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Chief's Corner - week of June 4

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- High Road

We have all been exposed to Air Force Professional Military Education, and one area that is consistently taught throughout all forms of PME is conflict management.  How we manage conflict says a lot about the type of professional Airmen we are and our character.  One fundamental truth is that if we don't manage conflict, it will manage us and interfere with not only interpersonal relationships but could severely hamper mission accomplishment if it creates hostile work environments.  Because conflict will always exist, we would do well to continuously take inventory of our methods and approach. 
 
John Maxwell, world renowned author and leadership guru, in his award winning series, "Winning with People" coined the "High Road" principle, which asserts that we go to a higher level when we treat others better than they treat us.  Notice it does not say, treat others the way you want to be treated; on the contrary, we are to treat others better than they treat us.  We have one of three roads to take:  we can take the low road and treat others worse than they treat us, the middle road where we treat others the same as they treat us or the high road.  The high road helps create positive relationships and attracts others to us while setting a positive agenda that even negative people find difficult to undermine.  David Brinkley said, "A successful man is one who can lay a foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him."  Without question, this high road is the road less travelled as it requires thinking and acting in ways that are not natural or common.  "High roaders" have several things in common:
1.  They understand it's not what happens to you but what happens in you that really matters.
2.  They commit themselves to traveling the high road continually.
3.  They see their own need for grace and therefore, they extend it to others.
4.  They are not victims--they choose to serve others.
5.  They set higher standards for themselves than others would.
6.  They bring out the best in others and themselves. 
Making it our practice to always treat others the best we can affects the way we see the world.  Philosopher and poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, "Treat people as though they were what they ought to be and you will help them become what they are capable of becoming."  As mentioned earlier, the high road is not the easiest road to travel, but it is the only one that leads to the highest level of living and service.
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