September 2012: Self-Care of the Conflict Manager

In this Issue

Opening Remarks

People in leadership roles, especially those who must manage conflict, often neglect their own physical, spiritual and mental health needs. In this edition of Transforming Challenges, Senior Consultant Tom Reid offers some tips on how to incorporate self-care practices into your routine.

At The Reid Group, we have a passion for helping leaders and organizations transform their challenges into opportunities to create a better world. One of the ways we do that is through this e-letter, Transforming Challenges. Is there someone you know who could benefit from receiving it? Forward this edition to them and encourage them to subscribe for themselves. They’ll thank you—and so do we!

The Reid Group News

  • We are pleased to announce that we have formed strategic partnerships with three organizations: Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, and the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management. We believe these partners will be a resource to inform and enhance our work with clients.
  • The Archdiocese of Indianapolis and the Diocese of Peoria have contracted with us for assistance with implementation of their recently completed strategic planning processes.
  • John Reid will lead a Pastoral Centre staff day of reflection for the Diocese of Victoria, B. C. as a follow-up to the recent administrative review conducted by The Reid Group.
  • And on the “good news, bad news” front: We are both happy and sad to announce that Sue Secker has been selected as a new Mission Officer by Providence Health Services in Los Angeles. We will sorely miss Sue and her many skills–our loss is most definitely Providence’s gain.

So as you look at your individual or organizational future, what are your challenges? Could you benefit from skilled support? Give us a call at 206-432-3565 or send us ane-mail to start transforming those challenges into opportunities.

Quotes for Inspiration and Action

The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say ‘I’. And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say ‘I’. They don’t think ‘I’. They think ‘we’; they think ‘team’. They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but ‘we’ gets the credit…. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.
Peter Drucker

We are all broken and wounded in this world. Some choose to grow strong at the broken places.
Harold Duarte-Bernhardt

We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.
Marion Wright Edelman

We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.
Paulo Coelho

I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed: and the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I fail and keep trying.
Tom Hopkins

Feature Focus

Self-Care of the Leader and Conflict Manager


Tom Reid, Senior Consultant,
The Reid Group

In more than thirty years of working with people in the helping profession, we have seen how many “helpers” are better at taking care of other people’s needs, rather than taking care of their own. This is particularly true of those who manage a team or who have to moderate conflict-filled relationships.

Working with difficult conversations, stressful situations, challenging personalities and strong emotions is not easy and can take a lot of energy. Whether as a counselor, an organizational leader, or a facilitator, conflict managers are subjected to repeated demands on their finite resources of time, attention and ability. Whether you are a leader, counselor or facilitator, you must respond to changing circumstances repeatedly.

Where do you get your energy? How do you renew your energy? Practices of self-care and renewal are not selfish. Instead, they are necessary to replenish our energy for the work of bridging divides and working toward mutual agreement.

Practices of Renewal:
Below is a short list of possible practices that we have personally experienced or seen as productive in the lives of others. We offer them to stimulate your own thinking about practices that will work for you.

  • Reading–making time to read material that supports your learning and growth as a human being.
  • Reflection–do you take time to reflect on the events of the day? When was the last time you stopped to take in a sunrise or moonrise? How regularly do you make time for silence?
  • Writing/journaling—do you have a book or notebook that you can jot down your thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams as you notice them from day to day?
  • Music–what kind of music do you like? How consistently do you make time to be still and let the music speak to your spirit?
  • Meditation/mindfulness practice—practices of attention can be relaxing and refreshing. Following the rhythm of your breathing in quiet or in activity can be very rejuvenating.
  • Biking, hiking and other enjoyable forms of exercise.
  • Time spent in nature—going for a walk, sitting by a lake or river or pulling off the road to catch a viewpoint—any of these can be restful and restorative times.
  • What’s missing? What other ways do you/might you renew your energy?

Consistent use of self-care practices, like the conscious attention to your own attitudes and reactions toward conflict, enhance both your personal and professional development. They are also a vital ingredient in successful conflict management. When any of these is out of balance, it takes more energy for us simply to get through the day. When these are in balance, we have much more energy to bring to life’s daily tasks and our roles as leaders.


The Leader’s Edge: Six Creative Competencies for Navigating Complex Challenges
Charles J. Palus, David M. Horth

Let the Center for Creative Leadership show you how you can dramatically improve your leadership abilities in today’s business environment. Based on years of specialized research, The Leader’s Edge outlines six distinct creative leadership skills that, while not traditionally associated with management development, have, nevertheless, proven to be essential to modern business leadership. Here, the book’s authors deliver compelling lessons in paying attention, personalizing, imaging, serious play, collaborative inquiry, and crafting — all competencies that modern leaders should master. They also outline activities for real-world implementation, provide case examples, and suggest ways to avoid common mistakes. A wealth of self-reflections and tools helps ensure your rapid progress.

Love Your Life & Business: 10 1-Minute Life Balance Practices…to keep you sane, confident and on track (e-book)
Sylvia Warren

Love Your Life & Business: 10 1-Minute Life Balance Practices helps you stay sane, confident and on track while navigating surging demands and sudden shifts in priorities throughout your day. This e-book is a must read for super-busy entrepreneurs, executives and nonprofit leaders who want to leverage their time, energy and expertise without sacrificing themselves on the altar of work.

Feature 2

Tips for Successful Searches

John Reid, Senior Consultant

Leadership Searches are an important investment of time, energy and money in identifying the right fit. This means searching for the right persons at the right time with the right qualities and qualifications for key leadership positions in an organization. The right fit also must be with a particular position, in a particular organization, and in a particular leadership structure. This investment when done well pays significant dividends over a period of many years.

At The Reid Group, we identify three key purposes in a leadership search:

  • To conduct the Leadership Search in an effective and timely manner.
  • To identify candidates who are a good match for the particular position and for the organization (e.g. mission, values, priorities, etc.).
  • To help the organization select a high quality candidate (“the right fit”) in a process that respects the organization and all applicants, and is within budget.

In our experience, some of the ingredients of successful searches include:

  • Identifying a large number of qualified candidates, both women and men.
  • Assisting each qualified candidate to “put their best foot forward” by helping them prepare a meaningful cover letter and resume that focus on the fit between their background, experience and skills and the requirements of the position.
  • Assisting the Search Committee to clarify what they are looking for in a candidate and how the interviews with semi-finalist and finalist candidates can elicit how well qualified each one is in light of the expectations.
  • Insuring that the finalists know enough about the position, organization and geographic location so they are in a position to say yes if offered the position.
  • Helping the organization to think beyond the hiring process to transition, orientation and on- boarding so that the newly-hired becomes well-integrated into the organization as a competent, confident and contributing member in a short amount of time.


The Art of Change: Faith, Vision and Prophetic Planning

Think about what your organization could do if the process of planning met the inevitability of change head-on—and it resulted in significant success.

Organizations large and small, religious and secular, for-profit and not-for-profit, successful and unsuccessful, go through change. John Reid and Maureen Gallagher of the Reid Group have been instrumental in helping many groups discover the power of Prophetic Planning. This book presents a complete overview with detailed information that any organization will find useful in understanding how to plan for change.

The Art of Change: Faith, Vision and Prophetic Planning, and its companion CD are now available from Liguori Publications as well as from


And that’s it for this month. Look for Transforming Challenges next month–and until then, have a good day and a great week.
Kathy Johnson, Editor
Transforming Challenges
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