Principles of Leadership
Family Matters teaches and models a set of communication tools that we call Principles of Leadership:
- Utilizing peaceful conflict resolution
- Embracing positive thinking and language, and
- Illuminating the power of responsible decision-making.
When used collectively, these tools build respectful relationships, support groups in sharing leadership effectively among its members, and provide tenets that guide users in working peacefully and proactively toward the change they want to experience in their own lives and in the community.
Utilizing Peaceful Conflict Resolution
Conflict is a natural part of human interaction. Resolving conflicts with civility and consideration can strengthen the bonds between the parties in conflict and those around them. Peaceful Conflict Resolution provides a structure to settle conflict with civility and compassion.
Peaceful Conflict Resolution encourages us to use conflict as an opportunity to understand perspectives that are different from our own in order to learn and grow from our new understanding. The process encourages us to enter into a conflict with the intent to resolve it -- increasing our empathy towards others and understanding their viewpoints, thereby strengthening our relationships.
Assumptions Driving Peaceful Conflict Resolution
Conflict is a natural and valuable part of our growth. Conflict brings opportunity for new awareness, understanding, and possibilities. It creates an opportunity for us to strengthen relationships and become more effective in our thinking and actions.
Peaceful Conflict Resolution as an approach is:
- Desirable. It is the desired approach to a conflict because it advocates for a safe environment (physically and emotionally), encourages individuals to make more informed decisions about their behavior and thinking, and allows individuals to develop and maintain healthy relationships.
- Honoring. It honors individuals’ rights to share their beliefs with integrity and in a way that promotes a peaceful environment and demonstrates respect for everyone involved.
- Effective. Its long-term effects are beneficial to individuals and to the communities in which they operate.
- Challenging. It can be challenging and fear-inducing because it calls for people to:
Be responsible for their behavior and their choices, which entails thoughtful awareness.
Enter willingly into an uncomfortable situation with an unknown outcome that is partially outside of their control, depending upon the response of another individual.
- Life-Changing. Resolving a conflict generally involves some type of mutual agreement that leads to a change on the part of one or more parties—i.e., a shift in behavior, attitude, awareness, and/or expectations. Sometimes these changes lead to a change in the relationship itself.
Embracing Positive Thinking and Language
Positive Thinking and Language begins with the words and ideas that frame our thoughts and speech. The ways we think and communicate those thoughts are the cornerstones of our behavior and the environment we create. Positive Thinking and Language offers a way of thinking, speaking and behaving that encourages a respectful environment of trust, cooperation, acceptance, and honesty. It enhances the four relationship levels:
- our relationship with ourselves,
- our relationship with others,
- our relationship to the situations and circumstances in our lives, and
- our relationship to the world—our worldview, the way we see and experience life.
Positive Thinking and Language communicates without judging, blaming, shaming and using fear. The tool is powerful because it encourages people to communicate so everyone feels emotionally and physically safe. When we feel safe, we are more inspired to share with and learn from each other. We are encouraged to be creative, critical thinkers and participants in our environment.
Assumptions Driving Positive Thinking and Language
- The language we speak and hear informs our thinking and behavior.
- When we speak and hear ideas often enough, we believe them and act out of them.
- When we believe in and act out of Positive Thinking and Language, the quality of our life-choices, behaviors, relationships and experiences are enhanced.
Illuminating the Power of Responsible Decision-Making
Personal growth entails weighing the consequences of one’s behavior and taking responsibility for the outcome. Understanding Choices and Consequences allows us to set respectful boundaries and encourages critical thinking.
Understanding Choices and Consequences is a process that assists people in setting logical and predictable outcomes for behavior. Using this process encourages people to think critically about options, make healthy choices, and take responsibility for the results. Understanding Choices and Consequences encourages people to think, learn and grow together. Understanding Choices and Consequences discourages punishing, shaming and retaliating against self and others.
Assumptions Driving Responsible Decision-Making
When leaving situations to natural consequences becomes dangerous or inappropriate for individuals, or the community, it is important for community members to step in and set consequences that create healthy boundaries.
Respectful intervention establishes logical consequences that:
- balance personal freedom of choice with the safety and health of self and others;
- create an opportunity for the community to learn and grow in a safe space—one free of shame, revenge and punishment;
- are consistent, predictable, learning-focused and represent the voice, or have buy-in, of the entire community.
When consequences are respectful, they encourage the members of a group to shift their thinking and change dangerous and destructive conduct to behavior that is effective for the individual and productive to a community.