Mindful Self Compassion (MSC) and the practice of law


I know a lot of lawyers will think, “Self-compassion? Isn’t that for weaklings?” It is precisely this thinking which makes our profession suffer so much. Thanks to a recent study by the ABA and Hazelden, we now have empirical evidence of how the stress of the legal profession affects us.

Wouldn’t it be great if the act of honing and refining your mental processes through higher education led to being free of  the stress caused by our fight or flight ...

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Poor organizational culture part three: four ways to mitigate the contextual factors allowing bullying


In my last two posts, I talked about how bullying can occur and how we usually deal with it: as though it is an aberration in the workplace culture and, once we’ve found and eliminated the bully, the problem has been solved. But we know bullying occurs because of conditions which allow it to occur.

In Bullying in the 21st Century Global Organization: An Ethical Perspective, the authors describe the sources of bullying in global organizations as a combination of ...

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Poor organizational culture part two: conflict, bullying or harassment?


Some bullying is obvious, some is subtle. Often, organizations want to know if there is legal risk when they are deciding to do something about a problem like bullying. Bullying at work can usually be grouped into certain types, such as threats to professional status or personal standing, isolation, over work and destabilization (meaning failing to give credit, meaningless tasks, removal of responsibility, repeated reminders of blunders, or being set up to fail). It can reach into illegal workplace harassment ...

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Poor organizational culture part one: The consequences of turning a blind eye to bullying, rules violations and rude behavior

What should an employee do if he or she knows a co-worker is being threatened, teased, demeaned, called names, glared at and ostracized? I think we can all answer this question — the employee should report the matter or stand up to the bully. Whether or not they will do so depends on your organizational culture. Does your organization see the value of respect in the workplace? Does your organization live by its values? Bullies can only thrive if leadership ...

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Understanding privilege

Some organizations talk about privilege and have developed a common and shared language around what it is as part of their diversity initiatives. Other organizations don’t yet have a common understanding.

We can think about privilege as:

“Privilege exists when one group has something of value that is denied to others simply because of the groups they belong to, rather than because of anything they’ve done or failed to do. Access to privilege doesn’t determine one’s outcomes, but it is definitely an ...

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Is “nice” a four letter word when giving feedback?

Do you really have to be brutal when delivering feedback to others? Some people think “nice” is a four letter word. This comes from a workplace culture where people are afraid to speak the truth. Instead of looking for a “nice” way to communicate critical feedback, they think there is only the opposite choice — being cruel when giving feedback.

This is a classic example of dichotomous thinking. Dichotomous thinking means thinking of a situation in terms of black ...

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The four steps of authentic communication

Avoid the “post hoc fallacy” of your daily work life

There was once a wise man named Nasreddin, who had a wicked sense of humor. One day, he was observed in his garden sprinkling bread crumbs. A servant asked him what he was doing. He replied, “I am sprinkling bread crumbs to keep the tigers away.” The servant replied, “But there are no tigers within 1000 miles!” Nasreddin smiled and said, “See? It is working!”

Nasreddin was poking fun at ...

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Gratitude and Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

This time of year we are reminded of all we are grateful for, if only because we have a holiday forcing us to stop, reflect and focus on the positive things in our lives (and our favorite pies). Noticing the good things in our lives and work brings balance and positive feelings, and reminds us of all the good there is in our lives.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn gratitude has been associated with well-being, positive ...

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What does your nervous system have to do with conflict?

We all know that our sympathetic nervous system can be triggered if we face a physical threat or danger. Someone shouts at us, we almost get into an accident, we are attacked physically and we go into fight, flight or freeze. This causes our brain to trigger our sympathetic nervous system, release adrenaline and send blood to the major muscle groups and away from the executive functioning part of the brain. Hence, we can run away from the threat.

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Avoiding generational stereotypes at work

We’ve all heard that Millennials aren’t loyal, they don’t like to work hard and they love innovation and change. We’ve heard they prefer technology to people and they can’t stand being told they aren’t perfect. Like with almost anything else, you can even probably find some surveys which state all of these things.

But what is actually true? Since Jennifer Deal wrote Retiring the Generation Gap: How Employees Young and Old Can Find Common Ground, the idea that the different ...

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