doing the praising, questioning his or her motives. “What does she want? What is he getting at? What kind of pitch is this?”

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This Ain’t McTraining—It’s Gonna Take Some Practice—But It’s Worth It

Date: February 24th, 2015

Blog posted by: Michelle Adams

Question:  How long does it take for people to learn and use the skills of listening and I-language? Are there any shortcuts?

Answer: We’ll use the famous non-answer answer:  it depends. It’s a matter of breaking habits, biting one’s tongue, stopping and starting over when you catch yourself repeating old patterns. I don’t know any shortcuts unless it would be checking your Leadership training learning stages skillsintentions as you go about your life. Knowing what you intend, it seems to me, pushes you in that direction. If you intend to understand what people say you may be able to transcend technique.  If you intend to take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings you’ll express them in I-language (read “I-Messages”).

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Life Skills You Really Ought to Have at Work

Date: February 18th, 2015

Blog Posted by: Michelle Adams (excerpted from Be Your Best)

Effective self-disclosure involves knowing what you value, need and want, appropriately telling others about your thoughts and feelings, and initiating action to get your needs met. You act assertively by communicating and acting honestly and directly in a way that does not violate the rights of others or block them from meeting their needs.

Assertive messages are referred to (in Gordon Model land) as l-Messages*. An I-Message is a communication which describes you. It expresses your feelings and experience, not your judgment, evaluation or interpretation of others.

An I-Message is authentic, honest, and congruent. It reflects the actual strength of your thoughts and feelings. It is clear, understandable, and to the point, not masked in indirect or vague language.

What we teach in our workshops, will help you develop your skill in communicating four types of I-Messages — each appropriate for a different purpose and context. These self-disclosing messages are:

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The Revolution of Human Relationships at Work

Date: February 10th, 2015

Blog posted by:  Michelle Adams (excerpted from the L.E.T. book by Dr. Thomas Gordon)

No person who has kept abreast of what is happening in organizations and institutions in our society can escape the conclusion that a revolution has started—a human relations revolution of great significance. People want to be treated with respect and with dignity; people are demanding to have a strong voice in their own working lives; people are less willing to be coerced and exploited; people want the right to achieve ­self-­respect in their work and have work that is meaningful and rewarding; people are rebelling against inhuman working environments in very human ways—by ­job-­hopping, absenteeism, apathetic attitudes, antagonism, and malicious mischief.

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On Loons and Leadership

Date: February 3rd, 2015

Blog Post by: Sheryl Wilde

A soft, swirling mist lingered over the lake. A gentle breeze whispered, only to me, its secrets from ages past. Then, I heard it – echoing eerily through the pre-dawn stillness – the long, mournful wail of a Great Northern Loon. It was a sound felt as much as heard. A sound my soul has never forgotten.

As a child, I spent a lot of time by myself exploring the shores of Blue Waters Lake in Minnesota. It was a more innocent time then, a time when a young girl could venture off on her own without the fears of today.

I often walked the narrow, rock-strewn path down to the lake to watch the sunrise. I loved to sit on the beach in the early morning hours and just listen to the sound of the world before mankind made its imprint on the new day.

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