Leadership Training

Ever Wish You Could Change Someone’s Values?

Date: August 26th, 2015

Blog posted by:  Michelle Adams

Raise your hand if you have you ever found yourself in a discussion with a co-worker, friend, family member over an issue that you both feel strongly about and you’re clashing over it big time. Okay. That’s a lot of hands. When values come into play, things get heated and fast. First let’s make sure we’re all on the same page when it comes to what a value is. From the Oxford Dictionary: “values [plural] beliefs about what is right and wrong and what is important in life”. Got it. Okay, so here are some ways to help you navigate through values collisions with another person, so you can continue the relationship and hopefully, even make it stronger.

Company Statement, Values

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Do People Know the Real You?

Date: August 18th, 2015

Blog posted by:  Michelle Adams (from the L.E.T. Refresher Workshop workbook)

In our leadership training program (and in all the Gordon Model programs), self-disclosing messages are referred to as I-Messages. An l-Message is a communication about the self — the “I”. A bit about the history of I-Messages first:

The Confrontive I-Message (not discussed in this specific Blog) was created by Dr. Thomas Gordon and incorporated into his P.E.T. program in 1962. The additional types of I-Messages below were created by Gordon Training International’s President, Linda Adams.

Okay, back to the topic at hand!

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

Declarative I-Messages Are the Basic Form of Self-Disclosure

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Warning: Communication Roadblocks Can Be Hazardous to Your Relationships

Date: August 10th, 2015

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

Ah yes, those pesky roadblocks! Perhaps you’ve heard of them, perhaps you’ve used them or they’ve been used on you. Well, let me tell ya, they don’t work. Period. Let’s show them first before we get into that.

There are 12 of them. Here they are, with examples:

1. Ordering, Directing, Commanding
• You must do this.
• You cannot do this.
• I expect you to do this.
• Stop it.
• Go apologize to her.

2. Warning, Admonishing, Threatening
• You had better do this, or else . . .
• If you don’t do this, then . . .
• You better not try that.
• I warn you, if you do that . . .

3. Moralizing, Preaching, Imploring
• You should do this.
• You ought to try it.
• It is your responsibility to do this.
• It is your duty to do this.
• I wish you would do this.
• I urge you to do this.

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Silence is Not Always Golden

Date: August 5th, 2015

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

(This Blog is a continuation from the one posted on July 27th.)

We can never be absolutely certain we have completely or accurately understood another person, so it is essential to test the accuracy of our listening and minimize the misunderstanding and distortion that occur in most interpersonal communication. Door Openers, Passive Listening, and Acknowledgment Responses show only the listener’s intent to understand; Active Listening gives proof that the listener has indeed understood. This proof is what makes the sender keep talking and go deeper into the problem.

gears thinking leadership skills conflictActive Listening (originally named Reflective Listening by it’s creator, Dr. Carl Rogers) is certainly not complex. Listeners need only restate, in their own language, their impression of the expression of the sender. It’s a check: is my impression acceptable to the sender? Still, learning to do Active Listening well is a rather difficult task requiring a lot of practice over a period of time. Experience from training many thousands of leaders in the Leader Effectiveness Training (L.E.T.) course confirms that with practice most trainees can acquire a reasonable level of competence in several weeks.

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Communication Tips for Helping Others

Date: July 27th, 2015

Blog posted by:  Michelle Adams (from the L.E.T. book)

Door Openers

After a person sends a brief opening feeling messages such as:

• “If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.”
• “How do you expect me to do my job without adequate information?”
• “I cannot stand the way Valerie acts in our meetings!”
• “I feel like quitting sometimes.”

…which clues the listener to the possible existence of a problem, the “helpee” usually will not move into the -problem-¬solving process unless the listener sends an invitation—opens the door for the helpee:

• “Would you like to talk about it?”
• “Can I be of any help with this problem?”
• “I’d be interested to hear how you feel.”
• “Would it help to talk about it?”
• “Sometimes it helps to get it off your chest.”
• “I’d sure like to help if I can.”
• “Tell me about it.”
• “I’ve got the time if you have. Want to talk?”

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How to Have a Collaborative Team

Date: July 20th, 2015

The success of a management team will depend greatly on the leader’s skills in (1) fostering open and honest communication within the team, (2) resolving conflicts so nobody loses (the “No-Lose Method”), (3) conducting efficient and productive ­decision-­making meetings, (4) being an effective “task specialist” as well as a “human relations specialist,” and (5) being a strong and effective advocate for his group members in the team that operates one level above the one in which the leader is a group member.

we together team teamwork leadership skills

Most important for team building and effective team functioning is the leaders’ success in reducing any status barriers between themselves and their group members. No other concept is more important than this. It is at the very core of my definition of leadership effectiveness. I’ll say it in the briefest way: effective leaders must behave in such a way that they come to be perceived almost as another group member; at the same time they must help all group members feel as free as the leader to make contributions and perform needed functions in the group.

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Are You a Helicopter Leader?

Date: July 13th, 2015

Blog posted by:  Michelle Adams (from the L.E.T. book)

On becoming the leader of a group, few people seem able to resist the temptation to grab the reins, make a flying start, and plunge into the task of trying to solve all the problems alone. Understandably, the initial concern of most new leaders is to justify, as quickly as possible, their selection to those who appointed them. They want to look good, and the sooner the better. After all, what is a leader for if not to step right in and “take charge”? In the military the expression is “take command.”

helicopter leader leadership training micromanage micromanaging

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Congratulations! You’re a Leader…NOW what?

Date: July 8th, 2015

Blog post by:  Michelle Adams (from L.E.T. textbook)

Frank Long was elected president of his service club. At about the same time, Stacy Lathrop was appointed supervisor of all the tellers at her bank. Elizabeth Hall finally achieved her lifelong ambition of becoming ­vice-­president in charge of sales in her company. After six years as a ­first-­line supervisor in a manufacturing company, Bill Morrison was moved up to plant manager.

Louise Lindley, by a large margin, was voted student body president at a midwestern college. Their friends congratulated them and told them how much they deserved the new position. One phoned her husband and excitedly announced the good news. Another took his family out for dinner to celebrate. All felt proud of what they had achieved. Secretly, they all felt they had “arrived,” “made it up the ladder,” “got to the top.”

youre a leader now what leadership training people skills

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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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