This year I taught a leadership and geography class for a group of homeschooled teenagers in our area. These teens are wonderful kids, and we had a lot of fun as they explored how they could make a difference in the world.
One of the best things we did as a class was have the opportunity to participate in an online conference call with George Kohlrieser. He is known around the world for his leadership experience. He is a psychologist, a Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at IMD business school in Switzerland, and (the thing that my students thought was the most exciting) he is a hostage-negotiator!
Dr. Kohlrieser has written a book called “Hostage at the Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others, and Raise Performance.”
Being a negotiator really boils down to being able to manage yourself, even in tense situations. Dr. Kohlrieser writes (page 8):
“Controlling one’s state, managing one’s feelings, and using words - to ask questions and seek a solution - is what hostage negotiation is all about.”
Life is all about that too.
One of the chapters that catches my attention as a parent is “The Strength of a Secure Base,” Chapter 4. He says,
“Secure bases are those people, goals, or things to which we bond in a special way While we create many bonds, secure bases are special in that they give protection, comfort and energy.”
Dr. Kohlrieser suggests that these secure bases serve as anchors in our lives, and that the stronger the secure base, the more resilience and energy the person has in dealing with adverse circumstances. People who have secure bases have an easier time of transforming negative experiences into positive ones, and finding meaning in events. He uses examples of experiences his clients have had, and shows how to be the person that can be that secure base.
I appreciate the wisdom and practical experience illustrations that are detailed in this book. I am also very grateful for people like George Kohlrieser, who are willing to go into frightening situations and work to defuse conflict. I appreciate the courage and willingness to help others demonstrated by those who truly have learned (and model) how to control one’s state.