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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, November 26, 2016 10:01 pm

Issues ought to be resolved personally

Lisa Green | The Journal Gazette

Communication is the critical core of relationships.

That was clear in a five-day series of short video clips on Interpersonal Leadership, one of the growth tracks offered through the GLSnext app. I recognized some of the speakers from presentations at Global Leadership Summits, an annual two-day conference broadcast via satellite from suburban Chicago every August.

Communication was at the heart of three of the five videos, which ranged from just less than two minutes to less than seven minutes.

The GLS regularly provides short video clips of summit speakers and related leadership interviews. But the growth tracks approach seems new, or at least something I hadn’t noticed before this month in the various GLS emails. Other new topical tracks available focus on Self Leadership, Visionary Leadership and Organizational Leadership.

The Interpersonal Leadership videos – based on presentations over several years – included Elisabeth Thornton, a Babson College professor, author and entrepreneur discussing the importance of maintaining objectivity on teams. The starting point, she said, is realizing everyone looks at projects differently. You have to identify underlying assumptions.

The two videos that most resonated focused on crucial conversations and on collaboration.

Conflict resolution was the topic of the video featuring Vital Smarts executive Joseph Grenny. He’s one of the authors of a popular book about "Crucial Conversations." Those are the ones you dread, usually because there is tension and the potential for conflict or hurt feelings. But often, those things already exist. Crucial conversations – having frank discussions – provide a constructive opportunity to get a better understanding and smooth things over.

The video focused not so much on the importance of leaders having crucial conversations with those they supervise, but encouraging peer-to-peer crucial conversations. Grenny called them the "lifeblood of organizations." Avoiding the tough talks actually builds weakness into organizations.

I often remind others, and admittedly myself, that it’s easy to take issue with something or someone, but it takes courage to take the issue to the individual.

At Vital Smarts, Grenny said, they operate on this principle: "If you have mail to deliver, you deliver it. You don’t ask somebody else to do that."

The collaboration video featured Jenni Catron, leadership coach and author of "The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership."

Catron discussed the key to effective team collaboration and noted she likes to repeat John C. Maxwell’s theory that everything rises and falls on leadership. Catron also said she likes to add onto that: Leadership rises and falls on communication.

"Where communication starts to break down is where you start seeing those rifts and divides in your teams," Catron said.

So true. I’ve seen plenty of times how the lack of communication – even if simply delayed or unintentional – can also cause unnecessary duplication of effort or have leaders and others moving in opposite directions. That’s hardly efficient when most people are so pressed for time.

To keep the right people informed, Catron sees value in meetings, which she acknowledges no one likes. So Catron likes to call them "structured conversations."

Get some lessons from Santa Claus

How cool.

Tips from the North Pole.

A chance to learn from Santa.

Trine University’s Fort Wayne campus, 9910 Dupont Circle Dr. E, Suite 130, is having a free "Lunch and Learn" workshop next month focused on "The Leadership Secrets of Santa." The workshop is noon to 1:30 p.m. Dec. 8.

"Think Santa’s job is easy? Think again," says a tease for the workshop. "Discover how Santa meets these never-ending challenges in this holiday-themed event and how you too can get big things done in your workshop all year long."

Participants will learn eight leadership secrets and 24 leadership actions, and will create an action plan to implement.

Lunch will be provided, but the event is limited to the first 30 who respond, according to a news release.

For more information or to RSVP, contact or 483-4949.

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at