Rebel Human Resources Podcast

RHR 135: From Conflict to Courage with Marlene Chism

January 17, 2023 Kyle Roed, The HR Guy Season 3 Episode 135
Rebel Human Resources Podcast
RHR 135: From Conflict to Courage with Marlene Chism
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Unresolved workplace conflict wastes time, increases stress, and negatively affects business outcomes. But, Marlene Chism writes, conflict isn’t the problem—mismanagement is. The author, advisor, speaker, coach, and CEO of Marlene Chism Consulting’s new book From Conflict to Courage: How to Stop Avoiding and Start Leading  details how the “three A’s”—aggression, avoidance, and appeasing—are common yet destructive ways humans avoid the emotions triggered by conflict.  

Chism’s book provides exercises, examples, and expert guidance to foster “conflict capacity,” stop workplace drama, and deal fearlessly with difficult issues head-on. Her techniques show leaders how to increase leadership clarity, identify obstacles, and reduce resistance to conflict.  

When leaders see conflict as a teacher, courageously face it, and continually work on transforming themselves, Chism says, they can get the resolution they are seeking and can change minds.

About Marlene 

From Conflict to Courage is Marlene Chism’s fourth leadership book; see her other works here.

She is a seasoned speaker, thought partner, advisor, coach, author, and widely recognized as the leading US authority on stopping workplace drama. She is CEO of Marlene Chism Consulting, which offers a comprehensive suite of consulting services to businesses and leaders. Marlene has a bachelor's degree in communications from Drury University, and a master’s in human resources development from Webster University.  She is an advanced practitioner in Narrative coaching. See her business page here, LinkedIn here, Twitter here, and YouTube channel here.

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Marlene Chism:

The story that's been resolved no longer needs to be told, and you can only coach a regulated person. So what that means in our world of whether it's HR or coaching, we have to first hear people and understand narratives and how they work. So if you're hearing the same complaint over and over, it's not at that point about the facts. It's about hearing that person and listening to their narrative, so you can see what's unresolved.

Kyle Roed:

This is the rebel HR Podcast, the podcast where we talk to HR innovators about all things people leadership. If you're looking for places to find about new ways to think about the world of work, this is the podcast for you. Please subscribe, favorite podcast listening platform today. And leave us a review revelon HR rebels Welcome back, rebel HR listeners extremely excited for the conversation today with us. We have Marlene Chisholm. She is the author of a brand new international award winning nominee. Book from conflict of courage, how to stop avoiding and start leading, we've got so much to talk about. Welcome to the show. Mark.

Marlene Chism:

Thank you so much for having me.

Kyle Roed:

Well, extremely excited to have you here with us. We also have Molly Bradesco, thank you so much for joining us, Molly.

Molly Burdess:

Absolutely.

Kyle Roed:

I am really excited to dig into the book. But the first question I want to ask you is what motivated you to write a book about conflict, moving into courage?

Marlene Chism:

My first, my first desire was to write a book about performance conversations, difficult conversations about performance and behavior. Because I've been doing that work for a long time. In fact, I'd worked with an organization in their leadership academy and developed what I call the performance conversation model, which is now a blueprint in the book I have now. But my first pitch, he asked why a couple of reasons I've been doing the work for a long time, it wasn't really about the overview of conflict so much, it was about one particular piece of conflict. And I had been seeing in organizations, it was COVID. So I thought, I gotta use my time, maybe maybe a book publisher will reach out to me, I know, that is a crazy concept, because normally you have to run after bam. But it actually happened that way. I just had an intuitive feeling that it would happen. And so I went ahead and wrote a book proposal. And it was on difficult conversations. I rewrote the proposal three times. And they said, Would you mind making it bigger, like conflict, and that's just a part of it. And it really challenged me and I was so excited, because I knew that I was onto something bigger with the conflict in our world right now, the conflict, we all feel personally the disconnect that's going on. So for me, it was a combination of I wanted to do something during COVID, I had an intuitive hit. And I've been working on difficult conversations and realizing through my work, that almost every big problem that even lead to litigation, or a lawsuit can be traced back to a conversation that should have happened, but didn't. And in that there's other parts of conflict that people don't notice. And so I wanted to write about that.

Kyle Roed:

I think it's such a critical topic. And if anything, it's one of those areas that especially HR professionals, you have to figure it out, if you don't figure it out, you're either going to be miserable, or you're not going to be effective, in my opinion. And I think, you know, to your point, the timing certainly is right for the book with COVID and everything going on. But if anything, I think the the awareness of conflict management is just it's just more it's more prevalent now. Because we were looking at it more, but it's always been, it's always been an issue. So so as you prepare to write the book, and and, you know, as you were doing some of your work in your consulting, business, where did you? Where did you start with, you know, how to approach this, this challenge that we all face on a regular basis.

Marlene Chism:

One thing that came crystal clear to me because when you write a book, you dig deep, and you meditate, and you watch and everything just comes to you when you're really in the flow. And I started realizing that part of the problem is we lack an awareness, we mismanaged conflict. So I say that conflict is not the real problem. The mismanagement of conflict is the real problem. I can go off on a lot of directions with that. But what I can say about one avenue is that one way we miss manage conflict is that we don't realize that there is no conflict unless there's first and inner conflict. And that's what makes us avoid. So if I need to talk with someone, but I'm afraid to hurt their feelings, or I'm afraid politically, my manager won't support me. Or if I feel like I won't get this deal. If I talk to someone or I talk to someone about me, then they won't like me as much. I'm now already in a conflict. It's mostly about me, because I'm not clear and I'm not resolved in what steps I need to take. So until we understand the inner journey, we will never be able to resolve conflict.

Molly Burdess:

Wow, that's deep, but I'm

Marlene Chism:

not a person. I think deeply,

Molly Burdess:

it makes a ton of sense, though, of your favorite. Yeah, I couldn't agree more. And I love that you, you know, the title of the book conflict occurred because it truly is it takes courage to identify that and be aware of yourself before you can even have that conversation.

Marlene Chism:

Yeah. And I jokingly say, I can have conflict without anybody else even being in the room. You know, like, should I shouldn't I, but if I do this, and we try to be strategic, and we we say things like this, well, I already know what they're going to say, you know, and so that's our way of avoiding, because we already know what they are going to say. But what we don't realize is that, while we're saying I just don't want to hurt their feelings, they might cry. The real root of it is I don't like how I feel when they cry. It's really not about them crying, they have a right to cry, they have a right to feel upset, they have a right to feel and be anything they need. But I'm rescuing by saying, Well, I just sit there two weeks, so I am going to not speak up. But the reality is, I'm the weak one, because I'm afraid of how I feel when they cry, or when they lash Harold.

Molly Burdess:

So I mean, I'm just thinking of that. And how do we overcome that I'm thinking on my mind initially goes to first of all self reflection, right? And then just really being vulnerable with our feelings. Is there more to it? Or how do we overcome that piece?

Marlene Chism:

I think realizing it is the first step. So what I'm working on my keynote right now, and I'm thinking, the very question you've asked, so how do I know whenever it's my inner conflict. So the first sign is discomfort. If there's discomfort, it means that I might be divided about this, on some level, I'm thinking it through, like how's this going to land, what politically, you know, what's going to happen, you know, politically in the organization, what can be the outcome, the downfall, we're doing all of that. So the first step is just recognizing your own discomfort. And what I talk a lot about in my work is really seeking alignment. And what I know about alignment is you can't have alignment unless you're clear first. So you have to have a set of values, you have to have some goals and outcomes. And so when everybody says, Oh, we're gonna align, we're gonna align align to what? And so my definition of leadership is that if leadership's about anything, it's about alignment. And alignment is about focusing energy, but you can't focus energy if you're not clear where you're going.

Molly Burdess:

Yeah, that makes a lot of fun. Yeah. So you, you identify that discomfort, and you're felt, and then what, what's the next step was first thing

Marlene Chism:

is you try to like I talked about leadership clarity. So you have to get clear about not only the situation, the desired outcome, and the obstacles, real or perceived, if you cannot do that you can't resolve conflict. What happens for me as a consultant is maybe there's some conflict that's been brewing, now we're seeing the evidence of it, it's been there, maybe for a year or two years, and now we're seeing the evidence of it. And I'll get a call. A lot of times, it's been delegated down, we want to find out how much you would charge for a workshop. And what that tells me is someone's decided that there's a fix, and it's a workshop for the employees. And if we can all have a team building, then they won't have this conflict, we won't be in this lawsuit. And that's trying to fix a problem through a process versus establishing, what's the situation? What's the outcome? And what are the obstacles real or perceived. Because if you don't have those three points of reference, you can't really solve any problems. So I do see people reaching out to me wanting to solve a problem with a solution they think, will fix it, because I've written a book or something like that. So it's really about leadership, clarity, what is the situation? In other words, what is happening that should not be happening? What is not happening that shouldn't be happening? What are the facts, where we get messed up is the feelings in the story that we've got about it? Well, they're just not a good worker, and they don't care and they're not engaged. So the question is, the evidence of that, and then after that, it's what if you cannot answer this question, you're not clear on this situation? What are they not doing that they should be doing? Or what are they doing that they should not be doing? Or what is happening, that should not be happening? Because if you can't say that in clear language, without a lot of drama and story, then you're not even thinking properly yet. So you have to understand the process is about getting out of the feeling brain for a moment, and there's a time for the feeling, for sure. But I always say knowing your feelings won't change the facts. But knowing the facts can change your feelings. And when you change your feelings, you change your experience. So it's all it's all relatable, but where do you start? You start with the situation, what's happening, that shouldn't be happening, what's not happening, that shouldn't be the facts. That's where you start and once you can adequately define that in a paragraph or two, then it's like okay, well, what's the outcome we want in one week? Five years, whatever that point in time is where we get stuck there is Yeah, but that won't happen because our I already know how they feel or I tried that we get stuck in the How to and the obstacles in The distractions. So when I'm coaching that I'm saying, it doesn't matter whether it's possible just yet, it doesn't matter whether or not you tried that just yet, it matters for you to say what you want. And once you do that, now you have two points of attraction, it creates a dynamic tension. And from that now we can talk about all these obstacles and distractions. But what I've learned is that if you can clearly define the situation and the end result, sometimes those obstacles go away. Because now you have more clarity, you don't have it when you're all in your emotions and what someone did and what happened three years ago, and why it won't happen again, and I'm gonna go to HR, like, it's not going to happen from there. It will not happen from that place.

Molly Burdess:

Yeah, absolutely. I always say, you know, when people don't have all the information, or when they're the lack of information, people make things up, usually stories in their patent, something that start so mall, and it becomes to be this big, big issue. And if we would have just kind of what you're talking about, focus on the back focus on the evidence, it probably wouldn't have escalated to that right? And there would be no issue at all. For Yeah, I can completely relate to that.

Marlene Chism:

Yeah, and I took a course a several years ago in narrative coaching, really enlightening, that your story is the source of your suffering. problem isn't that you make up a story we all do. That is how the human brain is going to work for meaning making machines were designed to come to judgments and conclusions and use our experience. And I get so tickled when everybody's pointing at Look, you're so biased. We all are. Let's just own that and get rid of that conversation. Like that's not a question. Sure I am. Absolutely, I can't help but be from my background, my skin color my age, my I cannot help but be biased. But if I'm aware of it, I can question my story. And I can shift my narrative. And then I can see new things. But we can't see new things that were stuck in that whining everybody else for being biased. So that your story is the source of your suffering. And the story that's been resolved, no longer needs to be told. So if I'm complaining and complaining and complaining, whether it's personally about my divorce five years ago, and how I was done wrong, and I can't trust the other opposite sex, or besides X, whatever your situation is, if I'm still complaining about I haven't resolved it, so I still have inner conflict. The story that's been resolved no longer needs to be told, and you can only coach a regulated person. So what that means in our world of whether it's HR coaching, we have to first hear people and understand narratives and how they work. So if you're hearing the same complaint over and over, it's not at that point about the facts. It's about hearing that person and listening to their narrative. So you can see what's unresolved.

Kyle Roed:

So powerful. I think it's such a powerful topic to talk about. And in, you know, I think the honest, the honest truth for many HR professionals in this scenario is, a lot of times we suck at this. Right. And and many times we're people pleasers. Most of us get into the profession because we're quote good with people, or we like people or, you know, and we want to try to just smooth things out. But so often, and this is, you know, I'm and I'm reflecting personally on this, so often we go into these discussions dysregulated, because we are believing the story in our head, about what's what a situation is, or you know, and after being in the profession for a number of years, I fall into the trap of Well, the last time this happened, this is what the situation was, as opposed to actually taking the time to understand the those individuals perspective and it's in it's a gut check that if you're not walking through this, I can tell Marlene, you're like, oh, I want to talk all about this. It's such a gut check to make sure that you are not dysregulated in that moment, as the person that is supposed to be helping. It's

Molly Burdess:

not only not not only helping, but I mean, I'm just sitting here thinking like HR, we really have the ability to change and shift and lead our culture of how we handle conflict. And I would agree Kyle, many of us do go we're not very good at this not taught in school, we are very much people pleaser. So it's concerning but also I look at it as a huge opportunity for HR professional.

Marlene Chism:

I mean, I stumbled onto it, you know, I'm not special. I stumbled onto it by building communication skills type training, looking at my own conflict, digging deep building the difficult conversations, performance conversation module, you know, model that I have to help leaders have difficult conversations about performance and behavior, then conflict, it got bigger and then obviously if you really want your work to matter, if you write a book on something, you have to challenge yourself to everything you say. So do I do things perfectly? No, I'm a better coach. Sometimes. for someone else, because I'm not enmeshed in the feeling in the story, but when I'm in this, I still struggle sometimes to so I want people to never look at anybody as a guru. Look at someone's sincere ability to try for themselves and to have compassion for someone else that isn't good at it because nobody's good at and all the time, including me, and I've written a book on it. So I always have a little bit of trepidation when I give my book to someone, because maybe I showed up as a little bit insensitive or aggressive, that tends to be my style more as I get kind of intense. And I'm more aggressive. And I talk about appeasing avoidance and aggression is ways we miss manage conflict, the way I mismanaged it is aggression at this point, it used to be from avoidance. But I've learned that the pendulum swings when you learn new skills. And once you see avoidance, you just can't stand it. And if you've been appeasing, you're like wow, that's out of integrity, then before long, you think you've got it fixed. But what you're doing now is hitting people between the eyes, and not meeting them where they are, and softening it, setting the stage for setting the right intention, making sure that you're calm, making sure you know how to course correct and say, You know what, I'm getting overly passionate, and I can feel that I'm not being fair, right now, because I just am so opinionated on this based on my background, let's reset. Let's talk again tomorrow. My intention for this is for us to resolve not to win. And so once you learn how to keep resetting and resetting, it's really it's never about being perfect. It's about always being willing to grow. And to be humble in that journey. And I think that's the hardest part. And especially I fall into that trap. Because I've written a book, it's easy to buy into your own BS sometimes. So like, I'm just trying to say I do the best I can I live it to the best of my ability. And I'm sure that people could write a book on my flaws.

Kyle Roed:

I think we could all say that, right? Yeah. I think such an important point. I love how you said nobody's a guru. And I can't I couldn't agree more I hate any buddy who claims to be an expert at anything related to people. Because the reality is it doesn't that does not exist. Nobody on this earth is an expert in all things, people. That's it, ever.

Marlene Chism:

That's fine, just about the inner game, because this is my philosophy on the work that I do. And why I'm willing to share certain challenges that I've overcome or certain challenge that I'm still having occasionally. Because I come from this place of if I feel this way, if I'm challenged this way, if I make mistakes, when I'm tired and hungry, I bet at least a million or 2 million people also do it can't be done. I'm so special that I'm the only one that has this weird disorder or way of being. Right. So like that kind of levels, the playing field to go, oh, you know what? I've just struggled with all this dark side of myself. I bet lots of other people do too. And they don't want to admit it. So what if I can overcome that and talk about how I did it? Like, to me, that's where I get my writing is like I work through this? And I know what it is? I know because I've been there and I have compassion for it.

Molly Burdess:

Something you said to that that was very powerful was go into it with the intention to resolve not when. And I think if all of that when we go into conflicts and think about that, that that intention, I think conversation will look a lot differently.

Marlene Chism:

Yeah, I don't know if you've seen the book yet or not. But I have a visual and it's a language also that I use. It's a model a mental model to use that I it's the foundation of almost all my work. And if for anyone that's listening or watching if you were to imagine like a flip chart or a PowerPoint on the bottom left hand, you've got a boat and a little guy in there with some oars rowing. At the upper right, you have an island and in the middle you have a shark. That's your leadership, clarity was situation outcome obstacles, the shark is the obstacles. So we're always going to the island called something I need to be right. The island called that's not fair, the island called verbal ping pong, and I'm going to win or the island called results and outcomes and values. We're always heading to some outcome whether we know it or not. We're not always choosing because sometimes we're operating off of unconscious patterns. But we are always creating. So whether we choose something or whether we are operating off of old programming, we are always creating, and people are often quoted as saying we always are at choice, we always have choices, you're making a choice, not necessarily. You know, if you look at psychology, and you look at neuroscience, if you don't recognize the choice, you're not in choice, you're an old programming, you'll still have a consequence. You're still creating, and there is a choice, but if you don't see it, you can't take the choice.

Kyle Roed:

That's fascinating. Yeah, it's really, I mean, it's a little bit trippy to kind of think through that, but it's, you know, it's almost like somebody the other day came into my office and I gave them a, you know, a response, a typical response that I would give and I've probably given 100 Times, and they looked at me and they had this, like, they just felt like something was off. And they looked at me like, you're like in a trance right now. Like, like, like, what are you doing? And so I'm like reflecting on what you just shared. And it's like, I think that's what it was where I was just like, I was just operating off programming. I, you know, I know this algorithm. So this is my response to what I have in front of me. And there what there wasn't a, there wasn't any sort of conscious decision that was made, it was just me, just being whatever I'm programmed to be based

Marlene Chism:

about habits, right, we want to create those with good habits, because then we don't have to think and we can drive or listening to music, and maybe kind of sneak a peek at the phone. I mean, we do those kinds of things, because we develop habits and programming. So we can either consciously develop those, or else they are developed before we turn eight, nine years old, and then they live with this, and we don't, we don't know it until it's revealed to us. And that's why sometimes performance conversations or behavioral conversations heard as because the intention to be bad or wrong, isn't there. It's just that we've, we've compensated by the behaviors, that and thought patterns that we have. And the problem is, is that we trust everything we believe, we never know, you know, could that be the right way to respond to this? Because you'll see things on social media where someone will say something like, what else? Could it be? Except they're just a flaming liberal? Or what else? Could it be prejudiced against me for being a woman that 64? You'll see, what else could it be? It could be 1000 things that a person was in a bad mood, the person never thought it through the person's just used to their programming. It may not be personal and all that because we believe everything. We think it could be no other reason that this, we don't even question it. And I often say that. If you want to look at responsibility, which I'm really about developing responsible workplaces, responsible people, the first part of responsibility is the recognition of choice. If I don't see that, I have a choice to question my belief that I believe my belief, and then that becomes my reality and my narrative. So responsibility is the recognition of choice, I realized that I might reframe this. Now the choice is now that I realized that do I want to take that choice?

Kyle Roed:

Powerful. So I want to dig into this because I thought this was fascinating. And I just kind of, I just kind of like, how you lay this out? So as you talked about choice, you know, as leaders, we all make choices. And one of those choices is how, you know, how do we identify ourselves and you have in your book, you have three leadership identities that are very effective. And, and at least two of them sound kind of nice to me, so. So the so I want to dig into those a little bit. So they are best friend. Hands off, and hero. So So Marlene, walk us through these, these leadership identities a little bit. And I guarantee you that some of us are going to fit into these quadrants a little bit. So yeah, I'm just curious to dive into this a little

Marlene Chism:

bit. And we might even overlap on certain ones. And I just as any author, I try to make things really fun to think about and easy to remember and just kind of go well, I do this and this, but it's not like you're just that, right. But I can give generalizations about it just so you can recognize the patterns. So let's say someone gets promoted, they've been a great worker. And they get promoted, because they've been there the longest, and they applied for the promotion. And they got it, it was seniority based mostly. And they have this belief like I am such good friends with everybody, I'm so easy to get along with that it's going to work out because after all, we're all adults, and I shouldn't have to tell them, they know the rules. And I'll have their back and my doors just going to be opened at any time. Before long that best friend leader doesn't know how to align sometimes with the upper level organizational goals. And then they're telling their employees well, I don't agree with it either. But you know, we all have to kind of they're they're now dividing without realizing it, or they're letting our open door be this gossip train that that's happening. And then they're believing everything they're hearing my the one that they liked the best, or their best friend is now coming in late because they're resentful that that person got the leadership and now they have to make a decision whether to have a conversation, it turns into this exhaustion of not knowing what to do, because you thought that if you were the best friend it was going to work out and it never does not for very long. So that's one example. The hands off leader could be someone that maybe also is maybe this person is at a higher level. I've seen this a lot with like director will not director but maybe vice president level and above. I've seen this belief that I shouldn't have to tell my director what to do. Or I shouldn't have to tell my vice president what to do because they are sort of the CEO of their department. But the reality is if they can't come to you with what is going on and not be afraid of being seen as incompetent. If they can't do that, then you're going to be blindsided with a problem you didn't see coming because of the belief that you shouldn't have to have any hands on to any of the problems and there's a major gap between being a micromanager and a hands off leader and we see that hands off We see that hands off leader. And then finally, that hero leader could be someone that they were a star performer, they did great. They were in sales, they made rain. But now they're a leader. It's not about them making rain anymore, but like, they can't let go that identity. So identity, so nobody is ever doing enough because they are better. And because they need to be better. They don't know how to mentor and put others under spotlight, they're used to being the one in the spotlight. So it's really hard to see someone else excelling and maybe even being better in certain areas. And so therefore, they become, you know, that hero, let me do it, let me take it, I'll get it. And they're not helping because that person's not growing.

Kyle Roed:

It's, it's fascinating. I know, those leaders that like to put on that cake every once in a while

Molly Burdess:

as your talk, and I can like think of through all my, my people.

Kyle Roed:

So So I think many of us probably fall into these, you know, here and there, right? This isn't like a binary like black and white, you know, it's kind of a continuum, right? So, so when we observe ourselves or our leaders falling into these types of, of patterns, how do we use some of these tools, these conflict tools to appropriately address what we see, as you know, kind of a potential future issue.

Marlene Chism:

I think that what organizations need to do is to understand that this happens, and therefore what it really points to is that we need to start building and leadership identity well, before someone becomes a leader. Because if you go from one of us to one of them, the identity is still you know them. So it's hard for me to like be in a different mindspace if if I become a director, but I was a middle manager. And now it's a whole different way of thinking and operating and alliances and whatnot. So I do give tips in the book for anyone that doesn't get development, and I can't rattle those off, you know, like what, step one, step two, step three, but what I can say is that, you have to start shifting how you see yourself in order to be able to lead effectively. And one thing you have to do is get really clear on what value and what values you're going to live by. Because if you don't know that you'll manipulate, you'll go along with things you don't agree with, you'll wonder why you're miserable and can't sleep at night. So you have to look at what your organization's values what what is stated, what is stated on the website? And do they live those? Or do they not? Usually not so much. But look at it, you're lucky if you're in an organization where we this is what we believe in this is we make decisions by this, we reward based on this, if that's the case, it's easier to identify as a leader because you already have values that you can adopt or adapt to. But I also say that as a leader, you have to figure out what are the top three things, you know, what is it that drives your decision making? Is it fairness? Is it you know, is it kindness, fairness, trust? What is it that, like, if you have a hard decision, you can say? But is that trustworthy? Right? Like if I'm gonna manipulate and wink at someone and appease them, that might feel good in the moment, but because I value trust, and I know that it'll come back to bite me, I would rather us have a little conflict here and hash that out and feel the feelings I need to feel because in the future, when we have that other opportunity, you'll go nope, I trust this person. So when you live by values, it's really more about opera. It's like alignment versus opportunity. You always go for alignment, you look at opportunity is great. If it's aligned. If it's not, it's not where I need to go. So I think it's really a lot about values. And once you embody values, it's not about memorizing a bunch of tools and techniques. And that's where I find it really kind of stuck in leadership and even like entrepreneurial businesses, where they love all these models that different people Brene Brown and Stephen Covey, and Merlin to whoever. And they start making people memorize all these models. And they're like, I don't know why this isn't working. Well, for one thing, it's a fire hose approach with different kinds of mindsets. And you've got to kind of pick the way you want to lead and alter it to the way that you want to lead because no one's a guru, right. And so my stuff may conflict with something Brene Brown or Stephen Covey, or someone else says, and we may yet mean the same thing, but that can be confusing to people. So you have to kind of create your own ways of doing things as a leadership identity, then it has to be embodied because without embodiment, it's just memorizing and taking a test. And that's where I see it failing.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, I'm definitely guilty of that. I'm thinking about how many HR programs like what we just need to systemize it, then just put it into a, you know, into the appropriate format. But but really, you're right, what really matters is actually using the tool in a way that's helpful for your employees and sampling.

Marlene Chism:

I think the language of the island is so fun for people because we can say, well, we're beating each other with the oars or we've got a leak in the boat or we're going to a different island and that we're not going to the island called that's not fair. You know when you use that it becomes such an embodied way of talking about things without it being blaming or it just becomes kind of fun and people start using that language. So I try to keep things really simple. Because if you don't keep it simple as a way of being people won't do it.

Molly Burdess:

Yeah, absolutely. It's very hard to have a conversation because a lot of the things that these leaders are doing, they're not breaking any rule, the kind of disciplinary saying it's just not the right way of leading within our organization. So we actually did this a few years ago at the leadership team, we sat down and said, Okay, what does it look like to be a good effective leader in our organization and made our own little language for that way, when our leaders know are kind of fallen off, we can pull them back and really to say, threaten, you know, this is not what a leader look like on our team and coach them from there. And that was very helpful for our organization.

Marlene Chism:

It's really brilliant, and you've got everything you need within not that I'm trying to work myself out of business, but you have what you need within and really someone to facilitate that process may be all that you really need, because you already have it. I have asked like I asked one group of executives one time at a retreat, and we're doing what's your highest value? And they all without a doubt, they said compassion. And I said, so what does compassion look like, could not come up with one example. Which means that they don't understand their value. And then someone said, Well, it's really compassionate for the guy who does housekeeping to stock the toilet paper so that the aids can acid is that compassion, though, or is that a form of just their job, it's a responsibility and it's caring. It's considerate, but compassion was different than that. And we have to distinguish when we use these values, not to just throw everything into that bucket. So we can then use it to get on to someone. So that's not compassion, that's part of their job. That's about being responsible. And if that's, if that's one of our values, then they're responsible because they did their job, and they did it correctly. Compassion is the exhausted nurse that let someone else go home early, because they've had an accident, their husbands had an accident or their wife has, has a problem. That's compassion, the person that stays with the patient, even though they already are drained. And there's different ways we can describe compassion as it goes with working with a with our peers to a pension or a client. And then once you start describing that, you start embodying it because you understand it. But if you're just saying it, Nope, it's compassion. It's compassion. And yet there was a nurse, they say, the nurse ether young, well, that's not compassion. If you can't do it on that level, you're not going to do it with your patients. So compassion is a principle that works everywhere, not just in one aspect.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. Such powerful content, I think I really appreciate you spending some time with us and helping us understand a little bit more about conflict and leadership. I do want to shift gears here. I'm fascinated to hear your responses to the rebel HR flash round questions. Are You Ready? Ready? All right, perfect. Question number one, where does HR need to rebel?

Marlene Chism:

Be eBridge. Understand that it's not just about compliance. It's not just about making the executives happy and feeling like you're keeping problems off of their desk, put problems on their desk, speak their language, tell them what the business case is for why you're saying what you're saying and be willing to feel fear whenever they don't like it, because you're doing them a favor, and they'll thank you later. So just rebel in that way. Be be a bridge, be courageous, speak truth to power, speak truth to the middle level. Stop being so afraid of the politics. Yes, strategize, but actually be in integrity with everything you do. And check yourself if you're doing things only to make the CEO happy or only to make an employee happy. Stop moving the pieces around on the chessboard and confront conflict head on.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. Absolutely. So, so critical. And I think a lot of us struggle with that. Right? Especially going back to being a people pleaser. And sometimes that means you're trying to please your your leaders, or your business partners, or your employees. And sometimes, sometimes you need to speak that truth. And that's not always easy. Question number two, who should we be listening to?

Marlene Chism:

Who should we be listening to? Wow, good podcasts like this. That's what we shouldn't be listening. In podcasts like this, I think, you know, expand your knowledge on conflict on leadership. Look, look for subject matter experts, perhaps. Start learning how to form some of your own opinions versus looking at people as gurus. So yes, listen, but the challenge, you know, so yes, listen, listen to me, you know, but still challenge because even if I say something, but it doesn't work for you, there's a reason it's not working. Maybe there's a bridge piece I've missed. Maybe there's something that you don't understand, or I've taken something out of context for you. So listen, but be a critical thinker. Listen to yourself to

Kyle Roed:

great advice. Last question, how can our listeners connect with you and get the book?

Marlene Chism:

Yes, they can get the book on Amazon or anywhere where books are sold. That's from conflict to courage, how to stop avoiding How to Stop avoiding start leading if they're on video. I'm Marlene Marlene at Martin In shazam.com, is my email. And my website is my name Marlon chism.com. I'm on LinkedIn, I have several programs on the LinkedIn learning platform. And so a lot of people connect with me there and I'm very active there. I post a thought of the day or some sort of value or resource every day on LinkedIn so you can connect with me or follow me there.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. And we will have all of those, those links in the show notes. So open up your podcast player, check it out. Marlene, it's just been wonderful to connect with you today. Thank you again for putting this out here. Great conversation.

Marlene Chism:

Thanks for having me, Kyle and lolly. Thanks,

Molly Burdess:

Marlene.

Kyle Roed:

All right, that does it for the rebel HR podcast. Big thank you to our guests. Follow us on Facebook at rebel HR podcast, Twitter at rebel HR guy, or see our website at rebel human resources.com. The views and opinions expressed by rebel HR podcast are those the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any of the organizations that we represent. No animals were harmed during the filming of this podcast. Maybe

(Cont.) RHR 135: From Conflict to Courage with Marlene Chism