Preparing for Difficult Conversations

Confronting performance problems, giving tough feedback, being candid about smoldering conflicts, delivering bad news: these are the impending conversations that keep you up at night, or that you wake to in the morning. They occupy your mind while you’re trying to do other work. You wonder, “How am I going to bring it up?” Your … Read more

Change Your Self-Talk

Examine your self-talk to be sure it is serving you well. We all have an inner voice that comments on what we are doing, for better or for worse. Psychologists refer to this inner dialogue as self-talk. You are always going to engage in self-talk, but it doesn’t have to be negative. You can learn … Read more

How to Set Boundaries with Difficult People

We can all relate to feeling put upon and irritated by some people, but powerless to stop accommodating them. Though we take issue with their behavior, needs, or implicit demands, it’s not so easy to set limits. We may be uncomfortable with conflict and not want anyone to be mad or disappointed. We may feel … Read more

What Is Defensiveness?

Defensiveness refers to both a feeling and a behavior. The feeling is typically elicited when you feel as though someone is being critical of you, and results in shame, sadness, and anger. In turn, behavior usually results from the feeling, such as being sarcastic, giving someone the silent treatment, or being critical in return. Purpose … Read more

The art of a heartfelt apology

If you’ve been stuck mostly at home with one or more family members over the past year, chances are you’ve gotten on one another’s nerves occasionally. When you’re under a lot of stress, it’s not uncommon say something unkind, or even to lash out in anger to someone you care about. And we all make … Read more

Forgiveness: Letting go of grudges and bitterness

Who hasn’t been hurt by the actions or words of another? Perhaps a parent constantly criticized you growing up, a colleague sabotaged a project or your partner had an affair. Or maybe you’ve had a traumatic experience, such as being physically or emotionally abused by someone close to you. These wounds can leave lasting feelings … Read more

How to deal with people who talk too much

Have you ever been in the Stand-Up Meeting That Time Forgot? That is, a five-minute meeting that seemed to stretch to 15, 20 even 30 minutes—all because of a person or persons on your team who wouldn’t stop talking? How do you deal with people who talk too much? When we think of conflict resolution, … Read more

Equanimity: The Holy Grail of Calmness & Grace?

What Is Equanimity? The word “equanimity” comes from the combination of two Latin terms: aequus, meaning “even, level” and animus, meaning “mind” or “spirit.” Equanimity is characterized by the ability to remain calm, composed, open, and non-reactive in the face of challenging or distressing situations. Luckily, equanimity is not just a psychological trait with which … Read more

The Neuroscience of Trust

Companies are twisting themselves into knots to empower and challenge their employees. They’re anxious about the sad state of engagement, and rightly so, given the value they’re losing. Consider Gallup’s meta-analysis of decades’ worth of data: It shows that high engagement—defined largely as having a strong connection with one’s work and colleagues, feeling like a real contributor, and enjoying … Read more