Relate Well! Blog

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

The Secret to Aging Well

If you ever suffer from insomnia and find yourself watching late night infomercials, chances are you have been tempted by products that are “guaranteed” solutions for aging well.  Many people today are obsessed with trying to discover anti-aging secrets in nutrition, exercise, skin care, strong relationships, and the list goes on, in an effort to stay young – or at least young at heart.

Recent research conducted by the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Hamburg, Germany, reports evidence that suggests if you want to age well you may need to learn how to effectively let go of regrets.

The poem Maud Muller by John Greenleaf Whittier ends with the well known line, “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been!”  Do you agonize about missed opportunities? Are you still fretting over decisions gone bad or risks you were afraid to take that may have paid off handsomely? If so, you...

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Tips for Team Building Success Part 2 of 2

No man is an island, according to poet John Donne. While we strive as individuals to shoulder our responsibilities, solve our problems and achieve our goals, the fact remains that we are always interconnected with other people. In a workplace team environment, the success of each individual and the success of the team are inextricably intertwined. That’s why it is important to make an effort toward building a healthy team dynamic.

Last time I presented the first 5 of 10 tips for team building success, so we will look at the last 5 today.

6. Involve your team in decision making whenever possible – Giving team members the opportunity to weigh in on important decisions helps to increase their sense of ownership, value and responsibility. Many companies have experienced great success and saved millions of dollars by listening to, and implementing, ideas from employees.

7. Keep your team well informed – A wise person once said, “What you are not up on...

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Tips for Team Building Success Part I of 2

The Apprentice television show revolved around the premise that a stable of young talent is trying to get a job with Donald Trump. In their endeavors they are challenged with weekly assignments. Be a leader. Sell product. Manage people. Ultimately, their goal is to win. But along the way the most successful candidates also learn something else – that a good team greatly enhances your personal success.

Whether you are responsible for one person or a whole team, there are several very important keys to managing people well. If you are a manager, review the tips below and assess how you’re doing and whether or not you can identify areas for improvement.

If you work under a manager, rate him or her on each of the behaviors below. If appropriate, be willing to offer feedback on how you perceive their effectiveness in the critical areas listed. Be sure to include both positive and negative perceptions – and be prepared to offer reasonable suggestions for how they can...

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10 Things Great Communicators Do Well

Author, Judson Edwards, identified several universal principles that great communicators practice on a regular basis.  Although the principles he identified are excellent, I have made some modifications to his list. In addition, I have also contributed several of my own thoughts in order to speak more clearly about the personal communication and relationship difficulties you may face on an every day basis. I am convinced that if you consistently apply these principles you can become a great communicator both at work and at home.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Todd

1. Agree more, argue less

Contentious people are simply more difficult to get along with. While you may have strong opinions (and may be right much of the time), it will not matter if it comes across as combative or argumentative. Learn to respect people’s ability to have their own opinion and beliefs. Be understanding, forgiving and gracious in your dealings with others. Know that often, the most...

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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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