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October 9th, 2018

Dr. Nate Regier is the co-founding owner of Next Element and host of the On Compassion Podcast. His advice on how to take conflict and turn it into energy has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and Forbes, and his company specializes in working with companies and leadership to equip them to make a bigger impact using conflict as energy—or tension energy.



Conflict can derail positive discussions or be used as positive energy. Disagreements, tension, and varying strong opinions, if dealt with properly can drive the discussion forward. And this is the topic of my discussion with Dr. Nate.

Conflict, put simply, is the energy that exists between the gap between what you want and what you actually experience. Conflict exists when you want to be at work by a certain time, but there are 6 people in front of you at the coffee shop and 3 baristas have called in sick! That gap contains energy and the question for leaders is not whether the conflict is good or bad, but what they choose to do with that energy. Conflict isn’t bad or good, the way in which you deal with it makes it so.

If you or your team don’t have disagreements, strong feelings, passion, and conflict that’s not natural. Regier explains that indicates they don’t have the energy and desire to make anything better. We need that gap to make things better. In a corporate sense how does this look, and how can we use that energy? There are two paths.


Two Paths In Dealing With Conflict

Drama is the first path. When we misuse conflict energy to feel justified and engage in adversarial relationships trouble starts. When we choose drama, it’s a poor use of conflict energy and manifests itself in three ways. We choose the persecutor role, and blame others; we play victim, where we take on the problem as our own; or we play the role of the rescuer. where we believe we have the solution to everyone’s problem. In these cases, our motivation becomes proving ourselves true. Great leaders are aware of their bias and choose to use compassion instead.

Compassion is the other (and best) path. With compassion, we struggle with each other in a spirit of dignity. In fact, compassion means to suffer alongside. The compassion cycle is made up of three skills. Openness, Resourcefulness, and Persistence.

  • Openness: safety, emotions, transparency, and the courage to be who we are. And to be honest about how we are feeling.
  • Resourcefulness: this focuses on action and creative problem-solving. This is the head part, where we make decisions, find options, etc.
  • Persistence: this part of the cycle is about behavior and follow-through. It’s all about living up to what we said we’d do.
  • Openness: Again we come back to openness to ensure we see the full field and are open to critique and improvement.

Many leaders fear taking openness too far, but you really can’t. Leaders’ problems aren’t being too open, but ignoring the resourcefulness and persistence aspects of the compassion cycle. If you’re open, but don’t take action, you’re useless and your team knows it.

Apply compassion as a leader, but make sure you follow it up with resourcefulness and persistence.


Nate Regier’s new podcast, OnCompassion With Dr. Nate

Nate Regier has a new podcast called about compassion and I asked him to share a message with every one of my listeners.

A message from Nate Regier 12/3/2019:

I’m thrilled to launch my new podcast, OnCompassion With Dr. Nate.

Over the past year, I’ve gained a lot of clarity around my purpose, which is to bring more compassion to every workplace around the world.

I’m not the only one who cares about this. When you look around there are so many incredible companies and leaders who are embracing real compassion not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s a lever for business success.

With this podcast, I want to magnify the voices and wisdom of these leaders and give hope to anyone who is trying to combat the division and negativity so prevalent in our world today. And we are off to a great start. 

Jody Horner, the former CEO of Cargill Meat Solutions, shared about the power of vulnerability in leadership. 

Doug Conant told me how he turned around a failing Campbell’s Soup company by being tough-minded with standards, but tenderhearted with people.

Millie Ward revealed the secret behind the success of her marketing firm, Stone Ward, that was recognized as one of Inc. Magazine’s best places to work.

With each episode, my intention is to provide inspiring insights and practical tips for bringing more compassion to your life and work. I hope you enjoy them as much as I’ve enjoyed the conversations with my exceptional guests. 

You can help me amplify the impact of OnCompassion by subscribing and sharing these podcasts with your tribe. Follow me on, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, and stay tuned to our Next Element Facebook page for notifications of new episodes. 

If you know a leader who might be a good fit for OnCompassion, I’d love to know about it.

The world needs more compassion. My guests are doing something about it.


Check out this video from Nate Regier



More Leadership Interviews

If you enjoyed this interview with Dr. Nate Regier, you may also enjoy this interview with Lisen Stromberg about career pausing.


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