Leading Out of Drama

How Compassion Cures Viruses

Viruses are invisible, but the impact isn’t. A friend of mine who had Coronavirus said that after the initial headaches and body aches subsided, the most distressing symptoms were loss of taste and tingling in various parts of her body. I’m grateful that she has recovered and is doing fine now. Some aren’t so lucky.

Then there are the relationship and cultural symptoms. Fear, denial, blaming, grief, discord within communities and agencies trying to determine the best next steps. Each of us is struggling with our own strategy for dealing with this invisible virus, and how to have conversations with other about those decisions.

My daughter is getting married in less than two weeks. I’m sure you can imagine the conversations we’ve been having!

How do we reconcile the raw human side of this with our personal and collective responsibility to each other in community? How do we honor the fear while helping empower? How do we maintain our boundaries when someone else has a different standard? How do we keep channels of communication open with people who have vastly different views about what’s going on?

I’m grateful for Compassionate Accountability and the tools we’ve developed at Next Element for just these types of situations. Jamie Remsberg wrote a terrific personal account of using our Compassion formula to engage our clients around tricky boundaries. I encourage you to take a look.

We will have a vaccine before long. And while that might cure the Coronavirus, it won’t cure drama. It won’t change the challenge of having productive, healthy conflict. It won’t change the fact that leaders must facilitate safe spaces where employees can come together and solve the biggest problems for the future.


We built The Compassion Mindset and Leading Out of Drama just for this. Give us a call to upgrade your compassion skills and cure the drama virus today!

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Safe Doesn’t Mean Easy

I originally posted this article in 2017. Today, more than ever, we need to engage in difficult dialogue in safe ways. So I am revising and reposting my article for today’s challenges.

Is it reasonable to want a safe environment in which to live and work? Of course! Emotional, psychological, and physical safety are necessary if we want people to trust us, give their best and be transparent with us.

Don’t confuse safety with comfort, though. Safety isn’t always easy, especially during conflict.

It’s possible for me to be angry without threatening you.

I can disagree with you without undermining your dignity.

I can ask more of you without undermining your capability.

People can enforce boundaries without compromising safety.

When I disclose my pain you don’t have to take it on.

You can’t export your feelings to me. Neither can I export mine to you.

My feelings and behaviors and values are 100% my responsibility.

(more…)

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Compassion Re-Imagined for 2020

2020 will be a year of great challenge and great opportunity. Division and drama are at an all time high. Globally 85% of workers are not engaged or actively disengaged at work. Yet everywhere we travel around the world, leaders tell us they are craving positive connections and authentic relationships. They are tired of the drain and want their energy back! They are looking for a better way. (more…)

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Top 10 Fake News Stories of 2019

Top 10 Fake News Stories of 2019

The drama mavens would prefer that you to believe these fake narratives because they keep you small and afraid and willing to accept anything.

  1. Overnight success is just a click away
  2. Power builds safety
  3. Difference is the enemy
  4. There’s not enough to go around
  5. My beliefs are better
  6. Vulnerability is weak
  7. Life is a competition
  8. You don’t need anyone else
  9. Other people can make you feel good or bad
  10. A better phone camera will make you more popular

The Struggle Is Real

Struggle is not a bad thing. Conflict is not something to be avoided or used as a weapon. Diversity is not the enemy. Life isn’t supposed to be easy and fit into neat categories.

Compassion Headlines You Can Believe

Compassion is the practice of demonstrating that people are valuable, capable, and responsible. Compassion fosters connection, innovation, and purpose. Here are some news stories you can believe.

  • There’s a positive purpose for diversity
  • Conflict is natural and produces energy
  • The purpose of conflict is to create, not destroy
  • Connection, not division, is the key to our strength and survival
  • Vulnerability requires courage and builds trust
  • Leadership is about leveraging diverse gifts towards shared goals
  • There is plenty to go around when you adopt an abundance mindset
  • There are no shortcuts
  • You are 100% responsible for your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors
  • A better phone camera will reveal more of your imperfections

What if you embraced these true compassion stories for 2020. How could your life and your relationships change? How much better could you become as a leader?

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2019

With The Compassion Mindset Course you can stop the drain of negative workplace interactions turn that energy into greater connection, engagement, and productivity.

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Leadership and Manipulation: Donald Trump Case Study, Part 2

What’s the difference between leadership and manipulation? This two-part series explores this very question using Donald Trump as the case study. In Part One I introduced the topic and shared three of the six tactics that skilled manipulators use to get what they want. Here are the other three, along with positive leadership lessons. (more…)

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Leadership and Manipulation: Donald Trump Case Study, Part 1

I get a lot of requests to write about Donald Trump’s personality. Let’s start with an update to two articles I wrote in 2016 during Donald Trump’s campaign for president.

Trump is good. I mean, really good. When it comes to imposing his will on others, without their awareness or permission, Trump is one of the best I’ve ever seen in this generation. Webster defines manipulation like this:

Manipulation is to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage.

(more…)

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The Difference Between Mindfulness And Compassion

I admire self-aware, centered people who just seem to have it all figured out. And, sometimes they drive me crazy when they don’t DO anything about it. They act like being mindful is enough, all by itself.

Mindfulness is a powerful practice to gain awareness, accept and manage emotions, and get centered. It helps you turn and face internal experiences with openness and curiosity instead of judgment. (more…)

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Mis-Communicable Diseases

Mis-communicable diseases are illnesses passed from person to person through miscommunication. That’s because miscommunication infects people with negativity; inferiority, guilt, shame, and fear. Forget the basic cases of not understanding each other. I’m talking about getting hooked, and the next thing you know, you’re under the weather. (more…)

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Blinded By The Light

My youngest daughter had a car accident the other day. On her way to school, she turned East onto a busy road leading to the high school and was blinded by the sunlight on her windshield. This time of year it’s brutal at 7:50 AM. Afraid to stop, but unable to see, she rolled down her window to get a better view. Just then she rear-ended another student. It was her first accident. Thankfully no one was hurt.

What a great opportunity to practice some of the compassion tools we teach at Next Element.

Start with empathy and validation

The first and most important thing to do is provide emotional support. Few things are more embarrassing and frightening for a teenager than a fender bender in front of her peers.

The most important message my daughter needs to hear from me is “You are worthwhile.”

Before getting to the details or ramifications, the most important thing to let them know, “you aren’t alone,” and “your feelings are OK.” Hear them out and make sure to avoid judgment.

Be curious

Of course I wanted to know the details. What happened? Who’s fault was it? Were you wearing your seatbelt? There’s nothing wrong with asking questions as long as you are curious. If the other person perceives that you already have a conclusion in your head, they will be defensive. If you are trying to blame, trap, or accuse them, it won’t go well.

The most important message my daughter needs to hear from me is, “You are capable.”

I was surprised by how quickly my daughter started problem-solving how to deal with the sun problem in the future. Learning from mistakes can happen when show empathy and are curious.

Natural consequences without judgment

There will be consequences. Every action has consequences. Most likely our insurance rates will go up. If we choose to fix the damage to her car it will cost time and money. The best consequences are natural ones, not imposed ones. What most people think of as punishment is punitive consequences with the intention to cause pain. The danger of type of consequence is that if the other person perceives contempt or judgment of them as a person, the consequences are much less unlikely to have a long-term positive impact.

The most important message my daughter needs to hear from me is, “You are accountable.”

So the real questions become, “How will we share responsibility for consequences?” “How will we work together to take on this new burden and make things right again?” “What boundaries or commitments need to revisited?”

Unfortunate things happen. How we respond can make all the difference.

Copyright 2019 Next Element Consulting, LLC


Finally, a practical methodology for applying compassion in every interaction. Learn the mindset and skillset in our new 2-hour webinar course.

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Taking A Digital Holiday

Like many families, ours struggles with the insidious, addictive allure of electronic devices. Our smartphones are with us at all times. When we aren’t holding them, they sit within close reach so we don’t miss an incoming snap or text. Sometimes it seems we are connected to everything…except the people next to us.

This holiday season more than ever I am looking forward to spending quality time with my family. Two of my daughters are in college, so time at home with them is more precious than ever. I want to find a balance between healthy use of our devices, and quality time together. Here are three strategies I am going to try this holiday season. (more…)

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