International Institute For Global Leadership
Issue #140* August 2013
Asheville, NC. USA
Learning About Difficult Conversations
By: Erick Kebeka Omari (Kenya)
Difficult conversations are a normal part of life, and we can look at how they occur in conversation.
First, we need to understand what the people involved are thinking and feeling, but not saying to each other in a difficult conversation.
Next, the gap between what you’re saying is part of what makes a conversation difficult. Often you’re distracted by all that’s going on inside. You’re uncertain about what’s okay to share, and what’s better left unsaid and you know that just saying what you’re thinking would probably not make the conversation any easier.
Each difficult conversation can be divided into three conversation parts:
The “What Happened” conversation, this involves disagreement about what has happened or what should happen; who said what and who did what; who is right, who meant what and who’s to blame. This is what makes part of a conversation difficult since we analyze the what happened and want to know who we can blame for the misfortunate. Instead of looking for possible solutions we look for who to blame, and the one to be blamed creates resistance to the blame.
The “Feeling Conversation,” where every difficult conversation also asks and answers questions about the feelings; such as: are my feelings valid, appropriate, should I acknowledge or deny them?”
The “Identity Conversation.” This is the conversation we each have with ourselves about what this situation means to us. We sometimes conduct an internal debate over whether this means we are competent or incompetent, a good person or bad, worthy of love or unlovable.
Here are some key points to consider when approaching a difficult conversation:
Choosing not to deliver a difficult message is like hanging on to a hand grenade once you’ve pulled the pin. Sometimes we keep things in our hearts which if spoken well and shared with understanding they could help a lot. We know the problem but we do not want to face it or we lack enough courage to inform another person how we feel or what is in our hearts because of the fear, that things may get worse or we may be rejected or attacked. We might hurt the other person in ways we didn’t intend and the relationship might suffer. If we understand the right way of delivering difficult massage, it will be easy to overcome anything.
Knowing what we can’t change, and what we can. What we can change is the way we respond to each of these challenges, typically, instead of exploring what information the other person might have that we don’t. We assume we know all we need to know to understand and explain things. And this causes conflict since we make judgment without really giving the other people a chance to express their views. Difficult conversations are almost never about the facts, they are about conflicting perceptions, interpretations and values.
Disagreement is not a bad thing nor does it necessary lead to difficult conversation. We disagree with people all the time and often no one cares very much. But other times we care a lot. The disagreement seems at the heart of what is going wrong between us. Sometimes people won’t agree with what we want them to agree with and they won’t do what we need them to do.
Arguing blocks us from exploring each other’s stories. Arguing inhibits our ability to learn how the other person sees the world. When we argue we tend to trade conclusions, the bottom line of what we think, but neither conclusion makes sense in the other person’s story. So we each dismiss the other’s argument rather than helping us understand our different views arguing result in a battle of messages rather than drawing us together, arguing pulls us a part.
Say what you mean and don’t make others guess. It is good for people to understand what you mean, but do not leave the loop-holes in your conversation for them to fill for you. Tell them how you feel but do not leave them to guess how you feel or your expression. It is good to speak it out even if it hurts most.
(Erick is the IIGL National Coordinator in Kenya and a Level Seven student).
What Our Students Are Saying
Nicole “Lindzee” Lindholm
One of the first lessons learned in reaching a goal was the importance of setting a vision and holding an intention for what one wants to accomplish. Second, one must fuel the fire by adding the kindling of a positive mental attitude (PMA) and positive self-talk. These components are crucial to have the right motivation, encouragement, and momentum so the objective can be reached. One of the IIGL curriculum authors wrote that the most important opinion in relation to your goal is your own. Make that opinion count with positive thoughts of success. Third, a concept I found totally revolutionary was the process of visualization of the desired outcome. To the mind, positive mental imagery and reality are one in the same. Thus, if you visualize yourself graduating from IIGL, to the brain, this event is actually occurring. Even Olympic athletes use this technique to improve their performance. Fourth, do not wait for your attitude or emotions towards your goal to be in tip-top shape before you take action since attitude and emotion follow behavior. Just do what you need to do and the psychosocial aspect will follow accordingly.
By far, the most common theme in all the initial level leadership books I read was goal setting. If you aim at nothing, you’re sure to hit the mark every time. The way to be most productive is to constantly set goals, but not to beat yourself up if you do not meet your goal. As one Harvard Medical School author put it, learn to say “Oh well” and move on.
This brings me to my second major lesson learned which is to see failures as stepping stones to success. More specifically, Leader, Entrepreneur, and Author Andrew Carnegie stated, “Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” Just as you yourself stated, Michael, every experience in life can serve as a lesson or “curriculum” to help us grow further. This concept immediately reminded me of what the Apostle Paul stated in Romans 8:28, the words which I directed to be preached at my mother’s funeral: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Each and every experience has the potential of becoming a classroom where we have the choice of either being the class clown, ignoring the learning and knowledge that is being imparted, or the valedictorian, tucking away each seed of wisdom in our heads and our hearts and nurturing them into mature plants which are sowed by helping others in individual transformation.
I have really appreciated being a part of the IIGL family and the sense of community that I have experienced as a student, board member, and Vice President. I now have friends from all over the world which makes the planet seem a whole lot smaller. I have enjoyed getting to know these folks, hearing their ideas about leadership, and learning more about the countries in which they live. I have met some really wonderful, intelligent, person-centered leaders from the student body, board, and executive team. These people have been very inspiring, encouraging, and motivating. They have walked with me through some very tough times and have given me support and advice in the areas of career direction, health, financial planning, and leadership. There are too many folks to name, but you know who you are. Thank you for investing in me and my future and for exemplifying the leader I want to be.
What Our Students Are Reading
Nonviolent Communication: by Marshall Rosenberg ($12.21)
Do you hunger for skills to improve the quality of your relationships, to deepen your sense of personal empowerment or to simply communicate more effectively?
Unfortunately, for centuries our culture has taught us to think and speak in ways that can actually perpetuate conflict, internal pain and even violence. Nonviolent Communication offers practical skills with a powerful consciousness and vocabulary to help you get what you want peacefully. Rosenberg offers insightful stories, anecdotes, practical exercises and role-plays that will dramatically change your approach to communication for the better. Discover how the language you use can strengthen your relationships, build trust, prevent conflicts and heal pain. Revolutionary, yet simple, NVC offers you the most effective tools to reduce violence and create peace in your life-one interaction at a time.
Students In Action
Felix Iziomoh ( email@example.com)
A workshop organized by International centre for Leadership Development Nigeria/ International Institute for Global Leadership titled: “New Nigeria Dream Initiative for Secondary Schools” was implemented in June, 2013.
The workshop commenced at Lafiaji Community Youth Centre, Lagos. An opening speech and presentation by Felix Iziomoh on Goal Setting, challenging each student to have a goal after the program, Followed by Ajayi Olutayo of Hive Initiative who presented on Entrepreneurship with fascinating stories. Then a break to share a brief summary of what has been learned thus far and a little chops/drinks. After the break, Jesmine Onyeukwu of Jessylscharm delivered a near practical presentation on Time and Space Management. Lastly, there was a presentation by Abidemi Balogun on Mentoring/Mentorship with each presenter having 30 minutes. A summary was given by Friday Ugbekile and a concluding speech by Doyin Adedeji.
The workshop was a success at the end as there were a total of 131 students and 6 teachers in attendance, 10 students representing each school and there was a representative from the Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development in person of Mr. Ogunnwa Ibitoye representing the Permanent Secretary.
Sincere appreciation to everyone mentioned above, the IIGL team, Joseph Abue (JP) and Emmanuel Iziomoh for their contribution to the success of the workshop.
Valuable Resources for Personal & Planetary Transformation
Dalar International Consultants
As leadership development and organizational development consultants, they provide a variety of development, consulting and coaching/mentoring services to assist organization wide breakthroughs in performance through a shift in thinking and consciousness. Experience shows that by working with the people pillar of the triple bottom line, organizations experience increases in productivity, employee engagement, profit and results.
Dalar’s services are dedicated to extraordinary leaders and their organizations who share common values about developing themselves and their organizations.
All of Dalar’s is carried out the Genuine Contact™ way using the holistic set of synergistically blended tools, techniques and concepts of the Genuine Contact program. The Genuine Contact way provides guidance for creating a shift in consciousness for personal, leadership and organizational breakthroughs.
(A special Thank You to Dalar International for offering tuition free training to selected IIGL students).
Audio Book Option Explored
The IIGL Officers recently followed up on feedback received at the 2013 Annual Meeting in Lagos, Nigeria. They designed a survey to ask IIGL students their views on having IIGL books available on audio. 25 students completed the survey. We will begin to offer this option on a situational basis for Level One and Two students. A special thanks to Lindzee Lindholm (USA) and Felix Iziomoh (Nigeria) IIGL Vice Presidents for implementing the survey.
Meet Our New Students
We are please to welcome two new active students this month. They are both from Nigeria.
Jechira Paul Jighjigh (Nigeria)
Jechira Paul Jighjigh is my name, a native of Vandeikya; local government Area of Benue state Nigeria. I am 1st in a family of seven.
I am a student of the department Food Science and Technology; University of Agriculture Makurdi Nigeria. I was born in Benue, Nigeria; I grew up in Kaduna Nigeria and currently running an undergraduate degree program at Benue State Nigeria. My interest in life is to improve myself so that I may give a valuable contribution to making the world a better place. My dream is to inspire young minds and be an asset to the society; I love service to humanity and have this goal of contributing to knowledge in a definite way. I am a motivational speaker who always wants to leave people better than I met them. Although I am yet to travel out of my country but I have reached important cities in Nigeria like Abuja, Maiduguri, Jos, Calabar, among others.
My hobbies are reading, writing, traveling and conducting scientific research. My favorite author is John Manson: An enemy called average; Ben Carson: Gifted hands, Bishop David Oyedepo: Exploiting the secrets of Success and many other renowned Anointed men of God who have authored several books.
I don’t really have leisure as to watch most of the movies available but at my spare, I have great preference for:3 Idiots, Merlin, Legend of the Seeker, Avatar, X-men, Gospel Musicals (Don moen) , wrestling and Chinese Collections. I am a member of Nigeria institute of food science and Technology (Nifst), also a member Students in free enterprise, community development project aimed at empowering people on how to better their lives, their standard of living and quality of life, change their world through the positive power of business. I have led in so many social organizations, church organization and currently by God’s grace am among the leaders of a prayer group. I have so much interest in agriculture because my people are farmers therefore I want to better the agricultural sector of the world’s economy by my contributions to knowledge.
I fear nothing but God Almighty the creator; in Christ I have stood, walked, lived and have my being. He is the most fascinating thing that has ever happened to men.
I don’t see people the way they are, I see them the way they should be. My favorite quote is, “With God all things are possible, dare to try” I have faith in people but my wish is that they will all learn to believe in themselves. I don’t think that anybody has ever failed; I only believe that people have failed in doing some things. I enjoy service to humanity and will always look for opportunity to render one. I love life because it gives me an opportunity to face it the way it is and make out of it whatever I want. My greatest achievements in life have been; putting smiles on people’s faces. I love myself, my family, my native home and my country (Nigeria). Without fear or favor, I dare to say that Nigeria is the best country in the whole world. I love culture and tradition and I have this respect for people which is as a result of my upbringing in the hands of the best parents in the whole world. I owe them my life for all the love and care they have lavished on me. I am the product of the Grace of God and my own thinking. You may not like me at first sight but I bet you if you stay tuned and hold on, you will discover for yourself that I am the best friend you never had, the brother you never saw and the guy you want to keep.
I am a people person who treats people not the way they deserve but the way they need. Winning is my culture, victory is my tradition and success is my best friend. The best place I have ever been is the presence of God; Jesus is my Father, Savior and my all in all.
Obidigbo Chikwado Valentine (Nigeria)
I am a twenty three years old male by name Obidigbo Chikwado Valentine. Tall, chocolate-skinned, black hair and have a gap between my front teeth cause by a minor accident. I was born in a small town in Bamenda metropolis in North West Province of Cameroon; I am the last child out of eight children, five girls and three boys. It took my parents five years after the birth of my immediate elder sister to give birth to me that is why I was named chikwado meaning God prepares in Igboland.
I started my primary education at the age of three years in catholic primary school Big Mankon Cameroon, and their education system for basic education runs for seven years as of then but now it is six years. Later I got admission into one of the prestigious secondary school in Cameroon called Sacred Heart College Mankon Cameroon where I served as the junior sport prefect in my form four a position I held for one year. I spend five years in the school after which I got my General Certificate of Education (G.C.E) passing all the papers (subjects) that is eleven subjects. After my ordinary level I was eager to go for high school in the same institution but my parents refused, and said I will be going to Nigeria to complete my education. December 2006, I left for Nigeria to continue with my tertiary education, after one year for searching for admission I later gained admission to study Statistics in Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra State Nigeria. After four years of study I graduated with a first class honours in Statistics (Bsc).
When I was seven years old I used to tell my mother I wanted to be a medical doctor but I guess some dreams changes as we grow older and become more responsible.
Presently I dream of going into academics and becoming a professor in Statistics at an age of not more than thirty five years. I love helping the less privilege so I intern having a foundation that will help widows, give scholarships to students and provide adequate health care. There is this dream I have been having since my university days to be the central bank Governor of my country but some of my friends think I am just dreaming, but I know nothing on earth is impossible. I am among the pioneer beneficiaries of the MTN Nigeria Scholarship in Science and Technology it shows my love for figures and calculation. Apart from that I enjoy watching and playing football, listening to all genres of music and hanging out with friends. Robin Hood and Prison Break are my favorites movies; I hardly read books and it is a bad habit I am trying to flush out of my system. The one I have read is Gifted hands by Dr. Ben Carson.
Finally I am a simple, gentle and loving person whom many people want to be with but above all I fear God. I cannot finish this profile without mentioning the care and love I received from my parents and their efforts in making me what I am today, they are the best. Presently I am serving my nation that is NYSC (National Youth Service Corps) in The polytechnic Ibadan, Oyo state Nigeria as a lecturer.
We had 8 students from 4 countries complete a total of 14 books in July. These students were from Cameroon, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, and Nigeria.
Yieh Odette Gwain (Cameroon)
* How to Be Like Women of Influence
* The Unprocessed Child: Living Without School
Magdalene Muthenya (Kenya)
* How to Win Friends and Influence People
Sayid Abdullaev (Kyrgyzstan)
* Unlimited Power
Joseph Philip Abue (Nigeria)
* The Debt Virus
Jechira Paul Jighjigh (Nigeria)
* As A Man Thinketh
* Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Ocheja Linus Lawrence (Nigeria)
* Giant Steps
Osayi Ujunwa Lynda (Nigeria)
* Conversations with God
* Money is Love
* The Cultural Creatives
Obidigbo Chikwado Valentine (Nigeria)
* As A Man Thinketh
* Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Ocheja Linus L. (Nigeria) Level One
Edwin Akpan Joel (Nigeria) Level Seven
(A special Congratulations to Edwin for becoming our 11th IIGL Graduate!)
7 in July
40 enrolled in 2013
14 in July
152 in 2013
7 in July
79 in 2013
Cost of books
$158.21 in July
$1,588.19 in 2013
You Make It Possible
We extend a special thanks to the following individuals and/or organizations who contributed to IIGL last month. Your ongoing support makes this work possible.
Deb Silver (Israel)
Edmee DiPauli (UK)
Deb Rosen (USA/WI)
David Banner (USA/WI)
Janis Thayer (USA.NC)
Lynne Murguia (USA/AZ)
Charles Betterton (USA/AZ)
Corine Wilson (USA.FL)
Lily Ann (USA/GA)
John Hornecker (USA/NC)
Wanda Gail Campbell (USA/AL)
DM Tilley (USA/AL)
Michael Lightweaver (USA/NC)
Margie Tice (USA/HI)
Janae & Barry Weinhold (USA/NC)
Lorin Oswald (USA/WI)
Make A Difference
Dream Team 22
In January 2009 we launched a new idea which blends two previous endeavors: The Master Mind Group and the 22 Experiment. We are calling this Dream Team 22 and our goal is to have 220 people contributing $22 per month. We understand that money is energy and that to sustain and build IIGL we need a lot of people pouring their energy into this endeavor on a regular basis. We also know that not everyone can afford to commit $22 a month – especially our students, who live in countries with economies in which this amount can be equal to a weeks’ salary. So we are offering two options for those who wish to become a part of the Dream Team. One can commit to a $22 a month contribution or to spending 22 seconds each day holding the vision of IIGL becoming financially sustainable by the end of 2009.
Will you join the Dream Team and help us create an energetic foundation to support the transformational work of IIGL? You can really make a difference in the world by making a modest contribution of time or money. To make the $22 a month commitment or a one time donation, click the link below. To become a member of the Dream Team 22 by committing 22 second a day to help us hold the vision, contact Deb for details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Checks on US banks, payable to the International Institute For Global Leadership, can be mailed to PO Box 18909, Asheville, NC. 28814, USA. Contributions may also be made by credit card by clicking the link below. Contributions are tax deductible under the 501 (c) 3 tax code of the United States Internal Revenue Service.
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