Knowing How You Respond to Conflict: Rhino vs. Hedgehog

When a difficult situation arises, what’s your default mode of approach? Are you willing to charge into the conflict, head-first? Or do you just want to curl up in a ball and make everyone go away?

Knowing your tendencies can go a long way in improving your response to conflict in all sorts of relationships. Nicky and Sila Lee, authors of The Marriage Book, offer two pictures of how people deal with conflict: becoming either a rhinoceros, or a hedgehog.

If you tend to be a “rhino”, chances are you’re willing to get aggressive when dealing with difficult issues. You’ll want to ‘have it out’ in a fight, rather than walk away from the problem. A rhino charges straight in, horn pointed and ready to attack.

But if you’re a “hedgehog”, you’re much more likely to want to avoid conflict. When things get challenging, you’ll want to stop the conflict by shutting down. A hedgehog curls up in a ball and sticks its prickly spines out so no one can hurt it.

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How To Have a Productive Meeting

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who lead meetings, and those who dread them. 

Maybe that’s a stretch, but the truth is that most of us have sat through our fair share of meetings, wondering how we’re going to snag another cookie off the refreshment table (if we’re lucky) and how soon happy hour is starting (if we’re not).

The problem with most meetings is that they aren’t productive. They’re often waste our time and fail to accomplish anything efficiently. 

But having a productive meeting is actually easier than our experience would seem to let on.

Whether it’s an office meeting for work, a board meeting of a charity, or a family meeting about future plans and challenges, these simple tips can help you have the most productive meeting possible.

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7 Signs That You’ve Found (or Are) a Good Listener

When is the last time you felt listened to? Truly heard – confident that the other person wanted to understand what you were trying to communicate?

Good communication takes time and skill: not just on the part of the talker, to express themselves clearly. It also depends upon the hearer, who can listen well or poorly.

Sometimes, we communicate to convey information, while other times we communicate to build up a relationship, to reveal an aspect of ourselves to another person.

Good listening, unlike speech, isn’t a skill that is really taught in schools or even in the home. Parents want children to listen, but that often just means “obey.” In adult life, listening isn’t often related to obedience, though. Adult relationships (and relationships with our children) require us to be truly present to another person: a difficult thing in our culture of constant technological distraction and perpetual multi-tasking.

So how do you know if someone has the skill set of listening? How do you know if you’re a good listener? Here are 7 signs to look for.

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No Take-Backs and the 24 Hour Rule

Did your school lunch consist of healthy snacks – apple slices with peanut butter and home-made granola bars? Or were your parents “cool” enough to send you with pre-packaged Cheetos and Skittles? (Or the holy grail of packed lunch, Lunchables?)

I got pretty lucky for the most part – including a year of sugar cereal packed in a plastic container when I refused to eat sandwiches “with birdseed on the crust” as I called it. I was definitely cafeteria queen that year.

That year, I did not participate in the complicated snack bartering process taking place every day over the laminated tables. But the birdseed years? Yeah, those were the years when I desperately hoped to get lucky and emerge from the elementary school market openly gloating over a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos snagged in place of generic pretzel sticks. On those occasions, the “no take-backs!” rule was shouted as soon as the prepackaged goodness hit my hot little fingers.

You made a mistake? You don’t even like pretzels? Too bad! No take-backs! Better luck next time.

Sometimes I find my email making the same claim. Didn’t mean to hit send? Wrong recipient? Reply instead of Forward? Too bad! No take-backs! Better luck next time. Continue Reading

Seven Tips for Improving Communication

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

Whether it’s a good friend, a child, or a spouse, we all have someone in our lives we’d like to communicate better with. Here are seven tips that can help:

|ONE| It takes time. I don’t just mean that it takes a while to move from bad communication to good communication, which is true. I mean that it presumes you have a lot of “margin” time. If your life is rushed, if you are rushed, there is no space for that communication.

If you only really see your spouse for 30 minutes in the evening, during which time you are checking your phones or too exhausted to do anything but watch a show, there is no space. If you only see your teen in between school and violin practice and tutoring, there is no margin time.

Good communication can survive through busy seasons only if time and space are the norm. Continue Reading