Relate Well! Blog

Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development

Why Most People Avoid Conflict... and Why You Shouldn't

If you can think and talk, and if you ever come in contact with other people, there is the potential for conflict. Conflict is an inevitable, completely normal part of the human condition, yet most people readily admit that they intentionally avoid anything that even remotely resembles disagreement or confrontation.  In fact, much of my work in relational counseling and coaching involves helping people to understand – and even embrace – the value of conflict and overcome the fears that feed their aversion.

There are a number factors that can influence conflict avoidance, such as self-doubt, lack of assertiveness, inadequate communication skills, fear of rejection, disapproval, criticism, loss of security and more.  In other words, people avoid conflict in order to minimize perceived threats to their self-esteem and sense of well-being.

Let me be clear – I’m all for avoiding real danger and I never recommend that anyone intentionally subject...

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The Sherlock Strategy: Guaranteed to Improve Communication

Do you want your personal and professional relationships to be stronger and more satisfying? If, like most people, your answer is “of course”, then I want to share a very powerful communication tool that has the potential to transform your relationships.

I refer to this communication tool as the Sherlock Strategy.  Named after the famed detective, this practice of effective inquiry simply involves the ability to ask timely and relevant open-ended questions for the purpose of increasing accurate understanding of another person’s thoughts, feelings and needs.  The great Sherlock Holmes could always dig past the obvious to see what was really going on.

Every human being shares a common desire and need to be understood.  Unfortunately, when it comes to our high-stake (most important) relationships we often feel misunderstood, especially when it comes to important and sensitive issues.

When communicating we too often assume we understand what the...

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Discouraged? How to Stay Up in a Down World

Looking at all of the bad news, tragedy, and hardship that floats through the world today, be it on television, the Internet, or word of mouth from friends and neighbors, there may be times where you feel overwhelmed and discouraged. Sometimes, you may even just want to curl up into a ball and stop all the noise from creating such a catastrophic uneasiness.

For many, the challenge of rising above the pain and discouragement of life is very difficult. Although you can not eliminate grief and disappointment from your life, the effective tips below can help you in your effort to stay up in a down world.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

How to Stay Up in a Down World!

1. Look beyond your circumstances

Whatever you’re going through today won’t last forever. You can rise above the pain and sorrow by focusing on the hope that better days are ahead. Optimism isn’t the opposite of reality – it’s just the best way to view it.

2. Focus on what you have rather...

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Getting Control of Your Anger - Part II

In my last blog I shared the first four of seven practical tips for managing your anger well. They were:

1.  Understand what anger is

2. Control your initial response

3. Acknowledge your anger and its source

4. Tell yourself the truth

Those are the critical first steps to balancing the inner issues (thought processes) that set you up for either success or failure in anger management. Now let’s look at some external actions and choices you can make to help you put a stop to unhealthy reactions to anger.

5. Limit Your Exposure to the Things That Trigger Your Anger

Repeated exposure to stressful images, thoughts and situations can intensify your emotional response. If you find that your anger escalates when you watch the news, read the newspaper or talk about an offense or injustice with a friend or co-worker, then you may need to significantly reduce or eliminate these activities. This could mean hiding posts from certain Facebook friends or other social media connections...

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Getting Control of Your Anger - Part I

One of the major roadblocks to strong relationships, both at home and at work, is the inability to effectively manage one’s emotions. Of all the emotional, psychological and physical responses we experience in life, anger is perhaps the most challenging to process and control on a consistent basis.

How you choose to respond to your anger will make a difference in the quality of your relationships, your physical and emotional well being and your effectiveness in bringing about positive and constructive change in your life.

Today we will look at the first four of seven practical tips you can use to help manage your anger more effectively.

1. Understand What Anger Is

Anger is a natural, God-designed emotional and physiological response to negative or threatening circumstances in life. When you believe that you have been treated unfairly or harshly, or when you experience frustration associated with an unmet need or goal, your mind and body prepare for action. It is this emotional...

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Tips for Holding Team Members Accountable

If you want to jeopardize the productivity and performance of your team and at the same time compromise trust and respect, DON’T hold your team members accountable. Before you protest, “But trying to get my co-workers to do anything always causes trouble,” let’s look at some facts.

In his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni lists the fourth dysfunction as Avoidance of Accountability – ducking the responsibility to call peers on counterproductive behavior that could harm the team.  Failure to maintain an organizational culture that values and demonstrates a high standard of excellence invites mediocrity, low morale, mistrust, and employee disengagement. Those are not the characteristics of a winning team!

 

Many team members I have interviewed over the years admit to being apprehensive about holding their co-workers accountable for issues like poor communication, missed deadlines, lack of productivity or subpar...

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What Makes a Great Dad?

In my blog earlier this week I discussed the importance of the father’s role in the lives of his children, but what does that mean to you in practical terms? Really, the question is, “What does it take to be a great dad?” Based on my work with hundreds of couples and families, I have found that great dads consistently practice five key principles.

Raising children is a little bit like building a home. I’m not an expert in construction, but I know that if you want to build a quality home, you need to pay close attention to the details – just as a father seeking to raise “quality” kids will find it helpful to keep these five key principles in mind.

1. A great dad LOVES his children. Just as the foundation of a new home has to be poured before the building can be framed, a father’s love for his family is the foundation that supports and sustains everything else he does. When your actions and decisions are motivated by love, your...

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Bend or Break - Which Will You Do?

Unlike pieces of hardware that weren’t made to bend or flex, humans were designed with this capacity… and for good reason. We are bombarded daily with challenges and demands that can place pressure on us, especially in our relationships.  If we want to be strong and resilient when the stresses of life come our way we need to know whether we are likely to bend or break.

Some of the common pressures in the workplace involve changing deadlines, increased responsibilities, cancelled meetings, uncontrollable market or economic trends, long hours, demanding supervisors, negative co-workers and the list goes on.

Successful people don’t snap under these pressures because they have learned to be more flexible. This doesn’t mean they don’t care and it doesn’t minimize the significance of the stress. It means they are able to put their circumstances in perspective, which allows them to think, feel and behave in ways that will keep their...

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The Importance of a Dad

Father’s Day is coming up, which gets us thinking about our own fathers or our own role as a dad. If I asked you to tell me about your father, you might give me a variety of responses. Maybe you weren’t raised by your biological father. Instead, you were raised by your mother, a stepfather, adopted father, or grandfather. Or, your father may have raised you but you didn’t have a good relationship with him. Or as is the case for me, your father passed away and all you have left are memories. Or perhaps you had – and still have – a great relationship with your dad.

Is the Role of a Father Really That Important?

There are those who say that fathers don’t play a significant role in the lives of their children and that, in fact, parents don’t really have the kind of influence we once thought they did. This is not true! Parents play a vital role in the lives of their children, and fathers, in particular, have a profound influence on their...

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7 Keys to Letting Go of Regret

personal growth Jun 05, 2014

Living with regret is like walking through life dragging a heavy ball and chain around your ankle – it will do nothing but slow you down. Regrets keep you focused on the past, which robs you of the present and tricks you into believing there is no future.

These 7 keys will help you take another step toward freeing yourself from the weight of regret, beginning to move forward again, and creating real change in your life.

1. Accept the past, no matter how you feel about it. Remind yourself that feeling guilty can’t change what has happened and dwelling on it won’t keep you from making future mistakes.

2. Admit to yourself that you aren’t perfect and that mistakes, even big ones, are a normal part of life. Forgive yourself and move forward. Remember that new successes help fade the memories of past failures.

3. Whenever possible, make reparation, or in other words, do what you can to make it right. If it requires an apology, apologize. Sometimes circumstances...

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