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"Cry, Sis" Management

Fighting_sisters"Don't look at me."

"She's doing it again."

"That's not fair."

"Stop that!"

"I don't like you."

"Moooooom!  Daaaaad!"

Living in a house with two daughters means that there is never a lack of drama.  I know several other dads who have only daughters, and we're in agreement that we're always on our toes.  We're also in agreement that the source of conflict is internal... in other words, siblings make each other cry.  (I know, I know, earth shattering revelation, isn't it?)  And we've also noticed the trend that, in our adult male eyes, 95% of the conflict is utterly irrelevant.

We were having a discussion in my Drake leadership class last weekend about nice people and mean people.  What do you do with somebody who consistently goes out of their way to create drama for others?  How do you handle someone who goes out of their way to make others miserable?  One strategy is to hold a Crucial Conversation with them.  We were fortunate enough to have Shirley Poertner come to class to share a brief overview of the Crucial Conversations technique.  If you've never had the opportunity to hear Shirley address a group, you should; she exudes warmth, confidence and credibility.  Better yet, in an hour she provided my students (and me) with some critical skills for handling the difficult people and situations we all face.  (I can only imagine how effectively wow-ing she would be in a two-day workshop.)  Before Shirley even spoke to my students, I gave them an opportunity to practice handling difficult people.  Using a variation of "speed dating," I posted letters written to the Office-Politics.com site, divided the class into groups, and gave them an hour to circulate around the room and respond to as many of the letters as they could.  The result was kind of interesting:  many of them realized that their own internal work dramas weren't as bad as they originally perceived.  I suppose conflict is relative.  For the conflict that's real, I'd recommend looking into bringing Shirley to your organization to speak.

And it may be time to start having some crucial conversations with my kids, too.


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