I was always a bossy little girl. So it was with great interest that I read an interview in this morning’s New York Times of Susan Doeherty, who leads the United States Sales, service and marketing of General Motors. Her natural demeanor was instructive for me as a mediator in these ways. First, she recognized that communication is essential. “It needs to be simple. It needs to be consistent. And even when you’re tired of what the message is, you need to do it again and again, because everybody comes to the table with a different perspective and a different experience”…”On some very key things, people need to internalize it, and they need to own it.” Second, she says, “The best way to counteract coming across as being bossy would be to ask others what they thought.” Third, she sits in a different chair at each meeting, to keep her meetings “dynamic”. If it’s good enough for GM, it’s good enough for me. These are, in fact, essential lessons for mediation. And by the way, does anyone remember a male CEO being criticized for being “bossy”?
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