angry-boss-firing-woman

How can a manager control his temper?

Which one is more effective: talking or barking?

angry-boss-firing-woman

When it comes to controlling emotions (temper) it is always easier said than done. But it can be trained and it all starts with creating self-awareness about our emotions. Having such awareness specifically denotes the importance of having a high degree of social & emotional intelligence in the discipline of management (the managing of others, whether employees, business relations or random members of our social circles).

how_to_control_your_temper_

We all know the cliché that is not so much a cliché actually but closer to a fact:

you can’t control something you do not know well

&

you cannot manage others if you can’t even manage yourself.

I try to remind myself that emotions can always choose the rational path of calm words (smart & effective communication) instead of deeds and automatic reactions (impulsive communication). But our emotional reactions are naturally faster than our rational considerations. That’s a bio-physiological fact we can’t do much about, but can only tame gradually through training and lots of practice.

Talking

If you think about it, you can always TALK about your emotions; how angry, disappointed, misunderstood, tensed, worried or impatient you are about a certain employee’s attitude or performance, instead of BARKING OUT these emotions.

But the problem of emotions control often arises when:

  1. We think that our true thought/position in a certain situation can only be fully communicated, understood & respected by others when it is accompanied by emotion.
  2. We think that others will only take us seriously when they see our emotions (which can be true by the way depending on your audience and their level of social intelligence)
  3. Talking is viewed as a sign of weakness (culturally or group-collectively) and barking as a form of strength (also, culturally or group-collectively).
  4. We are not the talking type that releases regularly and timely but the type that bottles up impressions about others until they evolve into powerful untameable emotions that erupt at once like a volcano in the most poorly-timed & destructive manner!

Coaching

Controlling emotions does not necessarily imply suppressing them, but rather channelling them to reach effective communication. That’s why a face-to-face setting is usually preferred in solving conflicts, with as less external factors as possible influencing the calm & effectiveness of communication.

Communication is best served when conducted in a rational manner based on words and voiced thoughts that describe our emotions clearly & constructively, instead of uncontrolled eruptions that describe our words and thoughts poorly & destructively.

quote-Robert-Quillen-discussion-is-an-exchange-of-knowledge-an-29277

Which one is better a discussion or an argument?

Let’s compare both and find out for ourselves.

discussion at work-openanswer

A discussion is a communication style of which the outcome is not predefined, while having “mutual understanding” as a pre-determined final goal before entering into it. A discussion is supposed to lead to the best solution of a given problem, a clarification of a misunderstanding or the best valuation of an idea, to mention some random examples.

Such “understanding” is to be reached & accepted by all engaged parties at the end of a discussion, based on healthy communication, proper exchange of ideas, information or opinions and genuine agreement (as opposed to artificial one for the sake of muting “high volumes”). It’s a collective, non-selfish & constructive process by nature (even if no outcome is reached yet).

Quote Michael P. Watson

An argument, on the other hand, is characterised by the “will to win” clearly visible through the show of interruptive emotions. An argument is less effective than a discussion in most cases but can be necessary depending on the counterpart’s openness to having a calm discussion. Having an argument is mostly the result of us being unable to suppress whatever emotion that we have at a given moment of discussing a topic, whether anger, impatience, anxiety, disappointment or sadness etc.

Paradoxically enough, having an argument at such times can be a healthy release of pent-up negativity; one that needs to be out of the way, first, for a calm discussion to take place.

work-argument-openanswer

I find arguments to be generally ineffective & counter-productive than discussions because their goal is either:

  1. Predefined: when we argue for the sake of arguing (releasing negative energy because we WANT to), OR
  2. Non-defined at all, when we argue because that’s all we can do now (releasing negative energy because we CAN’T discuss calmly)

Quote by Joseph Joubert

Therefore, enforcing an arguing style of communication is a counter-productive, selfish & unfair form of communication aimed at convincing the other party of one’s points of views, legitimizing the use of irrational communication (shouts, fictitious outrage, refusal of agreement, interruptions, unmeant disagreements, lack of self-reflection, manipulation of facts etc.).

An argument is at its best when it means “a reason given in proof or rebuttal”, only as part of a debate or a discussion and not as a way of communication.

Poet Sarah Kay

Spoken poetry: If I should have a daughter …

If I should have a daughter…

If I should have a daughter, I would have her listen to this

I would tell her she would never have to fall into the abyss,

That she is loved & worthy, regardless of others might say,

That she’s as cute, smart, funny & beautiful, as is Sarah Kay

And that she can be a more talented poet herself, one day.

So, when she thinks that her life is devoid from a true role-model,

And that the world is beating her down in a harsh & endless struggle,

That she doesn’t know any more who to love, hate, hug, or strangle,

That she could create one in her own fantastic imagination,

A lady freed from cultural dogmas & superficial fascination,

A fairy-tail young lady, more perfect than her life can present,

Confidently happy & content, yet as imperfect as reality can get.


Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter …

WRITING-STYLES

What books influenced your writing career the most?

Great question!

I have no writing career as such, but I do enjoy writing. I can better share who my favourite authors per language were & how others described my style of writing.

Naguib Mahfouz‘s novels influenced my Arabic the most. I read them all, except for about 7 novels. His novels are a must read for anyone who loves culture-rich literature.

Naguib Mahfouz

Naguib Mahfouz

Harry Mullisch‘s books must have influenced my Dutch, although I’m told to have a distinct non-typical Dutch style of my own through a blend of some English and Arabic influences, clearly obvious in my use of long sentences that don’t break my thoughts and my preferred use of formal jargon making it closer to “legal language”, like this one long sentence right here!

I read his most famed ones like “The Assault” & “The Discovery of Heaven”; a reading tip for lovers of world literature.

Harry-Mullisch

Harry Mullisch

English is more of an indiscriminate mix. Though, I recently received the valuable comment from my most valued critic, my father, that I have something of Franz Kafka‘s & Fyodor Dostoyevsky‘s styles in my critical writing (both non-native English authors by the way) . I considered such a far-fetched comparison a true compliment and one to follow-through with!

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka

Having read only the translations of their works, my thanks should go out to the translators, I guess; a humble ode to the most underrated professionals throughout history!

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Leadership

Leadership is not about titles and positions but about influencing others. Do you agree?

I disagree on this one.

If leadership is only measured by our random influence on the lives of others, then we may as well all be leaders in a general sense, since we always influence other lives to some degree, through our social being.

Leaders

In my opinion, leadership in general, whether good or bad (to stay within the generic question wording) is mainly concerned with the power to persuade others to follow what you do, say or believe in. There were always good and bad leaders, who shared the “leader” label, and who led others through a combination of charisma, eloquence, identification, power, inspiration, love, hate, fear and/or deception.

The good ones lead others to goodness.

worldtongue

What is the difference between a “dialect” and an “accent”?

Let’s test our knowledge first.

Is the funny secretary, “wanna-be interpreter”, in the video below imitating accents or dialects?

Actually the talented English comedian, Caterine Tate, is imitating none of the two in this comic video. She’s just making fun of the sound of some languages that are literally foreign to her; she speaks none of them. As such, she cannot be speaking in an accent or a dialect belonging to these languages.

Accents and dialects are often used interchangeably to describe the non-native sound of a spoken language. But accents and dialects mean two different things, in fact. I speak three languages fluently and in different dialects and accents; Arabic, English & Dutch. I also used to run a language services business for 5 years. So, the subject does intrigue me as such to delve into in more details.

What accents and dialects do have in common is that they are the natural results of “language competition” in people’s verbal communication system. They are mostly linked to those who speak, hear, know or are exposed to more than one language or to a form of language different than the official one because of geography, ethnicity or both.

Anglophone World Map

Anglophone World Map

Accents and dialects are both “spoken-form distinctions” from what is usually referred to as a Modern Standard Language form, spoken by a larger or a dominant group with a well-developed written form. While spoken Modern Standard Languages are commonplace in many (multi-cultural) countries like the US, the UK , The Netherlands, France and Germany, or even less multi-cultural ones like China and Japan, in Arabic countries as a region language is a different story.

The modern standard form of Arabic is only official, academic, literary, educational, legal, media-centred or written but no longer spoken by the common man in the street. So, all Arabic people in fact only communicate in Arabic dialects.

Arabic Dialects Map

Arabic Dialects Map

Some dialects are derived from other older languages and have evolved to become official forms of another language and are no longer dialects but official languages, like Mexican Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese & Cantonese Chinese (Hong Kong).

Spanish Speaking World

Spanish Speaking World

Some may put “Indian English” in a separate category too as a dialect and not only an accent, although not globally acknowledged, for having different uses in its official form and for being used by a very large population. But the large population of India (1.237 billion per 2012) already has its fair share of national dialects, as you can see below, making a sub-categorisation of “Indian English” both possible & impossible.

Dialects of India

Dialects of India

Accents relate to pronunciation differences of the same words pertaining to same meanings while using the standard grammatical & spelling form of a given official language. Dialects also relate to pronunciation but often have totally different words for the same meaning or same words for totally different meanings. Dialects also distinguish themselves for having distinctive (new or forgotten) words and language uses of their own.

One Word, Different Pronounciation

One Word,  one Meaning, but 5 different Pronunciation!

Having an accent can be an individual label of a person or one related to a certain group of people, usually characterized by having a shared native tongue or a shared/similar cultural background. In Holland, the second  biggest minority of Moroccans is believed to have a certain “Moroccan accent” (but not exactly a dialect) while native Dutchmen in the Eastern part of Holland do have a distinctive dialect with its own words, uses and phrases.

People of Levant Countries (Palestine, Syria, Jordan & Lebanon) have different dialects among them, but a shared one when compared to the more similar dialects of the Arabic Gulf Countries. (see Arabic Dialects Map, above)

The French Speaking World

The French Speaking World

Having a dialect is mostly a collective characteristic of certain people of a shared ethnic (but mostly geographical) background while sharing a standard form of language that is taught in main-stream schools. People in Rotterdam, my number one home city, have a distinct dialect than those of Amsterdam, but can speak Modern Standard Dutch (ABN or Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands), any time.

How do you say "Razor Blades" in Australian?

How do you say “Razor Blades” in Australian?

The most famous example is probably the difference between British, American, Canadian and Australian accents, which, while differing in word use and vocabulary sometimes, are more often called accents than dialects, probably because the official forms of these language forms are still very similar in vocabulary, use and grammar for the major part and because they are direct derivatives of British English.

British Dialects

British Dialects

This, while the Irish, Welsh and Scottish, for example still have their own original and official languages (Gaelic, Welsh & Celtic, respectively) that have had more influence in their variant of English than in the case of the US, Canada, New Zealand & Australia.