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“Voice-It” Spa Talk with Mitchell


Mitchell Berkman Spa & Wellness Director Porto Vita Club at Villa Grande

I took 2 weeks away from work to spend time with myself and my family.  I have relaxed and read 1 Paper Book (Autobiography of Debbie Harry – Lead singer of Blondie-1980’s New Wave Band) and two profound Audio Books (Ruth Bader Ginsberg & Kamala Harris).  I have danced under the stars and watched the moonrise and sunset.  I am again looking forward to returning to work with a renewed curiosity as to what motivates us all to contribute what we do and a fresh ear to hear my staff’s stories as they evolve each day at work.

I look around me and I see signs that we may be at a transformative place in our work/home relationships.  COVID-19 has taught us to be more like a tree that can bend in a storm than a fortress that is built on shifting sands.

I invite you all to refresh your view of the world you have created and see it as it truly is and not only how we perceive it to be.  I have challenged myself to wake each morning and ask myself, “What will I selflessly contribute to someone else’s life today?”  Sometimes, just saying “good morning” to someone walking past me on the sidewalk sends a message that “I see you” “You are a person like me, and whoever you are, you deserve to be acknowledged.” I believe that can start a chain reaction of kindness that will continue long after your words are forgotten.

There were two situations involving my staff members while I was away.  The situations were signs that staff involved had stopped seeing our work relationships with the clarity we are used to in more normal times.  There are lots of disciplinary tactics for dealing with these occurrences, but the fact that they even get to the stage where others need to intervene is a sign of a communication failure.  COMMUNICATION STRENGTHENS OUR OPERATION.

Something’s I learned about conflict while taking time away from work:

I urge you to see the situation from the other person’s perspective.  Right & Wrong are not destinations as much as they are road signs.  When you “KNOW” you are right, look for road signs that confirm you are actually on the right path and heading in a direction that will get you where you want to go.  Emotional arrogance can lead to a place that is not pleasant and unhelpful to solving whatever started the conflict in the first place.

When confrontation begins:

  1. STOP! And ask yourself are you in a clear headed place where you can approach the situation with a fresh curiosity as to why this person did or didn’t do something you anticipated. If not, speak that truth and see if you can discuss it at a time and place where a successful conversation is more likely.
  2. IMAGINE at the start of the confrontation that YOU are the person in the wrong, or at least missing a key clue to the puzzle and I guarantee you will approach the situation from a place of humility and not arrogance.  If you are right, you will have gained the respect of the other person and taken a leap forward in personal leadership.
  3. It will be the hardest part of the conversation.  Try not to formulate your response when another is talking.  Interrupting a person who is currently speaking feeds a forest fire that will continue to burn long after the situation is over.
  4. Whatever the outcome, agree that it has been reached by both of you and you can live with whatever decisions or promises you have made.