Leadership Training

This Article on Healthcare and Teams Could Save Your Life. Seriously.

Date: April 14th, 2014

Blog Post by William D. Stinnett, Ph.D.

iStock_000034959162SmallRemember when doctors made house calls? Probably not! Few of us are old enough to remember such a thing. Times have changed and so has the health care profession. There was a time when the doctor knew everything. In a sense, that was true. He or she did know almost everything there was to know about medicine and treating illnesses. No more! The medical field is so vast and complex that no one person can possibly know everything.

Everyone is a specialist. I’ll bet that your primary care physician is some sort of internist, an oncologist or a pediatrician (or a gerontologist). We know much, much more about how to treat diseases than ever before. In fact, there are very few conditions without some kind of accepted treatment, not to say that those treatments always work – there are still plenty of frontiers. More troubling, however, is that the correct treatment is often not prescribed or not administered properly. Why in the world would this be so? Certainly, there are deep, and worrisome political issues that interfere with good health care.

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Isn’t Method III the Same as Win-Win?

Date: April 8th, 2014

Posted by: Michelle Adams

Method III (the name of the problem solving concept in the Gordon Model) is based on a very different set of assumptions than the power-based methods:

• The needs of each party are considered to be of equal importance.

• The problem is approached from a needs standpoint, not a solution standpoint.

• Power is never used except in extreme emergencies.

Win-LoseAs illustrated here, the posture of both parties, whether power is equal or unequal, is democratic and concerned with the needs of each — saying in effect, “Let’s work together for a solution that meets your needs and meets my needs. Both of us will win, no one will be a resentful loser.”

The main advantage of the Method III approach is that it enhances rather than harms the relationship. No one loses; instead both win. Feelings of resentment and unfairness are thus eliminated from problem solving and replaced by mutual respect and concern for the needs of all parties.

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10 Helpful Tips for Better Active Listening

Date: March 31st, 2014

Posted by: Michelle Adams

1. Know when to use Active Listening. Use it only when you’re free enough of your problems to feel accepting and want to help other people with their problems.

2. Know when not to use Active Listening. It won’t work when you’re feeling unaccepting of the other person — when you own the problem. Nor will it work to influence them to change some behavior you don’t accept.

3. Avoid pushing or imposing your Active Listening on the other person. Listen for clues that the other doesn’t want to talk or has finished talking.

listening1 drop shadow4. Use the other listening skills: silence, acknowledgment responses, and door openers. Every response of the other person does not need feedback. Use Active Listening primarily when feelings are strong and the other person’s need to be heard is apparent.

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How To Totally Mess Up Confrontation

Date: March 25th, 2014

Blog post by: William D. Stinnett, Ph.D.

Confronting unacceptable behavior in the workplace (or anywhere) is often uncomfortable. One of the most valuable tools that can be used to increase your odds of a successful conversation about behavior that interferes with your objectives is called an I-Message. Using a well-constructed I-Message allows you to avoid many of the pitfalls of these emotional, uncomfortable but highly necessary conversations.

With an I-Message, you are not making assumptions about the other person’s motives or intentions (stuff you don’t know anything about). They are non-judgmental. They are clear. They give the other person useful information that can be used to make changes in their behavior if they choose to do so. It’s powerful stuff. But like any powerful tool, there are lots of ways to mess up. I know lots of carpenters, gardeners, and mechanics who certainly know how to use their tools but still have the scars to prove that even an expert can hit her thumb with a hammer.

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How Does Maslow’s Model Fit with the Gordon Model?

Date: March 19th, 2014

Article by: Linda Adams


First, understanding this Hierarchy of Needs makes you more aware that we all have many basic requirements that are necessary and essential to our survival, health and well-being and that our behavior is geared toward meetings those needs. It helps you see your own behavior and that of the people with whom you live and work in a different frame of reference. Instead of labeling behavior as “bad” or “selfish” or “misbehavior”, it can be seen as “need-meeting”.

Next, knowing the communication and conflict resolution skills gives you tools that are invaluable in getting many of those needs met, especially Levels 3-5.

A primary goal of the Gordon Model workshops is to expand the size of your No Problem Area in your relationships at work, home and with friends and others.

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The O’Gordon Model – May It Always Be With You

Date: March 12th, 2014


Here’s a message in verse

To help you relate better, not worse

It will help you increase

The chance you’ll have peace

Using language that’s kind and not terse.

Our Window can help you see

Where to locate the “B”

Now you can learn

Just how to discern

Is the problem with you, me or we?

When someone needs an ear

You can listen and hear

And help them unwind

Or maybe to find

A solution to their doubt or fear.

At the times you need to say

That it’s you who’s not okay

There’s a different skill

That will help you fulfill

Your needs in a non-blameful way.

Method III is the skill to use

Instead of to yell or accuse

So that you and another

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Leaders – Can They REALLY Make You Or Break You?

Date: March 10th, 2014

(Please note that this Personal Postscript is by L.E.T.’s creator, Dr. Thomas Gordon. We share it with you in honor of this great man’s birthday, March 11th.)

Posted by: Michelle Adams

B&W Tom Headshop w dropshadowI began to realize rather early in life, even before I went to high school, that there were good leaders and poor leaders in my world. I was not exactly sure what made the difference, but I remember thinking it had something to do with how much those people used their power—how much they punished or threatened to punish, how much they ordered me around, how much they tried to control me. These leaders were my various teachers, two school principals, a YMCA leader, two coaches, a Boy Scout leader, several camp counselors, a number of Sunday school teachers, my minister, and a mean assistant principal I shall never forget.

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What Is Your Relationship Style?

Date: March 4th, 2014

Posted by: Michelle Adams

There are three postures that many of us use in relating to our coworkers, team members, friends, family and so on: being non-assertive, aggressive or assertive.

1. Being Non-Assertive

article-new_ehow_images_a08_2t_e3_legally-demote-employee-800x800 This means not communicating your honest beliefs, feelings, needs and opinions to others. It means subordinating your needs to theirs.

Fear is a major contributing factor to much non-assertive behavior–fear of being in conflict, of losing face, of getting disapproval or disagreement, of being rejected or ignored, of losing your job or a promotion, of hurting others. A sure sign of non-assertive behavior is later wishing that you had said or done something and continuing to stew over the situation however minor it might be.

When non-assertive people do express an idea or need, they often do so in such a self-effacing way that other people disregard or ignore them. Because their feelings remain unexpressed and their needs unmet, they are often frustrated, angry and resentful.

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Psst…..Active Listening–It’s Not Just For Problems!

Date: February 25th, 2014

Blog Post by Michelle Adams

So remember that Active Listening stuff? I am guessing you do. Okay, so did you know that you can use it when no one owns a problem?

conversation of two businesspeople

Let’s say you’re “hanging out” in the middle part of the Behavior Window (AKA “Increasing Productive Work Time” or the “No Problem Area”) and you’re simply talking with a coworker about the usual stuff or a new project—anything that’s not, at the present moment, below anybody’s Line of Acceptance.

This skill is THE most difficult AND the most powerful so I encourage you to practice it as much as you can—yes, even when there’s no problem. Here are some tips for you:

The following are appropriate uses of Active Listening when all of the other’s behaviors are in the No Problem, Productive Work Area:

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So How Competent ARE You?

Date: February 18th, 2014

Posted by:  Michelle Adams

Recently, I was contacted by Real Simple Magazine for permission to use our concept of the Learning Stages. It’s a very entertaining article about the author learning to play the banjo and I highly recommend it (March, 2014 issue – see “Consciously Competent” on page 45).


Anyway…..these stages are something we teach in all of our Gordon Model programs and I think get overlooked—and they can provide a HUGE feeling of relief not just when you’re learning new skills in our leadership training program (L.E.T.) but in life!

So imagine you’re learning a new skill as you read this—I bet you might feel a whole lot better and perhaps not be so hard on yourself!




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What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Date: February 10th, 2014

Posted by: Michelle Adams

February 14th is Valentine’s Day and a time to celebrate love and its importance in our lives, especially in our close relationships with our spouses, partners and children.



If you have learned the communication and conflict resolution skills that are the core of the Gordon Model, you’ve experienced their positive results—of truly understanding another person and being understood; of how being open and honest can clear the air between two people; of the satisfied or even euphoric feeling of resolving a difficult, long-standing conflict. You realize that your relationships are working better, more effectively.

You might have also focused on the fact that many of them are more loving. That’s no coincidence. Love either flourishes or deteriorates depending on how we talk to and treat each other.


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Oh Yeah, We’re Just ONE Big Happy Family—Riiiiight

Date: February 3rd, 2014

Posted by Michelle Adams


Have you ever heard executives proudly describe their groups or organizations: “We’re just a big happy family around here—we get along, no problems.” I am always suspicious of such leaders, as I am suspicious of husbands and wives who say, “We’ve been married for twenty years and we’ve never had a fight.” Usually that means that their conflicts are not allowed to surface and be faced.

Some people actually fear conflict. They feel anxious and uncomfortable with conflicts, so they take the attitude of  “peace at any price.” Therefore, they avoid getting involved in anything that smacks of conflict. But they pay a price for this posture, because the results of avoiding conflict are quite predictable:

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  1. Resentments Build Up. This is true in all relationships, not just leader-member relationships. When conflicts remain unresolved, resentments gradually build up. Then, maybe months later, when a minor problem crops up, all the accumulated resentment erupts explosively, usually far out of proportion to the particular problem of the moment.

5 Things That Set L.E.T. Apart from Other Leadership Programs

Date: January 28th, 2014

Blog Post by William D. Stinnett, Ph.D.



The choices available to organizational decision makers are many. It is no longer the case that only a few training companies control the market. We certainly acknowledge that there are many excellent products available. It is our responsibility to be clear about how L.E.T. is different from the others. The following factors explain what I believe to be the most important differences that set L.E.T. apart from its competition.


Scientific Basis

Leader Effectiveness Training

L.E.T. is solid. It is thoroughly grounded in the fundamental principles of the behavioral sciences. It does not rely on gimmicks. The skills taught in L.E.T. are clearly a product of the most reliable and respected research on human
behavior. These skills work. We know they work.

Other Leadership Training

Many programs sacrifice quality for “newness” or “razzle-dazzle.” There is a lot of guesswork and speculation in many programs. Some programs include a great deal of “new age” thinking that has little evidence to support its effectiveness.

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Thinking of Taking L.E.T.? Here’s What You Will Learn!

Date: January 21st, 2014

Blog Post by Michelle Adams

Adult ClassroomSo here it is, almost the end of January, which is a bit crazy if you ask me, but I digress….so anyway,….here we are! Maybe you made some New Year’s resolutions or maybe you skipped them this year. Regardless, I always see the new year as an opportunity to make a fresh start, to do things a little differently—a little better.

We always get a flood of emails and calls from people, especially during this time of the year, inquiring about how they can learn some better communication and/or conflict resolution skills.

Maybe they think THIS is the year that they tackle those relationships at work that are just not working or it’s high time that their team learns to simply get along, play fair and get to work already! Well, if it’s time, we’re here to help and here’s what you will learn in our leadership training program:

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Leadership Training: It’s Not Rocket Science

Date: January 13th, 2014

Posted by Michelle Adams

Most people live much of their lives in groups—when they work, when they worship, when they play, when they learn. And it seems all groups do need leaders, for better or for worse. But leaders can make or break a group. Their attitudes and behavior strongly influence the group’s performance and also the amount of satisfaction enjoyed by group members, as everyone knows from direct experience with teachers, administrators, supervisors, committee chairpersons, coaches, managers, clergy and elected officials.

leadership trainingIt is equally true of our society, and a fact often overlooked, that most people at one time or another are thrust into a position of leading a group. Most people become parents, for example, a leadership position in relation to the children. The teacher, too, is a leader of his classroom of students. Each person is a leader who gets chosen to direct a committee or task group, who is elected president of a volunteer organization, who assumes responsibility as a scout leader or camp director. Of the countless people who take on these varied leadership roles, how many find it a truly rewarding and fulfilling experience?

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What to Do When Solutions Are Hard to Find

Date: January 6th, 2014

Blog Post by Michelle Adams

A question often asked in our leadership training program is, “What if you can’t come up with a mutually acceptable solution?”

Conflict Resolution at WorkI think the main reason this question comes up so often is that people who have little or no experience with Method III are genuinely skeptical about the chances that people in conflict will find no-lose solutions. They haven’t seen it happen, so they are sure it won’t.

The facts are, it does happen often. But it is also true that sometimes mutually acceptable solutions are hard to find. Stalemates in conflict resolution may develop because the parties did not follow the six steps of the problem-solving process. Or one (or both) of the contestants is still in a win-lose posture and a power-struggle frame of mind. And, needless to say, some conflicts are so complex that it takes a lot of creativity and resourcefulness to come up with good solutions.

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How To Turn Conflict Into Cooperation

Date: December 16th, 2013

Blog Post by Michelle Adams

Although most people know from personal experience that the two win-lose methods of conflict resolution carry a high risk of damaging relationships and reducing organizational effectiveness, these continue to be the methods of choice for most leaders. While there may be a number of explanations for this, two seem most probable: people have had little or no personal experience with any other approach to conflict resolution, and, in the minds of most people, having the greatest influence is equated with possessing the most power.

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The Power Of Forgiveness: What The Life Of Nelson Mandela Can Teach Us About Leadership

Date: December 11th, 2013

Blog Post by William D. Stinnett, Ph.D.


The world lost a great leader. A better way to think of it may be that we had a gift that lasted for 95 years. Mandela accomplished much but will be most remembered for his ability and willingness to forgive. Yes, he was a great civil rights leader. Yes, he was imprisoned for his beliefs. Yes, he was awarded a Nobel Peace prize. Yes, he was democratically elected president of South Africa. Yes, he wrote “Long Walk To Freedom,” a book about his life. Yes, he became an elder statesman who was the face of human rights and equality in virtually every part of the world. He was also human. He made mistakes. He had troubled marriages. He was afraid. But, in the end, he invited his accusers, his tormentors, his jailers and his enemies to the table in the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation. Few have the depth of understanding to realize what an act of courage that must have been. In his words, “The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” That is true leadership.

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Here it is, the Gordon Model “all boxed up”, for you!

Date: December 11th, 2013

Blog Post by Michelle Adams

What do I mean by that? Well, I was thinking of the holidays, what a virtual gift to you could be, what to write for the Graduate Connection and so a thought came to me. I will give the gift of the Gordon Model, in the most succinct way I can. Ready? Here you go!
set-of-2-christmas-peace-dove-table-top-figures-151. The overall goal of the Gordon Model is to reduce relationship problems to increase the amount of productive work time. The purpose of the Behavior Window is to help you identify who is having a problem so you’ll know which skill to use.

2. In contrast to the Roadblocks, Active Listening encourages the other person, who has the problem, to say more about it.

3. Active Listening is an empathic way of reflecting back both the words and feelings the troubled person has expressed, to see if you have understood correctly.

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So how DOES LET work exactly?

Date: December 2nd, 2013

Blog Post by William D. Stinnett, Ph.D.

The reason that Leader Effectiveness Training works is that it addresses leadership skills at a deeper and more fundamental level than other leadership or management training workshops. With the skills learned in L.E.T., the organization is able to create a suitable platform on which the other components can be constructed. Just as some advanced drugs require a steady heartbeat and acceptable blood pressure or new software applications require a proper operating system, many management tools such as career development tools, mentoring systems, quality improvement systems and so forth require a certain level of communication skill that management teams often do not possess. This tendency is exaggerated in highly technical organizations where hiring and promotions are based mainly on technical qualifications. Few technical specialty curricula offer more than a smattering of non-technical coursework and few hiring companies look for, or are indeed qualified, to evaluate leadership skills. Often, organizations have highly competent, capable, decent men and women in leadership roles. But, that doesn’t guarantee that the organization can sustain high levels of quality and productivity. This is a difficult lesson to learn because many companies operate reasonably successfully without excellent leadership skills. In an environment in which there is little competition and you have an excellent product line, much error can be tolerated. But, as the organization grows and the competition increases, the margin for such error is greatly diminished. Effectiveness and clarity become extremely important.

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