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Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

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Command & Influence

by Rick Baker
On May 31, 2017

Some people possess a natural ability called Command. It is one of those natural-talent gifts. It provides a natural ability to magnetize, influence, and lead people.

But that natural ability can only be put to successful use if the talent of Command operates within 'fair' boundaries. And ‘fairness’ is an extremely subjective thing.

People have a very broad range of views about what is ‘fair’ in the area of Command and leadership. For example, Napoleon Bonaparte was either one of the greatest leaders of all time or he was the Antichrist. It all depends on your definition of ‘fairness’ [often moral fairness] as it relates to leadership. Most people have trouble seeing both sides of the argument and seeing both sides, of course, is essential if we are to truly understand let alone appreciate great leadership.

As a rule - With great strengths come great weaknesses.

Often, the most gifted leaders possess great flaws. If we choose to judge leaders by focusing on their flaws then we can generally find material flaws, deliver our harsh judgments, and diminish [at least in our minds] the truly gifted contributions of the leaders. Aside from satisfying our troubled egos, what good does that do? In my view, that delivers no value and misses the reality of leadership.

Leadership isn’t about perfection.

Leadership is about forerunning human excellence, with specific directions in mind and in action.

Leadership is about inspiring people and influencing people to follow.


PS: Napoleon Bonaparte is one of my heroes.

Tags:

Criticism: Constructive Criticism is an Oxymoron | Hero Worship | Influencing | Leaders' Thoughts

We are too tolerant of conflict!

by Rick Baker
On May 29, 2017

Are you better off following prescribed step-by-step conflict resolution processes designed by 'the experts' or drawing on your innate talents to resolve conflicts? Perhaps, for some people, there is merit in using someone else's detailed approach. However, how often have you seen that work in real life situations?

We should draw on our innate talents to resolve conflicts.

I have never seen canned processes for conflict resolution work in real life situation. We cannot be someone else so what would cause us to think we could use someone else's approach to conflict resolution? To the extent we find ourselves in situations of conflict we know we are at least partially responsible for our predicament [if not fully responsible]. We didn't follow someone else's steps when we walked our way into the conflict situation...so, we should not expect to be able to follow someone else's logical steps to find our way out of the conflict situation.

Often, we find ourselves in situations of conflict because:

1. we lack self-confidence and, as a result of that, we behave either too timidly or too aggressively and

2. we are too lazy to figure out how to avoid conflict or nip conflict in the bud when we know it has commenced.

We are too tolerant of conflict.

Some people even promote conflict in the workplace because they view it as a good, healthy, and productive way to communicate, make decisions, and delegate tasks.

That's interesting in many negative directions!

The results conflict promoters achieve at their businesses prove it is a high-risk-low-reward strategy. If that strategy ever worked it certainly has fallen out of vogue in recent decades. For example, under our Bill 168, we want people to feel secure at work. I expect Abraham Maslow would have supported this approach.

The reality is, some people – mostly people lacking self-confidence - either enjoy conflict with others or see it as a necessary component of work [and possibly life]. What can we expect from these die-hard conflict consumers and conflict distributors? Certainly, we cannot expect them to buy into following someone else's prescribed steps for conflict resolution. These people cannot follow such steps because they lack the innate talents required to avoid or resolve conflict.

And, if people possess the innate talents required to resolve conflicts then they can and should find their own natural ways to avoid and resolve conflict.

Either way, there is no need for experts to prescribe conflict resolution processes. These prescribed processes do not work because people either cannot follow them or do not need to follow them.

People need to understand themselves, work continuously at building and maintaining their self-confidence levels, educate themselves about innate talents and interpersonal interactions, and exercise self-control. These are the routes that lead to conflict avoidance and conflict resolution.

Take your big treasure chest of Curiosity off the shelf...dust it off...open it up...and put its contents to good use.

by Rick Baker
On May 28, 2017

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

At one time, you were an incessantly curious and creative person. You were chock full of curiosity. Over the years and through the criticism, you've locked much of your curiosity away...right beside your childhood dreams...and near your adolescent dreams.

Choose to take your big treasure chest of Curiosity off the shelf.

***

You were an incessant dreamer...night & day...light & heavy...fantastic...motivating.

Criticism and the trials of day-to-day life caused you to shelve many of your vibrant dreams.

Forgotten dreams, hidden gems, brightening lights.

***

"A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams."

John Barrymore

 

Talking Russian Roulette: shooting off your mouth, ignorant of what your brain has placed in the cylinder behind your muzzle.

by Rick Baker
On May 26, 2017

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

You meet people whose brain-to-mouth filters fail on a regular basis. 

And you see the damage happening in real time: damage to themselves, damage to others.

Choose your Reaction to Errors

by Rick Baker
On May 18, 2017

It is fascinating to watch how people respond to errors at work. Reaction to errors, their own errors and other people's errors, tells you a lot about people.

I tend to look at it this way...


 

...and as I observe you: 

I think about Attribution Bias.

I think about how other people react to and what people learn from your reactions.

I think about the culture you are generating.

***

Oblivious to errors - Does anyone possess that mindset? [reminds me of Mr. Magoo]

A Balanced approach to errors - If you think that is your approach to errors then what, exactly, do you mean by "balanced"? What does it mean for your errors? What does it mean for other people's errors?

Extreme Criticism - What, exactly, does that mean? How do you apply criticism to yourself? How do you apply criticism to other people? Are you consistent when you apply extreme criticism?

***

Does your reaction-to-errors choice take you closer to your long-term goals? farther from them? no idea?

Or, perhaps, you do not believe you have a choice?

***

I believe successful people have 3 main attributes: Intelligence, Willpower, & Drive.

Do you think successful people react to errors the same way you react to errors?

Do you think successful people plan their reaction to errors? 

Do you think successful people learn from observing reactions to errors?

 

Criticism, Adrenalin Spikes & Improving Relationships

by Rick Baker
On May 15, 2017

Some people naturally repulse criticism. These people may show outward signs of their repulsion. These people may not show outward signs, or their repulsion may hide so well it would take a professional observer to notice it. Regardless, internally, these people churn in reaction to criticism. For these people - even small, innocuous pieces of feedback can trigger intense internal reactions, floods of adrenalin – adrenalin spikes.

  1. Do you know people who show vehement reaction to tiny criticisms…people who have zero tolerance for incoming criticism?
  2. Do you know people who, at first, show no outward reaction to criticism then, later, strike excessive reactionary blows against the person who delivered the criticism?
  3. Do you know people who have the habit of claiming they are the victim of undue criticism?
  4. Do you know people who repulse criticism yet deliver it to others with gusto and righteousness?

These are four common reactions to criticism.

I have personally exhibited at least three of these four reactions to criticism…and, probably, many people would think I’m selling myself short by not admitting to all four.

Why?

Why would I have had such reactions to criticism?

Not having much knowledge of physiology or biology and only dabbling experience with psychology I answer that question this way:

  • When people criticized me, I experienced adrenalin spikes [or was that cortisol?]. I felt strong, churning, tightening sensations in the gut…quickly followed by combinations of anxiety and anger, often intense anger...then excessive negative thoughts and behaviour.
  • This reaction must have started when I was a very young child. I have no memory of reacting any other way to criticism [until the last decade, that is].
  • Perhaps, my criticism-repulsion was are due to genetics? Perhaps, my childhood environment? Perhaps, my early experiences with authority figures? I expect it was some combination of these things.

Here’s a curious thing. When you experience criticism-repulsion as a child you can be quite oblivious to other people. And, this can cause challenges…a large variety of interpersonal challenges. Left unattended, these interpersonal challenges can last a lifetime.

Here’s some good news. It is possible to gain self-understanding and create strategies to overcome the interpersonal challenges. The starting point, or at least one starting point, is recognition of the physiological changes that signal less-than-ideal reactions to criticism. People, perhaps most people, can alter their bad habits [including adrenalin spikes] if they choose to make the changes and do the work required.

 

PS: Perhaps, the people who experience the criticism-repulsion I have described are most capable of identifying it in other people? ... and helping others?  

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