What a difficult learning Hermann Hesse articulates to put into practice; which is why I think it is so precious to strive for! As we lead to change ourselves and others communication is the hardest and most essential skills to acquire. Unfortunately we are taught a language of domination based on rewards and punishment. This way creates leadership that is based on power and positioning. We see people that are on our side and we see people who are opposed. Leading becomes a struggle and good leaders are this who can influence and come out of the struggle on top. I always felt something is wrong with this ‘rule of the jungle’. I for myself believe that leadership should help create opportunity for others and influence people to join a common cause to which they voluntarily subscribe. Desirable but I struggled to put this into practice with people who seemed opposed to the idea of a group purpose, who seemed stuck in their own world of thinking or were disregarding my way and power their own agenda through. From here it is very easy to ‘hate’ a person, exactly how Hesse described. And when I am angry at that person I blame them for this situation. What Hesse then says becomes outrages: How could anything of that person be part of me? Especially when I trying so hard not to be like that person?

Marshall Rosenberg answered this question beautifully for me. What we two have in common even when emotions run high and our agendas are far apart is that as humans we all have needs that we want to meet. Our ability to hear the needs in the other are however not well developed. Rather than acting to listen deeply to seeking to understand what the need of the other is we re-act defensively of our own position. That is not listening for understanding, that is listening for responding! Rosenberg has developed an easy to understand method to practice in ever more difficult life circumstances. He helps us develop needs literacy, which requires both us expressing our needs and inquiring into the needs of others. When we can see the other having needs just as we do (but maybe expressing them terribly) we go beyond right-wrong, good-bad, white-black and can start the work of creating a solution that meets our needs. At least we do it with humanity.

To learn more about this essential life and leadership skill everyone I believe should have some familiarity with Marshall Rosenberg – Non Violent Communication. Here some places to get started online:

Short (10min): https://youtu.be/DgaeHeIL39Y
Longer (40min): https://youtu.be/n5DL-9wti_Q
Longer still (3 hrs): https://youtu.be/YwXH4hNfgPg
Extensive (9 hrs): https://youtu.be/O4tUVqsjQ2I

See more resources at: https://www.cnvc.org/

Intensive 9 day trainings: https://www.cnvc.org/…/international-intensive-trainings-ii… (The next one is in Marmaris, Turkey Jun 3-12, 2016. )

THE book on this subject is Non-Violent Communication, available in a lot of languages e.g. in EnglishGerman, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, SpanishFrench,Italian.

Enjoy your journey of leadership.