What’s the most loving thing I can do for myself, for others, for this community, for the earth? What would our world look like if we paused and asked ourselves this before speaking in a meeting, with family, at a rally, or on transportation? I am needing to remind myself of this question frequently in our conflict overwhelmed world, as I make decisions about my communication and behavior.

It would stop the drama triangle* of Persecutor, Rescuer, Victim.  I practiced this recently at a Bystander Intervention training at the Open Table. We role played being the harassed (ouch!) , the harasser (ouch!) and the intervening bystander (careful!) While we might need to step in to prevent injury or further injury, how can we do this in a way that does not further escalate or cause harm ourselves?

The temptation for the intervening bystander, in our attempt to rescue the harassed, is to move into persecuting the harasser. Then the harasser becomes the victim, and we have all simply switched places on the drama triangle. Note: this can take place with groups of people, not just individuals.

Stop, ask yourself “What is the most loving thing I can do?”  and consider your next move to sustain a culture of respect and compassion! I consider this when looking at where and how I can contribute to a culture of respect and compassion in an unusually divided US, including political action.

The basics of communication, like using “I” messages can be a resource. I give a communication model with examples in my Breaking Free from Bias book, also available when you sign up for our newsletter.**

Over a decade ago I was on a long international flight and I wish I would have done more of this. The grouchy flight attendant was targeting two families of different ethnicity than her, possibly bias in action. I thought they were doing a beautiful, loving job of handling their young children on the long flight and told them so.

What I wish I had also done was to write the airline a letter. Today I could have also filmed the incidents on my phone. I could have spoken with the flight attendant privately (not a good idea to do this in front of others if they are a bully!), using my current communication model to share my observation and the effect it had on me and others.

When my leadership coaching client “Jane” was continually interrupted by “Roberta” who had been in charge of an area that had become Jane’s responsibility in her new role, Jane felt undermined. Through our coaching, Jane learned how to have a courageous conversation with Roberta about the effects of Roberta’s interrupting her on herself, their team, and their projects, inviting Roberta to also share her perspective with the intent to resolve the issue. Roberta shared how she had throughout her career, due to racism, had power and responsibility taken away. The two were able to work out ways where they could both step into power and responsibility, supporting each other as well as the team, for more successful results.(expanded example from Breaking Free from Bias)

Pause: What is the most loving thing you can do for yourself, for others, for this community, for our earth, for quadruple bottom line results (people, profit/prosperity, planet, purpose)? 

Leaders and coaches, are you curious to discover more about experiencing a compassionate, reflective yet challenging place for you to further your development and aid you in creating that space for those around you? Apply for a limited number of strategy sessions!

To our success, including building respectful, caring, culturally intelligent cultures where all can unlock their potential,

Marilyn O’Hearne, MSW, MCC, LLC

CQ, Master Certified Coach, International Coach Federation: Unlocking Potential, Prosperity and Peace for leaders, coaches and their organizations through Leadership & Team Coaching, Mentor Coaching and Coaching Supervision

www.marilynoh.com: **Sign up for our newsletter and receive 2 Steps to Greater Impact & Income including how to begin to identify and manage your own bias as well as a “2 Step” for challenging conversations. (bottom of the page, purple box)



PS: *What is the Karpman drama triangle?  I use this in coaching and supervision. It started within Transactional Analysis. My parents were teaching members of the International Transactional Analysis Association; my initial training was through them, and now I am using it in supervision and coaching. I am sure they would appreciate their influence coming full circle.

First published February 14, 2018 and updated