Lead by Example

17 Mar

Have you ever felt like you have been dragged into a dispute??

I don’t know about you, but I have.

Before you can blink, your muscles are starting to tense and your heart beats faster. Your lizard brain is starting to engage and the little hairs on the back of your neck are starting to bristle. You’re in … and ready to ‘get it on.’

Did you ever think that you have control over that reaction? Maybe not from preventing it from happening all together, but certainly in dealing with it.

I was at an awesome advanced mediation class today, and our trainer, Becky Magruder, told a story about a mediation course she taught that was filled with lawyers who had zero interest in mediation. They were there because the court was implementing a new program and they needed to be trained. These naysayers engaged her and her co-trainer from the very beginning of the class and let’s just say, they got off to a very rocky start. Becky thought to herself, how horrible a 5 day class in this environment would be – for everyone.

lead-by-example1Much to their credit, Becky and her colleague, took the lunch break to discuss this challenge and they soon realized that they had been sucked in. They decided that rather than engaging with these folks and defending mediation, they would treat them as they would any party in a mediation. So they changed their approach and started asking open-ended questions and interacting with the students in a completely different (and inquisitive) way. Becky said it was amazing how the temperature in the class changed.

My take-away from Becky’s story is that ‘leading by example’ models the good behavior that we want to be surrounded by. So, next time, I feel the tug of a conflict, I will step back as soon as I can to understand my reaction … and see if I can take a different approach.


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