I am honoured to have been nominated as Kingston's Business Woman of the Year.



Thank you

MH900448478There is often one missing ingredient in successful leadership.


Intelligence is important, experience is critical and technical expertise is a must-have but pe

ople with those assets might still underachieve or actually crash the organizational boat on the rocks because those characteristics are not sufficient for exemplary leading.


So what is lacking?


Leadership is a conflict-laden responsibility and the aforementioned resume strong points might help someone rise up the ladder, all the way to the top even but it doesn't necessary guarantee desired  relational and financial outcomes when they get there where the pressure is greatest.


Thriving, much less surviving, requires a strong developed skill set beyond confidence from past success and positional expertise. 


Without that strength in emotional intelligence, leadership is going to be that in name only and not practice. 


Ethics just don't happen in the hands of broken people. Flawed people, yes, broken ones, no. An organization's players, it's potential producers won't respect ultimate authority, buy into mission statements entirely and move as one, as a team down the desired path, showing adaptability and resolve when a leader is disconnected from their people's emotions and basic human interests. The tribe will undoubtedly split.


So in what areas does a healthy leader need to be winner?


Self awareness – knowing how we are feeling and if those emotions are considered effective in working with other people, in their minds as much as ours. If they aren't then, we quickly realize our too-hot emotions need to be managed.


Social awareness – being skilled at knowing how others' emotions are driving their behavior. It is difficult to reach, engage and inspire others if we lack skilled perception, earned by sincerely caring enough to invest with curiosity, pay attention, feel sincere empathy from perspective taking (imagining and working to feel what is is like to be in their shoes) and doing this consistently. 


Empathy – even if it's “not my problem”, this is showing humanity towards our fellow human being 

and our shared human experience with our thoughts, patience and considerate-and-encouraging words. 

You don't have to agree with someone to extend empathy. This can be from giving a little of your time, asking questions, listening closely, meeting them as a fellow human being emotionally, and doing this without expectation of reward.


Emotional and behavioral regulation – we're human and our emotions are not always positive or helpful. When that happens, will we insist on controlling the negative attitudes from our thoughts, and thus our subsequent behavior in a healthy manner?


Drive – in the workplace, taking action, smart action, especially in the face of stress, is a skill. At the root of it is drive. It is emotionally intelligent when it comes from more than just the desire for profit or adulation. 


Relationship management – the manifestation of our emotional intelligence – are we skilled at effectively interacting with others, earning trust and respect so we draw people towards us and not repelling them, allowing for their willingness to become one with the mission and drive progress instead of stagnation or destruction.


Emotionally-intelligent leadership has staying power and will create more loyalty, drive and achieved objectives in the organizations which employ them. 


Hiring smarter and investing in ongoing training increases the odds of a healthier, more productive culture, with the byproduct being an attractive return on investment. 


This new culture will become the standard and self policed, allow for greater vision, idea development and implementation of those initiatives. 



About the Author:


Michael Toebe is the founder of High-Value Outcomes, a company that works closely with people one-on-one to find better outcomes in their personal or business conflicts and negotiations.


business peepsCongratulations on your move up.  When you are promoted it is because you are very good at what you do. A promotion often brings a wider sphere of responsibility, new skills to learn including the supervision of employees.  It might be easier if you didn’t have to contend with employee conflicts and performance issues, but we know that isn’t realistic.

To amp up the pressure the number one reason employees leave their employer is because of difficulties with their supervisor.  In some cases you might be thinking it would be great if they did leave. Unfortunately, many employees don’t leave even if they are unhappy. There are many reasons they choose to stay; pay and benefits, job security, job market, etc.  These individuals may be disruptive, have poor attendance or low productivity making it difficult for supervisors to juggle employee issues and meet their own production deadlines.

There are no quick fixes, but with a few consistent human resource practices you can make noticeable improvements, in morale, attendance and productivity which in turn will make your job easier.


Employees want to be heard.  Listen to their comments regardless how they are delivered be it anger, sarcasm, frustration or even silence.  Find out the underlying reason for the behaviour. Ask questions, but listen more. Take notes that you can reference later.  Spend time with your employees regardless of how busy you are, Listen to them, it will pay off and you might be surprised at what you learn.  A word of caution; don’t try to immediately fix problems/complaints.  Take the time to fact find and discuss with your supervisor and or others who might be affected, before responding. You don’t want to be in a position of having to reverse a decision.


Employees want to know what’s going on within the business.  There is nothing that isolates someone more than being the last to learn about something that affects them, or even worse to hear it from someone outside of their area.  There will be things as a supervisor you have knowledge of but cannot share, be honest and say so.  However, there are many things that can and should be shared. Make a habit of keeping your employees informed.  

Start conversations, get to know your employees; promote and support their interests by learning about their goals and needs. Develop a working relationship.  It is easier to discuss problems and find resolutions together when you know what their needs and constraints are.


Recognize good behaviours in all employees, especially those that behave poorly.  If you look for that glimmer of something well done, you will find it. When you see it; immediately acknowledge and thank them for their efforts.   Recognize day to day achievements even on days when everything that could go wrong did.  For example, I liked the way you handled that case/file/person/project. Thanks for commenting during the meeting, your ideas helped us reach a decision.

A good working relationship with your employees can go a long way to preventing or alleviating conflicts.  Your efforts over time will be reflected in a healthier and more productive work environment leaving you with more time to focus on your work.


About the Author:

Karen Matthews, CHRP, has extensive experience as a senior manager in Human Resources. She has worked in unionized workplaces at both the municipal and provincial levels.  Her experience includes labour relations, performance and attendance enhancement, policy development, training and dispute resolution.

K Matthews Consulting provides human resource services in the Kingston Ontario area.  Karen can be reached at: kmatthewsconsulting@gmail.com



     He is a leader - She is bossy        

    He is honest - She is rude        

He is assertive - She is a B!tch


Have you ever noticed that different language is used when discussing women vs. men in the workplace? I have. Often times women are dubbed as bossy, rude and b!tchy whereas men are described as assertive, a leader, and a straight shooter when demonstrating the same behaviours.
Is it that all women are really just b!tches or is it that we mislabel the assertiveness we see in women?

Recently, I’ve started telling women who are assertive that I respect them for being assertive. Many of them seem shocked at my acclamation and are concerned that they come off as being rude. Wow! What is it about being assertive that many women shy away from? Is it the fear of being perceived as a b!tch? Is it out of fear of actually getting what we want, and the guilt that inevitably comes with that? Or are we unsure how to assert what we want in a positive way?  For many women, the answer may be a combination of all three.  How often do we as mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, friends, and colleagues put others first? I bet many women would answer “every day”.

You may sacrifice sleep for your child’s morning hockey practices or to finish the laundry.  You may sacrifice family time to stay late at the office to finish that important project. You may sacrifice “you time” in order to read a bedtime story to your young child (for the third time tonight).  Every day you make sacrifices for the ones you love but sometimes you need to be able to assert yourself, your needs, and your wants in a positive manner.

For example, you may need to assert yourself when your boss asks you to stay late for a meeting, which you don’t need to attend, and you had planned to hit the gym before going home.  Do you quietly resign yourself to skipping the gym (“you time”) or do you assert your needs? If you would grudgingly show up to the meeting, sit through it bored to tears, and go home none the better for attending, you may need skills for how to assert yourself in the workplace!

How can you develop your assertive skills?

1. Start by identifying your needs and your wants.  Being assertive is about knowing what you want, and respectfully asking for it. It is not about steam rolling everyone, and being bossy. Being assertive starts with self-reflection and knowing what you want is the first step!

2. Once you’ve identified what you need, it is time to ask for it. In order to ask for what you need in an assertive way, follow the three simple steps listed below to create an ‘I Statement’.

I feel… (Insert how you feel)
When… (Insert behavior)
I would like/rather/prefer… (Insert preferred behavior)

Example: "I feel frustrated when I am interrupted. I would prefer the opportunity to finish my thought before moving on to the next idea."

An ‘I Statement’ is an assertive communication tool that can be used by the speaker to help defuse the situation by taking responsibility for their feelings and needs. In contrast, a ‘You Statement’ can be seen as blaming and confrontational. It is the difference between taking responsibility for your emotions/thoughts/feelings, and putting the responsibility on the other person.

3. Practice your new skills with friends, colleagues, and family members. It will help build your confidence as you get used to telling people what it is you want, and how you expect to be treated. Remember, being assertive is about knowing what you want but also about respecting people’s decisions. It is not about control.


Need more convincing that behaving assertively can help you? Here are some benefits:

  • Gain self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Understand and recognize your feelings
  • Earn respect from others
  • Improve communication
  • Create win-win situations
  • Improve your decision-making skills
  • Create honest relationships
  • Gain more job satisfaction

It is time we embrace our assertive sides and recognize that being assertive doesn’t mean we are being b!tches. Let’s do this!

Yours in assertiveness,


Danielle Blommestyn
Conflict Management Practitioner


“I want every little girl who’s told she’s bossy to be told instead that she has leadership skills”
– Sheryl Sandberg


conflict WebinarRegister

This webinar explores the ever-present topic of workplace conflict. Participants will leave this course with a solid understanding of the importance of workplace conflict and how to harness it for creativity, productivity, and strong committed working relationships.

ONLY $49.99


What: 2 hour webinar (recorded on April 5th 2013 now available for immediate viewing)

WhoMeaghan Welfare, BA, Conflict Management Specialist and Certified Compassion Fatigue Educator. Françoise Mathieu joins in for the Q&A, to bring a CF perspective to the discussion.

Based on over a decade of experience in the field of workplace conflict, Meaghan Welfare will provide reality-based examples, practical solutions, and five key tools for making conflict work in your workplace.

Topics covered:
* What is conflict at work?
* Why is conflict so important?
* How can we harness conflict?
* Five tools for making conflict work

Cost: $49.99 plus HST includes downloadable handouts and five tools to bring back to your workplace. 30% off for groups of 6 or more participants


Who should attend: Managers, Supervisors, HR professionals who are facing changes in their workplace and want tools to help their staff navigate the changing landscape of work.

To purchase this webinar clickhere