Category Archives: Source


What Is Healthy Conflict??

Just say the word “conflict” and you can create conflict! Most people prefer to avoid conflict and shy away from it at any cost because it can be messy! However, relationships, both at work and at home, require conflict. And without healthy conflict, you will get neither the results nor the satisfaction you are looking for, professionally and personally.

First, Why Have Conflict?

Conflict, by definition, is created by opposing needs, values, or viewpoints. Everyone is human with shortcomings and blindspots. Thus there will always be beliefs, perceptions, opinions, and ideas that are in opposition.

Yet, any unit of people — a work team or a family — must learn how to resolve those conflicts. For a team to experience good healthy conflict, the foundation of trust must be laid. Trust is created first by understanding all the communication styles of the individual members. Then the team must implement systems and rhythms of communication within the organization.

All of that requires being able to tackle healthy conflict. If you want to be part of a high performing team, you must expect conflict to be a part of it.

I come from a family where certain members refuse to engage in conflict and have requested that I do not as well. Being outnumbered, I must pretend to be someone I am not to keep the “peace” — which is not really peace at all.

Relationships without trust, and thus conflict, are basically superficial, fear-driven and unsatisfying. Eventually, people who will not address conflict in a healthy way will find themselves inevitably engaged in unhealthy conflict: Back-biting, judging, gossiping, and controlling behavior.

Remember, conflict doesn’t go away. It comes out sideways in forms of rage, sickness, depression, and/or despondency. It destroys intimacy and ultimately all joy in life.

What Is Conflict that’s Healthy?

Patrick Lencioni shares in his book, The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, how teams that engage in healthy conflict know that the only purpose is to produce the best possible solution in the shortest period of time. They discuss and resolve issues more quickly and completely than others, and they emerge from heated debates with no residual feelings or collateral damage, but with an eagerness and readiness to take on the next important issue. (pp. 202 & 203.).

This also goes for your personal relationships as well. You can’t grow if you do not have conflict.

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In my work, I use the concept of healthy conflict in two distinct ways which I will share below. Whenever I lead with the words, “I need to have healthy conflict with you,” what I am saying is, “Our relationship is important to me and I need to say some hard things that you may not agree with and that I am uncomfortable saying to you. I am taking a risk, but the end result and our working relationship is more valuable to me than the way I feel.”

Healthy Conflict in an Organization

Say you’re on a team. You were hired for your specific gifts and talents. Your bosses and teammates need to hear your thoughts and understand your viewpoint. While not everyone will have a vote, everyone should have a voice. If you don’t speak up about something, perhaps no one else will either.

On a team, healthy conflict means initiating a controversial topic or bringing attention to an issue or situation that could be seen as controversial or disagreement. It is the act of passionately with conviction bringing your unique perspective or your “story” to the table in the spirit of teamwork, organizational health, and overall alignment.

It takes a lot of courage to engage in healthy conflict. You run the risk of being wrong, or of making someone else be acknowledged as wrong. That is where trust comes in — to ensure everyone is safe in telling their “story” and bringing their unique perspective to the team. There is no wrong, when the goal is to make the team right.

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody’s not thinking.”- General George S. Patton

Healthy Conflict in Personal Relationships

Healthy conflict in personal relationships requires that you address issues that stand in the way between you and the other person.

It’s especially important to use healthy conflict when someone has done something that hurt you and you can’t get past it. Perhaps their action started out small and you logically can see why they did what they did, yet the pain is there and an obstacle.

For best results, I suggest the “24-hour rule.” The reasons are, first, to let you hot heads cool down and make sure you have thought through the issue. Second, to make sure the quiet folks do not let it fester for weeks, thinking they will get over it in time. In reality, time and trust cover over a bunch of idiosyncrasies and quarks in other people, but if you can’t get over a specific issue quickly then address it.

The Value of Healthy Conflict

When you do humbly and thoughtfully initiate healthy conflict with someone who has offended you, what you are saying is, “I care more about the relationship than I do about my own personal comfort.”  Yes, it demands that you take a risk for the sake of the betterment of the relationship and often times for the sake of the other. We all have blind spots and if we do not have people speaking truth into our lives, how will we ever become better people who are happy, engaged and satisfied?

People are messy. You are messy. A large portion of the population does not think like you do. Trust requires vulnerability and the more open we make ourselves the more inevitable conflict we will have. The art is knowing how to stay present and resolve the conflict, because real people are not perfect. In fact, the way we grow in our emotional intelligence and self-awareness is to to have conflict with trusting people who are committed to our journey to become better…not perfect but better than when we met them.

Do you have a trusted team who will point out your blind spot? If so, thank them today.

Your Coach,


deadly 34

Silence Is Not Golden, It Is Deadly – Clarity #34

You may not realize it, but the problems you are facing right now at work or at home may very well be traced to silence. YES! Silence is deadly. In Week 34 of Clarity we discuss the potential results of silence and how it affects relationships and work environments. For those who have not yet purchased the book Clarity: Focusing on What Matters here is the entire weekly read for you to preview and enjoy.

Silence Isn’t Golden, It is Destructive

taylor silence 34 (759x800) (607x640)We may live in an era of email and smart phones and wireless networks. Yet in virtually every employee survey, communication tops the “needs-improvement” list.

Problems in communication can mean inaccurate information or insensitive comments. But a huge chunk of it fits in the negative category of not communicating information. The lack of communication.

I have a client whose vice president has gone silent. The man is taking days to reply to e-mail messages and voicemails, is forgetting to include subject-matter experts in strategic meetings, and is not making crucial decisions.

My client hesitates to directly ask the VP, who in the past has shot down such questions. So my client finds himself filling in the blanks. He’s questioning his own worth. Am I the problem? Should I start looking for another VP? And he’s not the only one affected. The whole team’s efficiency has halted, deadlines are being missed, morale is plummeting, rumors are flying — all because we have a VP who is unresponsive and “too busy” to deal with the team.

When Silent, People Fill in the Blanks

deadly 34People don’t like “dead air.” You’ve seen it in conversation: people inevitably fill a too-long silence with a comment or question. It’s the same in work and personal relationships, only on a larger scale. People can’t help “filling in the blanks” caused by lack of communication and leadership. They speculate as to why the silence in so deafening. And soon the damage is done.

The truth is, trying not to cause problems by not doing any harm is not being a good leader. It’s abdication. Not saying anything in fear you’ll of saying the wrong thing is not only good communication. It’s cowardice. If you’re not leading, you are following. There are no extra credit points for not doing anything wrong, especially if you haven’t done anything at all.

So take note: You need to use your words! Communicate or pay the price. To the listener silence communicates a lack of care, concern, and value. To the one being silent, you can’t hide, you must face your fear of doing something wrong — and do something right.

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Your Coach,


When Your Values Are Violated This Should Be Your First Response. Clarity #16

These 2 are in my top 5!

We all possess a personal set of core values that drives our lives. It is what some call their North Star or Internal Compass. The way successful people navigate effectively and efficiently through life is by orienting their life around their values. They do not compromise them, they know them by heart, and make every decision with their top 5 values in mind.

Tips To Honor Your Values

When a value is violated there is a prick to your conscience and you know instantly there is something wrong.  At this precise moment you must HONOR that value. How? STOP everything until you know what went wrong.

Stand up for what matters most

You honor your values when you stand up for what you believe is right and do not go along with something that runs against your core values.  Now I am not saying you make everyone else agree with you nor do you have to go into a verbal battle with every person who has a differing opinion. You simply don't back down and, when pressed, you humbly state your position without shame or compromise.

Continue reading

How Gratitude Transforms You / Take the 2012 Challenge

While on a cruise to Mexico, I read a spiritual book called One Thousand Gifts. First chapter in, my list of the 1000 things had begun. It was uncanny, how

just being observant to what is and being thankful for small things (such as having someone else make my bed, the smell of suntan lotion, the white foam on a wave) changed my perspective on things. As I continued to read the book, I kept adding to my list hourly — intentionally looking for things I may not have previously seen as “gifts.” It took me three full days to finish my list and in that short time…

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It Transformed Me

You may argue the fact that I was on vacation or maybe it was the sunshine and the margaritas. I thought the same thing, so I started the list again when I got home. I am ending 2011 with over 500 more!

There is something about having a number as a goal that makes it a transforming game. The discipline of making yourself keep track encourages you to look throughout your day for little gifts that scream gratitude! My list includes everything from my mom’s voice and the steam from my morning tea to the breakdown of the car and the disappointment of a cancelled trip. Even the hard and stressful things you experience take on new meaning when you look at them with new eyes.

Why Leaders Struggle

People rarely leave jobs where they are appreciated. When there is a genuine appreciation of a person’s talents and contributions, there is low turn over, better outcomes and greater efficiency. Leaders primarily struggle with gratitude because they have already moved on to the next challenge. Their mind is moving the ball down the field to the goal line. Thus, they forget to vocalize their appreciation or recognize what good is happening all around them, because they are already down the road to the next fire.

Consider the firefighters who put out a huge fire. As they are dealing with the last of the hot embers and beginning to clean up, suddenly another fire breaks out across town. Leaving a clean-up crew behind to finish the job, they race across town and save a child just in the nick of time. Of course, they are held up by all the media attention and reporters; thus they return to the firehouse pumped up on adrenaline ready for more. What are the chances they go back to the clean-up crew and thank them for what a great job they did? It’s not that they are not grateful, they just got busy doing another life threatening feat.

What We Want From Our Leader

We want our leader to be out in front taking on challenges, putting out fires, and fixing what’s not going right. That is their strength and unique ability.

AND we also want them to take a few moments to reflect on what has been successful thus far, vocalize their gratitude for the diversity of talent and contribution of their team, and celebrate progress being made along the way.

It is usually not a natural thing for a leader (although wonderful when it is) to be intentional about vocalizing their praise and appreciation. Yet, it is transforming when they do. It transforms them as a leader and it absolutely transforms the people and the culture. Let’s be honest: it will only happen if there is intentionality. If you want it to work, it requires a measurable goal to track to with a meaningful return.

Therefore, I am going to help you be the best leader and person you can be with the True Life Leadership Challenge of 2012!

2012 Challenge

I’m inviting you to join me in identifying, naming, and writing down 2,012 things you are thankful for during the year of 2012. It is only 38 per week or 167 per month. For goodness sakes, it is less than six a day! AND this is a leap year, so you get an extra day to think up a few more. Get yourself a small journal that will capture your 2012 items. Or do what I do: turn my journal upside down and start from the back. It is larger so it holds three columns of 25 each.

Who Is In?

If you are in, I’d like to know below. I want to follow your success and learn from your list. Your gratitude items may help me look for something I would have missed otherwise. Come on, you busy people, it’s less than six items a day! This project has even inspired me to start a daily email “quote of the day” so I will remind you. (Besides, you can always get caught up as it is only 38 per week and there is always the four-day weekend at Thanksgiving if you fall behind!)

The transformation only happens, though, when you are consistent. Being consistent forces you to change your perspective and look for things that you would usually pass over. So join in and be accountable! Let me know below if you are in — and list your first six things to see how easy it is to get started. Let’s use the hashtag #2012thx on twitter and I would love to see you randomly post a few on our facebook page.

Maybe at Thanksgiving, we can share our transformation stories. I can’t wait!

Your Coach Is Grateful for You!