Monthly Archives: July 2011

BLOG # 19 Anger and the Differences Between Men and Women

Some of the gnawing aggravations and frustrating conflicts occur between men and women because each gender really views the world from a totally different perspective. This is true both in the home and at work.

The most significant difference is:
●a man will explode but then it’s over;
●a woman will seethe for a long, long time.

Here is an example. A man will become furious over a situation and blast forth, sometimes using very unkind words. Once he’s unloaded, usually on his long suffering spouse, as far as he is concerned, that’s the end of it. She got the message that she was spending too much money on things other than food. She, however, will brood for days. It’s not about the message. She gets that he’s upset at her spending. She is enraged that he would talk to her in such a disrespectful manner.

Later that evening, he indicates he’s ready for a little loving.
She: I’m too tired.
He: What’s the matter?”
She: Nothing.
He: I can tell you’re angry. What are you angry about?
She: If you can’t figure it out, I’m not going to explain it to you.

He has already forgotten about his hissy fit over her spending but she will hold on to her anger over his disrespect for a very long time doing things to purposefully annoy him (passive aggressive behavior).

Men and women communicate differently:
●men make statements;
●women ask questions.
Although conventional wisdom tells us that women talk more than men, recent studies have shown that:
●men do much more talking than women;
●men are more likely to dominate conversations;
●in adult conversations, 96% of the interruptions happen with men interrupting women.

Guess how much anger this generates in the woman being interrupted? When this happens in personal relationships, the woman is left feeling very angry because she doesn’t have the chance to voice her opinions fully. She wants to talk about the problem a little, perhaps to look at it from several points of view; perhaps to uncover a solution that is comfortable for her. He wants to get to the solution immediately and move on. Here is an example.

She: I think it would be nice to take the kids on a vacation to…….
He: We are not going to take an expensive trip to Disneyland or some other theme park this year.
She: But…..
He: The kids can use the local pool and I’ll take them camping in the back yard.
She: My parents invited us to join them in Florida….
He: Florida? That’s great! The kids will love that.
She: during the kids winter break.
When faced with problems, women generally come up with far more innovative solutions than do men. One study attributes this to the fact that women have little investment in the traditional approaches to problem-solving and have less of a psychological investment in doing things the usual way. A man will become angry because he cannot make sense of how the woman thinks. Here is an example.

One young woman was the facilities coordinator for a large company whose offices were housed in a 30 story high rise. There had been a number of complaints regarding the slowness of the elevators and she had been ordered to “take care of the situation.” She did not ask for a special budget allocation to study the problem. She did not call in an architectural consultant to explore solution possibilities. She did not even contact the elevator company to research the situation. She had a glass manufacturer install full length mirrors in the front entry hall by the elevators. Since people now spent the time checking out their appearance, they never noticed how fast or slow the elevators were. As you can imagine, she and her boss almost came to blows over her request to purchase those hall mirrors.

Boss: I don’t think you understand the problem. We need faster elevators.
She: I understand. Repairing them will be expensive. The mirrors will work and they are a cheaper fix.
Boss: I don’t understand how you think.
She: If the mirrors don’t solve the problem, you can take the cost out of my salary.
Boss: This is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard

Here is another example. Joanne’s husband Bill had a brother Frank who would invariably drop in for a visit at dinner time on Sunday when Joanne would put out a magnificent spread for her family. Joanne and Bill’s family consisted of four twenty year olds – some were married, some were not. All the kids were off working and building their own lives. Sunday dinner was very important to Joanne and Bill because they were able to reconnect with their kids and find out what everyone was doing.

Frank would bring his six young kids and his wife, Mona. In ten years of marriage, never once did Frank and Mona invite Bill and Joanne to their home. Bill complained to Joanne that they were being used and that he wanted Frank’s visits to stop. Moreover, their sacred Sunday dinners had become about Frank and his kids. Bill was furious but since Frank was family, he didn’t want to tell Frank he was not welcome.

The following Sunday, Joanne served her family a hearty lunch. Later in the day, Joanne put hotdogs – one dog per person – on the table for dinner. When Frank and his brood arrived, Joanne explained that with food prices so high, she had decided to cut back a little. The following week, she did the exact same thing. That was the last time Frank brought his family for Sunday dinner.

One issue men and women never understand about one another is the importance with which each regards status, hierarchy and power. Men have a lot of personal investment in that system; it takes years of “paying one’s dues” before one moves up. Protection of one’s gains becomes critical; respect for those above on the hierarchical ladder is mandatory if one expects to climb higher. Women often regard this sort of reverence as a bit overdone. This can make a man angry because the woman does not regard this important and precious. Here is an example.

One woman learns from a friend about a shake up in another department of the company. Apparently, the Credit Manager and the Director of Purchasing were brothers in law. Because of the difference in last names, no one knew they were related. The two men were able to set up a very slick, bogus voucher system whereby the company may have lost a good deal of money. All excited about this bit of hot news, she starts to tell her manager the story. He interrupts her immediately and asks:
He: Who did they put in charge of the office now that those two are gone?
She: I don’t know. The story was so interesting, I forgot to ask.

Marjorie and Andrew Pinker go shopping for a new car. Marjorie says she will be happy with a small hybrid. Andrew wants to purchase a Lexus sedan. Marjorie insists they do not need such a big, expensive car. Andrew insists that a Lexus purchase will confirm to all their friends, neighbors and relatives that financially he has arrived and is very successful. In anger, Marjorie retorts, “What a waste of money! Who cares what people think, especially those who judge a person by the car they drive.” Andrew answers, “You just don’t understand.”

Here is another example from the work environment. Both Angie and Kent have turned in spectacular performances this year but are both told there will be no raises because “Times are tough.” However, their boss has come up with an innovative idea. He will give them each a new, grander title. Kent is pleased and orders a new sign for his desk. Angie says, “Boss, how much food with my new title purchase at the grocery store?” Now the boss is angry at Angie’s lack of gratitude.

By far, the most infuriating difference between men and women is how each view “rules”. Women play by the rules; men play with the rules.

In the home, the rule is if you use out the toilet paper, you replace it with a new roll. A man will leave one square on the roll and, if asked about it, will say, “I didn’t use it out.” This starts early in life. If the mother tells her three year old son to wash his hands before dinner, he will wash one side only. She actually has to tell him to do both sides.

If you are a sports fan, you see this difference in an even more dramatic way. Women’s teams will rarely commit purposeful fouls. A men’s team player will happily commit a foul against an opposing team player if he thinks the referee isn’t looking. Then, when called for the foul, you see the “Who me???” face on the player.

Understanding the differences between the sexes and how each views the world can go a long way in reducing the stress and anger. Just remember the other side doesn’t see things the same way you do.

DeAnne Needs Your Help
If you would, the next time you go into your local book store, please ask them to purchase a copy or two and place it in their window where people might be enticed to look at it and purchase it.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog and that you are learning good things from it. The purpose of the blog is to create interest in my book, From Rage to Resolution and to get book stores to place it on their shelves where people can purchase it and use it. Book stores today are having a tough time financially and are unwilling to purchase a publication unless they are assured of brisk sales. This book, From Rage to Resolution will give its readers three things:
●a life free of disrespect from others;
●a longer, healthier life (because the stress, anger and hostility of daily living will be considerably reduced);
●more energy (because the baggage of old hostilities will be gone).
Getting this book into the hands of people who can use its easy-to-learn skills is my goal but I need your help to do that. Will you help me?

Thursday’s Special

Last Week’s Scenarios
Scenario #1
A boss who tells you at 4:00 pm on Friday, “I don’t care what you have to do to get this done…….”

Unless you have a contract (in writing) that states otherwise, overtime is at your discretion. Even when an organization sugar-coats it with promises of time and one-half overtime, it is still at your discretion. (9:00am to 5:pm is theirs; 5:00pm to 9:00am is your time. In this case, since it is the boss and in today’s market, jobs are precious, you must say “No” carefully.
You: Boss I really would love to stay and finish this for you tonight but I have made a previous commitment which prevents me from doing so. How else do you think we can solve this problem.
Boss: Bla bla bla
You: Believe me, I understand the importance but unfortunately I have made a previous commitment which prevents me from doing so. How else do you think we can solve this problem?
Boss: Bla bla bla
You: Perhaps you can get an extension on the due date. However, I have made a previous commitment which prevents me from remaining here past 5:00pm. How else do you think we can solve this problem?
Boss: Bla bla bla
You: That’s a great idea! I’m sure Mary will do a fine job for you.

Scenario #2
Your best friend, Betty Whitmore, agrees to get together with you for dinner and a movie but she has a hidden agenda.

The next time Betty and you decide to go anywhere together, ask her up front if she has any other plans in mind. She will probably say, “No.” The day before you get together, ask her that same question again. About one hour before you meet, tell her what you expect (which is the plan you decided upon and nothing extra). Ask her for confirmation of that. She will get the message.

Scenario #3
You have made an appointment to see the doctor for 10:00 AM. You are still waiting at 12:30 PM.

Here is how I solved this problem. While waiting I figured out how much my waiting time was worth on a per hour basis based upon my salary. After my appointment, I sent the doctor a bill for my waiting time. I never received a bill for the visit and I was never again left to cool my heels in his office for longer than fifteen minutes.

All these examples represent other people misusing your time. This is very disrespectful. You may believe that the most precious item in your life is money but it is not. The most precious item you have is time. Never allow other people to waste it.

This Week’s Scenarios
Scenario #1
You work hard at your job and whatever you do is done with accuracy, and professionalism. You have a co-worker, Sugar Lee Jones who spends her day tweeting friends, doing her nails, shopping on line and spending extended break times in the engineering department which is mostly peopled with men.

Unfortunately your boss, Reggie Gill, is not much of a manager. Instead of making sure Sugar Lee does her work, when she falls behind – which is often – your boss asks you to pick up her slack. To make matters worse, when raise time came around, both you and Sugar Lee received the same amount. Reggie told you that he thought it was important to treat everyone equally when it came to money.

To say you are feeling hostile and angry doesn’t fully describe your feelings. If jobs weren’t so hard to find, you would have left this one long ago. What do you think you can do to change this situation?

Scenario #2
Apparently everyone in your section of the company realizes that Reggie Gill is a problem. For one thing, Reggie has difficulty making decisions. In addition, he really doesn’t understand the business. So, whenever critical things need a decision or must get handled quickly, other supervisors and managers work around Reggie. Sometimes, they just hold meetings and “forget” to invite him.

Reggie’s boss, Bret Baylor, the director of the marketing division, dropped by your desk yesterday and asked you to give him some feedback on Reggie’s performance as a manager. “Oh boy!” You thought. “This is dangerous. If I tell Bret what I really think, it could come back to bite me in the rear. If I don’t say anything, Bret will think I am being uncooperative. If I lie and say Reggie is a good boss, Bret will know I’m lying. I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.”

In order to buy some time, you asked Bret to give you a day or two to think about it. He agreed and you two will meet day after tomorrow at 3:00pm. What do you think you should say?

Scenario #3
Reggie Gill is generally well liked by those in the company with whom he does not work. He is very sociable and friendly. Reggie is the guy who always organizes the Christmas party, the football pool and the July family picnic. If an employee is hospitalized, or there is a death in an employee’s family, you can bet that Reggie will pass the hat for flowers.

Today, while eating in the cafeteria, you overheard two staff members from human resources discussing Reggie Gill.
Fran: How in heavens name did Reggie Gill ever get to be a manager?
Gert: Didn’t you know? He’s the son-in-law of the company’s CFO.
How will this knowledge affect what you say to Bret Baylor?

END

Blog # 18 Anger and Time Management

No one ever has enough time.  Yet we already have all the time there is – 24 hours per day.  The quantity of time is not the problem, however, but rather how that inelastic resource Is used.  What time management is really all about is managing yourself and your energy.

Time and energy, are often squandered or poorly utilized because you have not designed an overall strategy.  As a result, your control over tasks at work and the tasks at home fall into the hands of others creating anger and a depressing feeling of helplessness.

This blog will present you with a few (seven techniques) strategies that can double your personal productivity by expanding your energy so that you get more done in the time available.

Everything you do is evaluated in time by annoying questions such as:

●How long will that take?

●When will it be done?

●When will dinner be ready?

●Why can’t you do it now?

●How come it’s taking you so long?

●Well how long will that take?

Such questions produce in you valid rage.

Your management of this restrictive resource is the decisive element in your professional success or failure and, more importantly, your sanity.

You may make a time commitment for completion of a project at home or at work.  You may have carefully considered such things as interruptions and emergencies, in your estimate. Then other things which you cannot control happen, such as interruptions, and there goes your estimate down the drain.

The hardest thing of all is to direct your attention, energy and initiative throughout the day so that you can minimize how long it takes you to accomplish each and every task you take on. It takes a very determined person to maintain such a focus in the face all the distractions that impact on you from everyone and everywhere.

Setting Up A Cost/Benefit Analysis

In order to manage your time and energy more effectively, you must first get an accurate picture of how you are currently utilizing your time right now.  To do this, you should first keep a daily log of your activities for about two weeks.  This is not rocket science and it doesn’t have to be exact.  An estimate will do just fine.

When you have collected sufficient data, redo your list with the most important tasks and responsibilities at the top going down to those least important.  Your next step is to record the number of hours you spent working on each of the listed activities.  Then calculate what percentage each is against the 40 hour week time frame.

If you were to add up all the percentages in that second column, you will probably go over 100%.  This is because you probably spend more than 40 hours a week on the job and certainly more than 40 hours doing tasks at home.  Your  cost/benefit analysis however, is not designed to show how many hours you spend on particular tasks but rather to show what tasks and activities take up most of your time.

What you may find is the most important tasks take 20% of your time while the unimportant, low priority tasks take 80% of your time.  Now you have some idea of what is wasting your time and how much time it is wasting.

his is a good illustration of the fact that time management is a process of choice:  either you use the time for high priority tasks or you use it on nonsense activities.

Tasks and activities relating to the job or in the home can be categorized into three groups:

1.  Routine work                                30%                            low energy time of day

2.  Regular work                                50% – 60%                 high energy time of day

3.  Special Project work                   10% – 20%                 requires set-aside specific time

Routine work involves tasks that are low priority but must be handled daily.  These are items that can be done when you have time.  They should take no more than 30% of your day or week.  The best way to handle these tasks is to confine the doing of them to a specific time frame.  When that time is up, you stop doing those things.  Many folks have found it helpful to associate doing routine tasks with their low energy time of day.  That way, they have their best energy available for more important things.

Regular work involves the important tasks that are the heart and soul of what you wish to accomplish this week (or day).  These tasks would be considered top priority.  These items should take up 50%-60% of your time.  Because you can make very good estimates as to how long each item will take to accomplish, the best way to manage the items in this category is with the use of a to do list.

The to do list should indicate an estimated time for completion for each task.  This makes it easier for you to get your boss’s concurrence to your work priorities.

Special project work involves high priority but infrequent tasks that take your attention completely away from everything else.  Special project work should probably take up no more than 10%-20% of your time.  Often these tasks have no recommended way of attacking them.  You have to find the way.  It is impossible, therefore, to make an accurate time estimate for the tasks in the special project category.  However, the items in this category usually require a certain amount of uninterrupted time to accomplish them.  You need to estimate how much time you will need to accomplish such a task and set aside the time uninterrupted time you need to do it.  One useful strategy is known as planned unavailability“.  You and your boss or family agree to a specific amount of time when, even though you are there,  everyone will pretend that you are not there.  Doing the dreaded taxes  might be a great candidate for using planned unavailability. so that you can have the time you need to work on them without interruption.

The Secret to Multiplying Your Energy

Time is a liner measurement that goes on in the background at the same steady pace.  Human energy is not liner.  It can expand dramatically, allowing you to get more accomplished in one day than you ever thought possible.  The key to unlocking all that power is the sense of completion or accomplishment.

Think of a day when you suffered with a tremendous number of interruptions.  At the end of the day you felt as if you had wasted the entire day.  If someone had asked you how your day went, you would have answered, “I was busy every minute but I got nothing done”.  Your motivation had died because you were prevented from bringing anything to completion. The key to expanding your energy is to organize your work so that you can experience as many completions as possible every day.  For example, every time you are starting a project, break it up into pieces that can be accomplished within a 20 minute time frame.  That way, if you are interrupted, you can at least being one section of that task to conclusion.

When you break up a project into pieces, label each piece and put each as a separate entry on your To Do List.  When you complete a piece, cross it off with a red marker and watch your energy jump.
The Strategy of Using the To Do List to its Best Advantage

Every evening, before you go to bed (or at work before you leave for the day), make up a To Do List for the following day.  Both at work and at home, put your To Do List in some prominent location where you and other people can easily see it at any time.  This has some interesting benefits.  First of all, it keeps you focused on the tasks you have planned to accomplish.  Secondly, when other people ask you to interrupt you efforts to do something for them, you can point to your list and say, “I can help you after I finish with the doodlefrotz stuff. “  With your kids, you can say, “Is fixing your toy more important than mommy finishing cooking dinner right now?”

Setting Priorities

Priority is the order of importance or sequence in which various things should take precedence in terms of your time and attention.  For example, if you were a secretary in a sales and marketing department, the overall priorities might be:  (1) customer issues, (2) field personnel and (3) departmental and company issues. If you were an office manager in a large medical practice or HMO, your overall priorities might be: (1) Doctor requests, (2) insurance and medical forms, and (3) general correspondence and billings.  If you were a home maker with a large family to look after, your overall priorities might be: (1) spouse’s needs, (2) kids needs and (3) housework responsibilities.  Because priorities change, several times each year, you should reevaluate your priorities often to be certain that your current strategy is still working effectively.

Setting Priorities

There are many strategies for setting priorities and each method has merit.  Each method also has its problems.  Here is a list of the most popular methods.

Set priorities according to:

●the due date;

●who is making the most noise at the time;

●the rank or importance of the person for whom the work is being done;

●what you think needs to be done;

●the importance of the various tasks;

●how you feel and what you feel like doing; and

●what will give you the most results for your expenditure of time and energy.

Most enthusiastically, I recommend that you use the last one on the list because this will give you the most opportunities for completions which are the secret to motivation.

Here Is a List of The Greatest Time-Wasters

doing things that don’t make any real difference

●doing things that don’t need to be done right now

●doing things that someone else should be doing

●letting yourself get physically exhausted or run-down

●not allowing sufficient time for travel to appointments

●working without a clear plan or strategy

●doing in case activities

●allowing needless interruptions

●failing to listen

●allowing phone calls from friends to go on too long

●playing with unnecessary details

●wasting time on Twitter and other social media

●texting needless and useless information

●working without clear priorities or sequence for accomplishment

●not making use of the time you spend waiting for others

●unwillingness to say NO

●procrastination

●starting but not finishing tasks

●worrying over things that probably will not happen

●mentally re-living old mistakes and choices

●second-guessing previously made decisions

●lack of punctually

●daydreaming

●disorganization of paperwork, tools, etc.

●looking for things that weren’t put away properly

●thinking about personal issues while trying to work at something

●making inaccurate estimates of task time requirements

●analysis paralysis

Some Final Thoughts Regarding Time Management

 

If you mind is not on what you are currently doing, you are fighting against yourself and you cannot win that battle.  Put your mind on what you are doing so you can get it done quickly and accurately.

Do you often feel you are facing too many problems?  Look at it this way: you don’t have problems. You have decisions to make.  Make them and move on.

Always consider Pareto’s time principle, also called the 80% – 20% principle which states that 80% of what you do (trivial stuff) will result in 20% of your results while 20% of your efforts on important stuff will give you 80% of your results.  This ratio is so true it is frightening.  In a business, 20% of your customers will give you 80% of your problems.  In school, 20% of the kids will give a teacher 80% of the  aggravation.  In a garden 20% of what you plant will give you 80% of your successful flowers.  In your wardrobe, 20% of your clothing will be worn 80% of the time.  What you have to do in life, therefore is decide what your 20% of anything is so you can concentrate on that and get the most bang for your time.

DeAnne’s Anger Tips       

 

Rage and hostile defensiveness can sometimes be used by people whose entire ego is wrapped up in and inseparable from their closely held beliefs.  Should you say something that might possibly be interpreted as opposing those closely held beliefs, they attack.  They become enraged and hostile because they mistakenly assume that any disagreement is directed at them personally. Such people are unable to separate their ideas and beliefs from their identity. If you have ever tried to discuss a point with a religious or political zealot, you have experienced this reaction.  You really cannot hold a conversation with such individuals because any casual remark might set them off.

 

Last Week’s Scenarios

Scenario #1

Francis and Tyler Johnson….Tyler took to drinking and he was a mean drunk.  Francis soon came to believe that her life was in danger

Here is how Francis solved her problem.  With the help of nearby girlfriends, she secretly packed up all her clothes, important keepsakes, jewelry, linens and household items and stored them at the homes of her friends.  Then she told Tyler she was going to visit her sister in Oregon for a week.  During her week away, she established herself outside Chicago.  She opened a bank account, rented an apartment, arranged for her things to be shipped from the homes of her friends to the Chicago location.  When she returned home, while Tyler was out drinking, she packed up her car with her remaining things and drove herself to Chicago.  When Tyler returned home late that night, he found an empty house and a note from Francis explaining that in fear of her life, she was leaving him.

Subsequently, Francis hired a voice coach and today is a successful professional jazz singer in the Chicago area.  What do you think of how Frances handled her problem?

Scenario #2

Justine Walters whose husband, Pete and their five boys treated her disrespectfully.

Here is what Justine did.  She wrote a note to Pete and pinned it to his pillow. It read, “I cannot live with the disrespect.  Good bye and good luck.  Justine.”  Since Pete took the boys out for ice cream and then played ball with them in the back yard until dark, Justine had sufficient time to pack up a few things.  She then drove into town, emptied the bank accounts and drove away.

When I met her years later, she was living in California.  She had completed a degree in computer science and was employed in one of the state’s largest hospital complexes. Justine explained that her guilt over abandoning her children was still overwhelming.  However, Justine insisted she had made the right decision.  What do you think?  Was this a right decision?

Scenario #3

Holly Andrew loved being pregnant and looking after babies.

Louis quit his job the very next day and disappeared.  Subsequently, Holly began to receive money on a regular basis via Western Union.  It wasn’t very much but it helped support her family.  When the new baby was out of diapers, Holly got a job and enlisted her mother to look after the kids.

Years later, when I met him, Louis said leaving Holly and his kids was the best decision he had ever made.  His hostility and anger at Holly had become unbearable.  He believed the financial burden he was living under would have killed him in short order.  What do you think about Louis’s decision?

All three of these stories illustrate how some individuals choose to run away from their problems rather than stay and attempt to solve them.  This may be a good solution for them but what about those they leave behind – the kids?  Is this a selfish solution?  What do you think?

This Week’s Scenarios

Scenario #1

 

You have a boss who tells you at 4:00 pm on Friday, “I don’t care what you have to do to get this done but I want it completed and on my desk by 8:30 AM on Monday morning.”  You estimate that his last minute request will take four hours to complete.

You have a family and some good friends who, months ago, planned a little weekend-getaway.  Reservations have been made and paid for.  Your spouse plans to pick you up at 5:00 PM.  The car will be packed with kids and everything for a beach weekend.  What will you tell your boss?

Scenario #2

Your best friend, Betty Whitmore, agrees to get together with you for dinner and a movie one Wednesday evening.  When you get to Betty’s apartment, she explains that she has just taken up a new hobby – beading and making jewelry.  Before going to dinner, she wants to stop at the bead store and pick up a few more supplies.  You agree.  Four hours later, you and Betty are still at the bead store.  You are starving. The owner of the bead store wants to close up.  It is already too late to see any movie.  Since Betty is still examining beads and findings, you decide to call it a night.

Two weeks ago, you had tickets to a local amateur theatre group’s performance.  You and Betty had planned to go for a quick bite before attending the play.  However, when you arrived at Betty’s apartment, Betty had a huge bag of old towels and sheets which she wanted to drop off at the local animal shelter and a stack of old clothes to drop off at the Salvation Army collection site before you went to eat.  You agreed to drive her over to both places.  There was not sufficient time to eat so you went directly to the play.  It was such a boring performance that you slept through most of it.  Starving and tired, you once again decided to call it a night.

It seems to you that whenever you and Betty decide to get together, Betty has some secret agenda other than what the two of you planned.  You feel used.  What do you think you should say to Betty about how she uses your time?

Scenario #3

You have made an appointment to see the doctor for 10:00 AM.  The doctor’s office is about one hour from your home.  You arrive at the doctor’s office at 9:45 AM.  The receptionist-nurse tells you that the doctor has had an unexpected emergency and will be a little late in seeing you.  You ask for an estimate.  The receptionist-nurse says, “About 30 minutes.”  Since you have your kindle with you, you don’t mind waiting.  At 11:30 AM, you once again ask the nurse for a time estimate.  This time she says, “I’m sure it won’t be much longer, maybe another 10 or 15 minutes.”

It is now 12:30 PM.  What do you think you should do?

END

#16 (Not) Listening and Anger

Listening is a form of recognition and respect.  Not listening is, therefore, a form of disrespect.  This form of disrespect generates a great deal of hostility from the person who believes he or she is not being listened to.  Let’s take a look at the following examples.

Many years ago there was a very large soft drink manufacturing and bottling plant in the Midwestern United States which underwent a complete retooling. This totally mechanized all the plant’s operations and enabled the company to significantly expand its output.  More buildings were added.  The plant was now triple the size it had been.  While no one lost his or her job, the employees were now very spread out.  All that was necessary was for one employee to stand at each of the quality control stations to make sure that nothing went wrong with that section of operation.  Those quality control stations were about one quarter of a mile from one another.

Several months into the new expanded, mechanized operation, a group of employees went to management and complained that:

●their jobs now held no challenge or variety;

●they missed working in teams which had been the hallmark of the operation prior to the retooling; and

●they were lonely

Management’s response was to laugh at the employees’ complaints.  “Look, you guys, you’re getting the same pay for doing significantly less; your jobs are so easy even a trained monkey could do them; and lonely?  You are here to do a job, not to involve yourselves in social activities.”

To have their concerns so trivialized angered the employees who then, meeting in secret in the break room, decided to plan a wholesale coordinated attack on the operation.  One week, the bottling section discovered a sticky substance covering the entire bottling conveyer belt.  The scientists in charge of product quality of the drink substance came into the bottling area with their eye droppers and pipettes and reagents.  They tested the sticky substance.  It turned out to be honey.

Scientists:      Honey?  Where the devil did that come from?

Employees:    Must be bees.

The next week, somehow all the caps and tops on the drink cans and bottles were missing when they came out of the operation.  However, the cans and bottles were boxed up for shipment anyway.  What followed was a colossal mess inside the delivery trucks.  An entire week’s product was lost.  Customers did not receive their shipments and the trucks had to be steam cleaned.

Management:            How the devil did this happen?

Employees:                Don’t know.  Must be a machine mal-function

The employees were excited by their success and the more successful they became at savaging the company’s operations, the happier they became.  The employees even voted a monetary prize to the person who came up with the best idea for disrupting the operation.  Soon work became all about savaging the company’s operations.  Employees were even able to put olive oil and shampoo into the drink mixing machines.

Management tried every strategy they knew to correct the situation.  Nothing worked.  In frustration, the company closed the facility.  All the employees were laid off.  When the company reopened the facility six months later, a new group of employees were hired.  People were assigned to work in teams at the various quality control stations but at a much lower salary than the previous staff received.  In addition, an ombudsman was hired whose sole purpose was to listen to the concerns of the employees.

 

Mason Adelphi was a brilliant but docile high school student.  He was also somewhat funny looking.  He became the target of some serious bullying.  Not only did his classmates tease him, they physically beat him, stole his lunch money, urinated on his book bag and broke his thick eye glasses.

His mother and father were busy with their own problems of working and looking after their younger children and didn’t want to hear about Mason’s problems.  Their quick off-handed advice was:

Dad:    Just fight back.  Don’t sit there and take it.  Be a man, not a wimp.

Mom:  Just ignore them.  Concentrate on getting good grades.  Once you get to college, no one will bother you that way. You’ll be appreciated for your intelligence.

College was three years away – an eternity for Mason so he approached his school principal who told him, “Being bullied is just part of life in a city school.  You’ll just have to learn to deal with it.”

Mason became more and more of a recluse and a loner.  His anger, hostility and fear level swallowed up his whole personality.  He purchased an assault weapon from a neighborhood tough.  On a beautiful day in March, Mason brought his weapon to school and shot and killed four of his tormentors and the school principal.

Now Mason is in jail.  All his potential wasted because no one would listen to his concerns.

 

Jim and Pete were assigned to work together on a project, splitting the workload equally. Jim is a smoker; Pete is not. Jim takes a 20 minute smoking break once every hour.  This results in Pete doing most of the work. Pete has asked Jim to limit his smoking to the legitimate lunch and coffee breaks. Jim explains he cannot do that because he is addicted to cigarettes. Furious, Pete angrily demands his boss, Charlie, resolve the problem.  Charlie reacts badly to Pete’s rage and tells him to solve the problem himself. In frustration, Pete files a discrimination complaint.

Those in the Personnel department recognize that Pete’s discrimination complaint is not a valid legal issue but they do not know how to make this legal challenge go away. Personnel’s solution is to pay Pete a monetary nuisance award. of $10,000.00.  Obviously, this solves nothing because the smoking problem continues.

In frustration, Pete makes plans to destroy both Jim’s and Charlie’s career.  Pete, because of the nature of his work, has access to everyone’s computer passwords.  Whenever Jim was out having a smoke or Charlie was at a meeting, Pete logged into their computers and corrupted their information.  He also changed the numbers in all of their reports.  The result was that whatever piece of Charlie’s and Jim’s work was forwarded on to other departments, the data was always incorrect or incomplete.  Pete also deleted any important E-mail they received.  It took several months but finally Jim was let go for poor performance while Charlie was transferred out of management and into another area.

These stories illustrate that when someone brings you a concern or problem and you are the person who can help them resolve the issue:

●recognize that if they could have resolved the issue on their own they would have already done so;

●the fact that they have brought the problem to you means they cannot resolve the problem on their own;

●if you trivialize or marginalize their concern, you are letting yourself in fora very hostile reaction.

If you are a boss or a parent, listen to the person’s concern and together plan a strategy for addressing that concern.  This lets the other person know that you respect them.

DeAnne’s Anger Tips

Rage is often a response to vulnerability.  This is what happens when a person feels marginalized because their concerns have not been appropriately dealt with.  Children are vulnerable with regard to their parents.  Employees are vulnerable with regard to their bosses.  Rage over being  treated as if they were insignificant and irrelevant  then becomes a valid and expected response.  Such rage can also be a demand for boundaries to be reset so that a person’s importance (to the parent or to the boss – the people in charge) be acknowledged and recognized.

 

Thursday Special

Last Week’s Scenarios

Scenario #1

You have purchased some interesting gizmo over the internet.  The advertised price was $35.95 but your credit card was charged $78.95.

Your first step is to call the company. Their phone number should be on your credit card bill.  Get an explanation from them.  If you are not satisfied, then call the credit card company and see if they will step in and put a “stop payment” on the charge and then deal with the company for you.  Usually they will.

Scenario #2

Your car needs some repair work.  The estimate was $1,000 but the charge was

$2,875.00 with no prior phone call of explanation.

Speak to the owner of the repair shop and show him your written estimate.  Explain there was no phone call telling you of the extra charges.  Ask him to negotiate the charges down to approximately what was estimated.  You will probably have to agree on a sum between the two figures – maybe $1, 900.00.  You have a good legal standing here because you have a written estimate.  The shop will tell you that “Once the guys got into it they found your wispy doodle had rotted out and your twiddle dee needed replacing so they just did it because you would not pass inspection unless….”  You have to stick to your guns and say, “But they never called me first to get an okay for the additional work.  Therefore I want to negotiate the charges down to approximately what was estimated.”

Scenario #3

You have hired a renovation outfit to up-date your kitchen.

Write out a list of what you want redone and why.  In addition, make a list of the materials that were used which do not meet specifications (hopefully, these are all visible and not behind a wall just waiting to fall apart).  Give the lists to the contractor and tell him that the remaining half of his payment will not be paid until what was done meets your quality expectation and contract specifications.

Do not raise your voice or call him names.  Just state what you want in plain objective language.  By repeating what you want several times, if necessary, he will understand that unless he fixes things, he will not be paid.

These stories illustrate that when it is your money, stand up and fight for what you intended to purchase.  Times are tough right now.  It is all too common for others to try and squeeze a little more of your hard earned cash out of you.  It is not right but it is happening.

This Week’s Scenarios

Scenario #1

You and your spouse are having dinner at the home of some very close friends. During the hors d’oeuvres, the other couple begins to take pot shots at one another. By the time the main course is on the table, your hosts are into a full blown argument. You and your spouse are extremely uncomfortable, especially when you are invited to side with one or the other. You inhale the meal and depart as quickly as possible. On the way home, you ask each other if you should have done something other than run away. Perhaps you should have said something – but what?  The situation has left you and your spouse feeling used, angry and deficient in some way because you could not figure out what to say and do at the moment.   What are your ideas for handling this all too common situation?

Scenario #2

You are a highly educated scientist at a high-tech company.  You work on very difficult technical problems requiring long hours of intense concentration and many time-sensitive, complicated tests. Your goals are about making scientific advances and keeping the company well ahead of its competitors.

The dumb broad who works in Human Resources, Janet Dupree, often interrupts your critical work at the worst possible time to interview scientific candidates.  This is part of her job, not yours.  In her three years as a Human Resources Analyst, Janet has never bothered to learn what the company does.  She doesn’t understand the science or the terminology.  Moreover, she appears to have no respect for your time or that of the other scientists.  Janet simply demands that you drop what you are doing to conduct employment interviews for her.

Your boss has asked that you assist Human Resources when you can but things are getting ridiculous.  Janet says she is only supposed to handle the basic areas of the interview leaving the technical and scientific questions to the scientific staff.  You and the scientific staff have a great deal of rage toward Janet.  What do you think you should do?

Scenario #3

You have an employee, Mark Destin, who thinks he is a fantastic performer when he actually is, by all measures, only mediocre.  One of his most annoying habits is his predilection for spewing out esoteric computer terminology indiscriminately.

Mark has just turned in a technical report which is supposed to convey some very complicated information to a non-technical audience.  What Mark has given you is a report that only a very knowledgeable technical person would understand.  Unfortunately, Mark has given you this report at the very last minute.  It is due to be printed up and distributed for a conference in less than two hours.  You are furious with yourself for giving Mark this responsibility and angry at him for not following your instructions (for a non-technical audience).  What should you do now?   

END