In this concluding section of the LEAPS discussion, we bring the whole process together.
For the “S” in LEAPS, I prefer to use “Solve.” “Summarize” is used in the Texas CHL course. But what we are after is a solution to a problem, in this case, the solution to a conflict situation.
Having properly Listened to determine what the other party to the conflict has to say, and expressed Empathy by Asking objective questions, and given feedback by Paraphrasing to confirm (or correct) our understanding of the other person’s feelings and needs, we are now in as good a position as we can be to Solve the situation.
When proposing a solution in a conflict situation, it is important to arrive at a win-win scenario, or at least minimize the loss on each side. One approach to accomplishing this is from the NLP folks (Neuro Linguistic Programming, which is somewhat of a misnomer). NLP is the art of manipulating people with language (and other signals), and it’s a subject that comes in quite handy when dealing with conflict. The specific approach is to “re-frame” what it means for you to “win.”
I like to use this example of “re-framing what it means to win” in my CHL class: Have you ever noticed that there are a lot of people that you see on your morning drive to work (and again on the way home) who think that commuting is a competitive sport? Unless you don’t commute at all, or manage to arrange your work schedule for times when there is little or no traffic, you are keenly aware that “rush-hour” tends to bring out the worst in people. Ok, how do we “re-frame” that?
Here’s my “re-frame” — I define “winning” as getting to work (and later, home) without breaking any glass or re-arranging any sheet metal. So, when I get to work, and I have not run into anyone or anything, I win! I have found that that particular “re-frame” works to tremendously reduce the amount of stress I feel during my commute, and I arrive in a better mood, ready to face my work day. All because I “won” the game that time.
And, in that case, “winning” does not require anyone else to lose. In fact, somebody else has actually “won” even if they don’t realize it.
I’ve mentioned NLP, and I’d like to say some more about it. I believe that my own study (and use) of NLP techniques has made me a better teacher. I encourage all of my students to see if they can figure out what techniques I used once they get home and have a chance to read about it. I would urge you to read anything you can find about NLP, because you can use it to your benefit in many situations, including those with little or no conflict involved. I used the word “manipulate” when I described NLP, but not all manipulation is bad. For example, advertising is manipulation.
To wrap up, the LEAPS process is something that you can use in everyday situations, such as:
- Selling something to a client
- Managing people who work for you
- Managing your boss
- Seducing a member of the opposite sex (this one seems to be popular…)
- Helping and motivating your children
- …and many others
These communications skills are something that you can use with people you care about, to improve and enrich your relationships. (Yes, you can try this at home!)