More Stuff > Development
Over time, we may have read numerous books and attended multiple trainings on communication. In our busy world, we have learned that one cannot always chop wood, but also has to take time to step back for a while and sharpen the ax, in order not to become inefficient, be left over and burnt out. A rather interesting quote comes to mind: "Wenn man in sich geht und darauf kommt, da ist keiner, ist das auch nicht so gut. Oder: Da sind (sogar) mehrere!" It translates as following: "If one goes into himself and there is nobody, that is not so good either. Or there are even multiple personalitities!" For once and for all, it is essential to know, who we really are.
Who are you, who, who?
People's Profiles. It all started with my daughter's artistic talent that lead her to bite gummy bears apart and reassemble them in different colours. Later on, I found the resulting picture on the camera. "Who are you?" isn't just a song title by The Who. It may be of the own interest to reflect on the rationale behind one's own motifs in life. Just like others try to read inside one through psychological profiling and aptitude tests in order to predict abilities and behaviour under certain circumstances. This may happen as part of entrance exams for training courses, medical examination for military service, candidate selection by job hunters and the identification of high potentials by career developers. The creation of a personality profile can follow countless methodologies.
Colour Coding. "You are a blue type," a colleague once said to me. Only to quickly clarify that this didn't mean a drunkard, because of the secondary meaning of the word "blue" in German language. Sometime later, a training pn Project Leadership, Management and Communication provided further insight into the Interpersonal Interaction Triangle. As part of Strength Deployment Inventory, colour coding is used to illustrate Motivational Styles. Its behaviour patterns are segregated into the following groups:
Areas of Competencies in leadership include diagnostic of strengths that can and should be reinforced rather than spending too much time on eliminating weaknesses that may just make people instantly likeable. Obviously, there is a great difference between and self- perception and the assessment by others.
Basic Human Orientations noted by Fritz Riemann include four prime obsessions and their connected anxiety. During as session on social competencies, we discovered that the TV-detective Monk with all his phobia of physical contact to others and obsession for detail and order is the archetype for a distance-statis type person.
Communication Styles according to the family therapist Virginia Satir build four main patterns of interaction on the previously discussed human interactions.
Gummy Bear Artwork: Aren't we all a mixture of colours?
Brainstorming Game. Role games for problem resolution such as the "Thinking Hats" assign different meanings to different colours. "Blue" is associated with the sky and standing above a situation like the chairman of a meeting. "White" like the blank sheet of paper represents those eager to gather information first, before forming their own opinion. Yellow" is the sun and as such the optimistic and positive standpoint. "Black" like a judge's robe represents critical thinking and negative approach. "Red" like the heart are those, who are passionate and emotional. "Green" is growth in spring, which is being associated with creativity and new ideas.
Four Temperaments is what could be regarded as the classic psychological approach for categorizing people. They are based on the Greek doctrine of the four body fluids, the four humours as by Hippocrates, each representing one main characteristic. What type of person are you primarily?
Four Dimensions of Personality are used in the analysis of one's cognitive style. The result may help understand the underlying motivation and dominating behaviour pattern behind one's decision making process. The approach with evaluating information leads to decision-making styles and problem-solving abilities. Personality is sized and categorized through self-assessments or interviews in one's working environment to determine one's potential. The following type indicators are in use:
Looking behind the Facade. Knowing each other's motivation behind argumentative positions and especially one's hidden internal drivers behind decisions can help us to respond better to doubts and concerns. At the same time it may help us to understand ourselves better at times. Or is it as another song title by The Who: "I can't explain!"
Self Assessment Attempt
And why do I do that? Are you eager to meet new people, including... your hidden self? Are you ready for more reflection up to a formal self assessment to dig out your whole personality profile? This would include your skills and interests, your current direction in life and your career plan to be. And let us not forget your tendency how to react under certain circumstances including pressure and stress as well as mapping out your personal value system. If you are eager to learn all of the above... just dream on or visit another website.
Statements that can ring a bell. The intention of this section is, as so often, the discussion of various thoughts that come to mind in different situations, which you may encounter day-by-day. Each paragraph starts with a more or less provocative quote on a topic, followed by initial reflection it has triggered. Please do not hesitate to fire me an e-mail with your own burning thoughts, in case you ever make it to the bottom of this page.
"Multi-talents are rare!" Some people have more than one talent. With some it is more and with others it may be less useful, helpful and commercially successful. Recently a colleague told me about a doctor, who was also offering his services as a dream reader. Which reminded me of Austrians, who used to visit Hungary for a hair cut and a dental treatment, an all in one service above the neck so to say. One of the biggest Laurel & Hardy fans and a book author in Germany has been a judge by profession. A friend's father has been both teacher and very talented hobby carpenter, who built an amazing rustic counter in the style of their billiard table. Just as my grandfather had after hours built the complete furniture of what we called the "green room," after the colour of its wood veneer. What are you good at, what is your talent, your gift, your core competency at work and at home? And then, going to the other side of the medal, what is your weakness? Are there activities you would rather constantly postpone, those little challenges in daily life, which make you nervous, when you just think of them?
"Don't bring work troubles home" is one of those very true statements that usually work... in theory. At the end of a bad day, it may only take a spark in order to be in the middle of the most serious argument about some small, unimportant stuff. In difficult times of change and stress people may assist each other by picking them up emotionally. And after someone got hit emotionally, he or she may need to bounce. Then it is better to identify a "punch bag", someone capable to listen to you as well as taking your blows, rather than bringing things home and letting the built up anger out at your beloved ones. So much for the theory, and now... good luck with the practice!
Positive Attitude. Always remember that it is so good to be positive. Exaggeration may be occasionally motivational or just another Americanism sneaking into our daily communication. It can be used as a form of appraisal, when the "well done" is just taken further into an "outstanding!" As a "traditionally good" colleague would put it, in fact many achievements are really amazing, astounding, awe-inspiring, breathtaking, extraordinary, hair-raising, heart-stirring, magnificent, marvellous, miraculous, moving, overwhelming, spectacular, spine-tingling, striking, stunning, stupefying, stupendous, wonderful ...just great!
Lost Love Languages. After years I decided to do my wife a favour and read her highly recommended book about love languages, a summary of Gary Chapman's findings on shortcomings in communication among couples. I had just finished the book on a plane and carefully stowed it in my luggage, but on the next day, when I returned to my hotel room, it was gone. "Who knows, whom it is helping now?", were my thoughts, when I claimed my loss at the reception desk, only to find the book a couple minutes later miraculously hidden under the blanket of the freshly made bed. Anyway, to cut a long story short, equally, as I almost lost the book, many people lose the ability to communicate with each other, as if there was nothing left so say after a couple years. In such situations it can help to focus on the ways of showing affection, which the other mostly responds to. Overall, there are five distinct behaviours for signaling emotional connection, a vocabulary that constitutes five different languages:
Too often people just express their affection in their own love language rather than learning the primary language the partner responds to. Knowing each other's expectations is a first step for sustainable improvement of mutual communication of feelings of affection!
Find a (quite old) Blog on the next page.
Talking about "who" as the motto for this page: Who would have thought to find billboards with the golden Strauss statue from Vienna on the other side of the globe?
"Be open-minded!" How often have we heard this well-meant advice, a popular entry in any "key to success"-list? Some people are very open for new suggestions, which can drive innovation and change. At the same time, there better be someone nearby with a good sense for reality, with both feet on the ground and decent judgment ability for an honest evaluation. Some may jump at fantastic new ideas right away, in order to please others with their anticipatory obedience. Others first try to analyze the underlying thought and ask questions to gather a more complete picture, before providing support or rejection. However, too many "good questions" can be interpreted as criticism, and are better kept under control, if one doesn't want to be branded as the Naysay. In the end both enthusiastic and considerate qualities are reqired to make things happen. Achievement and success can usually be traced back to two very general factors: You have to be both willing and able.
"To believe is to not know!" Do you trust in a higher force, the all-knowing creator, Our Father in Heaven? Are you a believer, regularly communicating with the beyond? Some consider prayer not too helpful for moving things. Others regard it as very powerful, for being a first step to address issues and reach out for support and empowerment to take things into one's own hands. They say, in World War II churches were sometimes spared by bombs, if big crowds prayed inside. There is some energy we don't see that prevents bad things form happening. Faith can be a backbone during hard times. To know that you are not alone, even if there is nobody around, is a motivational factor without equal. Obviously, you shouldn't just use prayer as an alibi to lean back and hope, while relying on others, but take action yourself, true to the motto: Help yourself and God will help you along the way! But with an open mind and heart you will more easily find the needed support, as there are good people around everywhere. So much for the theory.
"Doors are there to be opened" is one of those positive attitude remarks that just sound so nicely. Meant as a motivational statement, it encourages people to take things one step further and reach out beyond their usual limits. At the same time it stands for offering and opening up new possibilities, be it through interpersonal connections or personal development. Barriers are there to be broken through and innovation is part of extending our borders further. However, the saying should not be taken too literally. As a matter of fact, in a very physical sense doors are clearly built in to both connect and separate rooms. They fulfill a specific purpose, otherwise there would be only an open archway, an empty door frame or just a hole in the wall. By definition, doors are a movable structures used to close off an entrance, even to secure it. Doors help to keep the noise, heat and even smell in one place and are especially handy, if one searches for a little privacy after another hectic day. So just go ahead closing them without unnecessary arguments and metaphysical excuses. It is easier on your nerves.