Making Conflict Constructive

Making Conflict Constructive, by Cindy Wofford Braun

The drive-up window at the local coffee shop felt safe. A TV monitor displayed each car that pulled up at the order menu, and two baristas worked the early morning shift. The coffee machines were humming, upbeat music was playing, and the smell of fresh coffee tickled the senses. If a conflict was brewing, it was going to arrive as the next driver pulled up to get their morning fix.

Many years ago, I owned this local coffee shop, and conflicts were rare but memorable. One in particular still stands out to me, and as a person who preferred to stuff emotions in the face of conflict, this experience completely changed my approach.

This particular customer had very specific expectations for two specialty drinks. These drinks had to be hand-made and delivered piping hot, with just the right combination of ingredients and foam milk. For three days in a row, this customer found something wrong and berated my employees until they...
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Mentorship - The Law of Modeling

Mentorship - The Law of Modeling, by Cindy Wofford Braun

Have you ever stopped to think about how many people are influenced by your actions? As a business professional, I like to reflect on interactions I had throughout the day. I often look back and smile at the good behaviors and shudder at the memory of behaviors that I don't want to repeat. This can be an uncomfortable exercise, but I know there are two reasons to keep going: 1) I value personal growth, and 2) I am a mentor to young leaders, and they are modeling their behavior after mine. 

John Maxwell included the Law of Modeling in his book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. In this law, Maxwell stresses the importance of finding role models to emulate. This is more than just reading the books by great leaders, it means we need to identify people in our lives who we can see and hear and look to as an example. Maxwell says, "The most important phrase you will ever hear a good leader say is: 'Follow me.'"

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