The events that occurred last Wednesday at the United States Capital were unsettling. Five people were killed, police were injured, and property damaged. The people who participated in the assault felt justified in their actions while millions in the nation and around the world looked on in horror. How has this event affected your workplace? Are you having constructive dialogue? If you don’t have crucial conversation skills, it is best to remain silent.

In my September 8, blog post, I discussed the book titled Crucial Conversations, by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler. If there ever was a time to review it, it’s right now. In my opinion our leaders, but more importantly, we need to engage in crucial conversations techniques because the stakes are high, opinions differ greatly, and emotions are strong. This is not the time for people to retreat to echo chambers and only listen to those who agree with them. The goal is to find common ground by being a bridge to understanding. Let’s help our leaders create a more perfect union, Good leadership doesn’t always come from the top.

Every morning I pray for humility and empathy. In terms of humility, I ask for the strength to check my ego, to act on Godly principles, to accept truth no matter who it comes from and to see the good in others. In terms of empathy, I ask for help to see through the eyes, hear through the ears and feel the world as others feel it.  It’s difficult to do because there is so much shouting and misinformation. In addition to Crucial Conversations, I reviewed the key points in Dare to Lead by Brene Brown, How to Win friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.   I couldn’t find anything in their books that would help address a situation like the one that led to the spectacle that took place last week because it was unthinkable. Facts have been checked and double checked and yet there are those who refuse to accept the outcome.

Office politics can cripple an organization. Our saving grace is that it is highly unlikely we will face the type of politics that led to the events that took place at the Capital last week.  In work settings mission statements, expectations, performance reviews and soft skills (emotional intelligence) are the guard rails that keep an organization on track. An organization stays on track when it is resilient, inclusive and operates in service to others. Self-serving organizations are not sustainable.