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.

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 …

self_motivation

If you can’t motivate yourself, nobody else will. Do you agree?

Yes, and no.

Self-motivation, when existent, is more powerful than any external motivational factor, yes. It’s no wonder that “self-motivational abilities” are often mentioned as a characteristic trait/habit of the majority of successful people.

Achieve-Greater-Success-With-a-Daily-Self-Motivating-RegimenHaving said this, I also believe that all humans experience some degree of low motivation at some stages of their lives, as a result of continuous hardships, disappointments or “bad luck”, even when they’re putting in their utmost energy and positive hope in it. In such case, the power of external motivation comes in very handy or even necessary. 

Sometimes that inspirational voice in ourselves dies out or is muted down though all kinds of factors and it does no harm in such case to call in the help of external motivators, whether professional or simply existent in our comfort zones; a good friend, a colleague or a family member. 

Tony Robbins: Why we do what we do

Motivation has become an industry of itself, with big names like Anthony Robbins inspiring millions around the world with what often sounds like common sense but nonetheless very powerful to hear repetitively. But also through world-famous platforms like TED Talks featuring people from all backgrounds and colours who share the most inspiring words that we need to hear in order to revive our desire to achieve, flourish or believe in ourselves once again.

Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation

 

 

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

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.

famous-leadership-quotes-376

“Leadership is a position of servitude”. Do you agree?

I agree & I disagree.

I agree to a certain extent, from a personally preferred view, hoping it may one day become a true widely-spread belief that leadership is a position of servitude. This is, regardless of the distinct connotation the middle-age English word “servitude” has, relating to enslavement, slavery or lack of freedom.

Servitude

If approached philosophically, whether leadership is a position of “servitude” or “service” should not really matter, if the pursuit of such position is driven by genuine passion for driving prosperity, spreading wellness and caring for the followers in all fairness and equality. These are just words. And men, great men and great leaders are judged by their deeds, not by their words no matter eloquent. A true leaders rolls up his sleaves and guides his followers from the front, if not literally then figuratively.

LeaderQuote

We all know that leaders are not exactly “enslaved” or limited in their powers or freedoms through power possession, as power is not supposed to enslave, or is it? If anything, power, we are told, has the tendency of corrupting its possessor and that absolute power may corrupt absolutely. Could this, too, be a form of enslavement?

One can also argue that it rather should matter whether leadership receives the poetic label of “servitude” or not, using the argument that such an elevating description would do leadership good. After all, people tend respond well to emotionally loaded names & adjectives that have a spirit-uplifting resonance to them, especially when such names take them to a dreamy world of abundant wealth, freedom and equality, away from their daily reality of poverty,oppression and injustice (if applicable).

team-leadership-quotes
Many political leaders,  including presidents or prime ministers refer to their post as “Public Service”, not being ashamed of attaching “service” to their position, rather proud. CEO’s of super large multinationals, may choose to refer to themselves as such too, when their position indeed influences the lives of hundred-thousands of people. That’s how it works.

Yet, I’m yet to witness a leader who refers to his or her position as one of “servitude” and attach commendable deeds to the noble words. It’s a matter of semantics; the connotation of which cannot be misinterpreted, not by a dumb politician or a socially-handicapped business leader and certainly not by the receiving audience; “the electorate”, whether citizens or customers. (If you think about it, customers do elect their leaders too)

(Let’s don’t dwell too much in a discussion on the power of Public Relations, here)


But I also disagree, because I generally have a distrustful relationship with (paternalistic) “euphemisms”. They sound temptingly nice but may be very deceptive in nature & content. Euphemistic words or descriptions that conceal their right meaning, preying on people’s oblivion of their reality are plenty enough in our world.

what-is-servant-leadership

To move on from “public service” to “public servitude” through “servant leadership” can be a perfect PR-slogan, symbolizing a much higher commitment to serving others almost closer to being “enslaved by the needs & rights of the public”, whether citizens, employers, employees, customers or any type of stake-holders, who put leaders in such a high or leading positions. But is this really true or enforcible? I don’t think so, as it rarely, if ever, happens on a perceivable scale.

“Servitude” is a personal preference. “Service” is closer to reality & realism.

Let “service” be “service”. It’s good enough!