Elemental Truths

A resource compiled for business owners, education professionals, counselors, and other interested parties on effective management,conduct analysis, behavior research, best practice procedures, crisis techniques, counseling resources and a clearing house for associated needful materials and tools and training. Similar topics would be in the 100's section of the library on philosophy and psychology.

My Photo
Location: United States

Reg holds a Bachelors and a Masters in education and a Doctorate in counseling. In addition to working in the public school system he does consultation work, private tutoring and guest speaking.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Conflict Management Styles Survey

We each have our own way of dealing with conflict. The techniques we use are
based on many variables such as our basic underlying temperament, our personality,
our environment and where we are in our professional career. However, by and
large there are five major styles of conflict management techniques in our tool box. In
order to address conflict we draw from a collaborating, competing, avoiding,
harmonizing or compromising style of management. None of these strategies is
superior in and of itself. How effective they are depends on the context in which they
are used.

Each statement below provides a strategy for dealing with a conflict. Rate each
statement on a scale of 1 to 4 indicating how likely you are to use this strategy.

1 = Rarely 2 = Sometimes 3 = Often 4 = Always

Be sure to answer the questions indicating how you would behave rather than how
you think you should behave.

1. I explore issues with others so as to find solutions that meet everyone‟s needs.
2. I try to negotiate and adopt a give-and-take approach to problem situations
3. I try to meet the expectations of others.
4. I would argue my case and insist on the merits of my point of view.
5. When there is a disagreement, I gather as much information as I can and keep the lines
of communication open.
6. When I find myself in an argument, I usually say very little and try to leave as soon as
7. I try to see conflicts from both sides. What do I need? What does the other person
need? What are the issues involved?
8. I prefer to compromise when solving problems and just move on.
9. I find conflicts challenging and exhilarating; I enjoy the battle of wits that usually
10. Being at odds with other people makes me feel uncomfortable and anxious.
11. I try to accommodate the wishes of my friends and family.
12. I can figure out what needs to be done and I am usually right.
13. To break deadlocks, I would meet people halfway.
14. I may not get what I want but it‟s a small price to pay for keeping the peace.
15. I avoid hard feelings by keeping my disagreements with others to myself.

How to score the Conflict Management Quiz:

As stated, the 15 statements correspond to the five conflict resolution styles. To find
your most preferred style, total the points in the respective categories. The one with
the highest score indicates your most commonly used strategy. The one with the lowest
score indicates your least preferred strategy. However, if you are a leader
who must deal with conflict on a regular basis, you may find your style to be a blend
of styles.

Style Corresponding Statements: Total:

Collaborating: 1, 5, 7
Competing: 4, 9, 12
Avoiding: 6, 10 15
Harmonizing: 3, 11, 14
Compromising: 2, 8, 13

Collaborating Style: Problems are solved in ways in which an optimum result is
provided for all involved.
Both sides get what they want and negative feelings are minimized.
Pros: Creates mutual trust; maintains positive relationships; builds commitments.
Cons: Time consuming; energy consuming.

Competing Style: Authoritarian approach.
Pros: Goal oriented; quick.
Cons: May breed hostility.

Avoiding Style: The non-confrontational approach.
Pros: Does not escalate conflict; postpones difficulty.
Cons: Unaddressed problems; unresolved problems.

Harmonizing Style: Giving in to maintain relationships.
Pros: Minimizes injury when we are outmatched; relationships are maintained.
Cons: Breeds resentment; exploits the weak.

Compromising Style: The middle ground approach.
Pros: Useful in complex issues without simple solutions; all parties are equal in power.
Cons: No one is ever really satisfied; less than optimal solutions get implemented.

My survey is currently being utilized (with my permission) by the South Island Dispute Resolution Center.

Upcoming I will take a look at how these management styles might be used and possibly overused.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

November 14, 1970

On November 14, 1970 the plane carrying the Marshall University football team crashed in Wayne County, West Virginia, killing all on board.

 I was nine years old.

I was born in Huntington and lived in Wayne. The devastation was felt throughout our community.

On than rainy, dreary day I knew I would someday attend Marshall. In the mid eighties my wife, Patricia, and I graduated from Marshall and the memorial was still a big part of our community. My daughters tell me they want to be part of the Big Green as well.

May all the sons and daughters of Marshall remember and reflect on this day.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Carl Jung

Carl Jung wrote the book Personality Types, or more correctly "Psychologische Typen." The book was originally published in German. Which, I thought was a little weird because he was actually Swiss; in a little town called Kesswil. So, I figured the language would be either French or Italian. But, I guess I should never underestimate the influence of German expansion..

Anyway, Carl Jung wrote this book about personalities. It was basically an exercise in self discovery. See Jung felt from his early childhood that he was two different people. He even referred to himself as Personality number 1 and Personality number 2. He considered himself an out going, happy go lucky school boy. He also considered himself a stoic reserved many of dignity and reserve.

It was of interest to me that his dad was an impoverished and  very reserved pastor of the Swiss Reformed Church. On the other hand his mother was the daughter of a well to do Hebrew professor.

His mother was a firm believer in the spirit world and held steadfast in her belief that she was visited by spirits on a nightly basis. It is fair to say that her view of reality was somewhat askew. But, what the hey. Most of the time she was really good fun to be around. That is until bouts of depressed found her sequestered in her bedroom for time on end.

The following is an excerpt from the Daily Grail.

For much of his career Jung obscured his interest in the occult, in his later years his writings on Gnosticism, alchemy, the paranormal, spiritualism, and even flying saucers brought these otherwise marginal areas into the field of respectable research. Predictably, Jung’s occult inclinations led to criticisms of irrationalism. Like Ludwig Klages, Jung has been seen by many on the left as a dangerous exponent of völkisch ideas. The neo-Marxist philosopher Ernst Bloch, himself no stranger to Rosicrucianesque utopias, once described Jung as a “fascistically frothing psychoanalyst.” Other neo-Marxist philosophers, like Theodor Adorno, likewise branded Jung a fascist. The tag was perhaps first made seriously by the German-Jewish cultural philosopher Walter Benjamin, who, unlike Adorno, had some interest in occult ideas, specifically the cabala and graphology, a discipline he shared, ironically, with the “fascist” Klages. (Benjamin was also a close friend of the cabalist scholar Gershom Scholem, who, as mentioned, was an associate of Jung at the Eranos lectures.) Adorno, Bloch, and others saw Jung’s psychology as a simple celebration of the unconscious, a rejection of the rational, critical mind in the same vein as the work of the more straightforward irrationalist Klages, whose ideas about “soul” in opposition to “spirit,” they argue, helped prime the German psyche for Hitler. The fact that Jung, like many others, at first believed that the creative potential of Germany might find fruitful expression through Hitler couldn’t have helped. According to Jung’s psychology, the “shadow” side of the psyche, though associated with “evil,” can often be the source of “good,” of new life and transformation, and Jung reportedly spoke of the Nazis as “a chaotic precondition for the birth of a new world,” a nod to Nietzsche’s remark that “One must have chaos within oneself to give birth to a dancing star.” This, in a way, exemplifies the dangers of “holy sinning,” and reminds us that even great men can be blinded by their ideas. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

How to Plan Training for Executives and Professionals

The main purpose of executive training goes far beyond instruction about current innovations, the key purpose is to build a collaborative unit capable of long term success.

Content Considerations
When you plan to bring together a group of professionals it is very important to demonstrate that you respect their time as a high value item. In order to demonstrate that respect it is imperative that you provide the training in digestible segments. For a day long planning you should never attempt to train on more than three main concepts. Any training that could be conducted in less than that amount of time should be provided as independent material for that self-starting professionals are capable of absorbing on their own. Any training that requires more than a day broken into four segments is too large for one training and should be deconstructed into manageable portions.

Let's Break that Schedule Down
To make the absolute best use of the time break your morning into two blocks of ninety minutes. Plug in a decompression break between the two morning sessions. Schedule a lunch break with enough time for participants network process and absorb. Develop the afternoon session on the same pattern. Never, expect participants to attend to training for more than ninety minutes at a time. In fact, that ninety minutes is really a series of shorter focus elements that combine to create the actual ninety minutes.

Avoiding Death by Power Point 
One of the most prevalent complaints listed on professional development feedback forms is frustration participants experienced at being read to. One more time for emphasis. DON'T READ TO YOUR PARTICIPANTS.

Successful professionals didn't get to be successful professionals by not being able to read. What need is valuable information presented in a manner that allows dialogue and interactions.

Slides are a jumping off point. A good rule of thumb is no more than one slide every three to five minutes. More than that is distracting. Less than that can be monotonous. 

Expert Insight 
Keep in mind the average adult attention span is about twenty minutes. That mean in order maximize your impact the most important information of your training should take place in the first twenty minutes of each session. That means each of your ninety minute sessions into four twenty minute sessions with time for transition and refocus between each focus topic. 

  • training plan
  • powerpoint
  • training

Monday, October 25, 2010

How to Respond to Left Wing Viral Emails

My friends and family of the left wing persuasion have finally taken me off their distribution lists for those viral emails. But not for the reason you might think. Not because I expressly don't engage in political pontificating. Not because I asked them not to send me these messages. No, it was another reason entirely.

You see I  research the facts and then reply to those emails. I systematically deconstruct the  talking points. You turn on the light of day enough times, and they take you off their email lists.

Now, not everyone is as much of a wanker as I am but, break down one or two and you will make your point.

Here is WSJ's Fred Barnes take on the issue. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Truth About Myers Briggs Personality Tests

First do you know who Myers Briggs is?

Well, actually Myers Briggs isn't anybody. But Myer, Briggs are two people. What they are is a mother and daughter who became enamored of a book Carl Jung wrote in 1921 called Psychological Types.

Katherine Cook Briggs read a book and got all excited about it. So, she told her married daughter Isabel Briggs Myers about the book.

Well on to their qualifications. Katherine Cook Briggs as near as I can tell was an upper middle class housewife with a lot of free time on her hands. I don't find any record of her formal education. But, her dad was on the board of directors of a university and her husband was an attorney. So, she had access to a lot of people to try out the survey she was creating and legal protection if things didn't go well.

On the other hand Isabel Brigs Myers did have a degree. After being home schooled by her mother, who by the way was home schooled by her own mother, she was able to obtain a bachelor of arts degree in Political Science. Yes, Political Science.

Really? Yes, really. In fact a quote from Isabel's writing may bring things into clarity for you.  " you can do things without having formally studied them."

Okay, so who is Carl Jung, again?

The answer to that question will be the subject of the next post.

Monday, September 20, 2010

9 Tips For A Sanguine Looking For Work

One of the temperaments types that often finds itself in trouble is the sanguine. They have such an outgoing personality that is so driven to keep the party going that they often make agreements which require much more commitment than they are capable of providing.

A number of times I have found sanguines utterly miserable because they have chosen a field which wasn't "social" enough for them. Often they find themselves in the health profession. The initial flash of this job draws them like a moth to flame. However, they soon find themselves chaffing at the long term commitment necessary for the care of others.

If you are a sanguine at a time in your life that you are considering a career change, you should give some thought to real estate.

Here are some attractive factors for the sanguine interested in the real estate profession.
  • Now matter how much you plan your schedule must be able to change at the spur of the moment.
  • Being out of the office for a couple of days doesn't mean you won't make money.
  • Real estate is a constantly changing market.
  • There will ALWAYS be a market for real estate.
  • Real estate is an EXTREMELY social business.
  • You can create your own schedule.
  • You will make a enormous impact on the life of others.
  • There is an excellent income potential.
  • You work for yourself and outsourcing of your position will never be a problem.