WHERE IS THE LINE BETWEEN A POSITIVE ATTITUDE -SEEING THE FULL HALF OF THE GLASS- AND DENIAL OF REALITY?..
In Camus' short story "Jonas or The Artist at Work" Jonas the painter expresses constantly his gratitude towards his lucky guiding star. He keeps going forward with serenity and acceptance, even when he is charged a huge rent for an apartment with very narrow rooms (rent included the "cubic air" accumulated under the very high ceilings). Even when his numerous daily visitors deprive his baby of sleep and do not let him work at his paintings. And even when a gallery owner proposes him an obviously disadvantageous deal.
It was Camus' short story that gave me more understanding of the position of two of my clients in a multi-cultural conflict management situation: a high-tech start-up, a CEO and a Director of Operations. As the heat of the market and the anxiety increase, my clients find themselves arguing excessively over the attitude toward the development of their product.
As it turns out though, the conflict included some personal / cultural issues: the CEO believes that there is that much one can do to influence the course of events. The Director of Operations believes that the CEO avoids taking responsibility as a leader and hides behind this belief that there is that much one can do, after which one needs to trust things will happen.
What are your opinions? Can you guess what are the cultures of origin of the two clients?
I am very happy to have participated at a round table discussion with Ionut Ancutescu, representing Forbes Romania. The event was organized by George Roth, Honorary Consul of Romania in San Francisco, and organizer of Romanian American Business Network (RABN). It was an extremely interesting, lively discussion, where several generations of Romanians, mostly entrepreneurs and high-tech professionals, dialogued about what it means to be a Romanian in Silicon Valley.
One of the most interesting participants was Anda Gansca. A Stanford graduate, at her 23 years old Anda is involved in some extremely exciting projects. She is CEO and Co-founder of the start-up called Knotch (together with Stephanie Voltesun). In my work I use psychology, sociology and systems theory, so I liked to hear her using the expression (new for me) sentimental analysis. I am very curious about how could I use my skills and knowledge in this area of virtual social networks.
The poster contains all the necessary words, just in a different order: "Like", and "we need your support". As I said in a previous commentary to the NY Times article (“The Island Where People Forgot to Die”), it is the meaning, the metacommunication that occurs beyond the verbal what matters the most. The fine line between humorous and offensive creates a sort of adrenaline rush. I believe that sarcasm, in its most complex forms, creates a psychological double bind and psychological tension. Depending on circumstances, this tension will be released either toward anger/aggression, either toward a relief, a relaxation.
Part of my work (www.synergiscounseling.com/anger-coaching) is to help clients identify (real or perceived) psychological double binds. They can be present within any social system: work environment, group of friends, family, couple relationship, community, nation, etc. In fact, since we are in the middle of it, politicians use very often psychological double binds to push the voters in the desired direction.
Forbes Romania met with members of the Romanian Business Network, most of them working in the IT sector in the Bay Area.
See bellow the article in Forbes Romania.
I really admire this amazing Danish professional, Jesper Juul, who seems to truly go to the bottom of the issue of social relationships. He uses a lot of systems theory concepts, but he adds to that a certain warmth, rather than the cold evaluation that is characteristic to Minuchin, Watzlawick, Gregory Bateson, Jay Haley, or other systemic thinkers.
"Personal language -'I want', 'I don't want', and so forth- only works if it really is personal. If it is undetermined, used for other purposes, or used as a linguistic trick, such as merely replacing 'you' with 'I', it ceases to be effective. Those [...] who grew up in families in which personal language was forbidden or considered unsuitable, need time to rediscover this form of expression, but it is worth the effort. It is invaluable in rescuing not only our relationships with our children, but our relationships with spouses, parents, colleagues, superiors -- and ourselves. "
Applying this to my clients who are busy professionals:
Personal language has to do with knowing that someone addresses us in a genuine way. That they really mean what they communicate to us, that they are able to personalize their talk, their discourse, their communication. If someone really makes an effort to have a genuine dialogue with us, by using a personalized language, we feel that they truly appreciate us as we are. That means that we matter, that we count, that we exist!
Juul makes sure to specify that no behavioral or any other change will occur within a social system, which in this case is the stressful work environment, if we merely mimic the personal language, if we just pretend, imitate, reproduce a technique seen or learned in a coaching workshop.
There are thousands of motivational speakers and coaches out there who are very popular for "inventing" a recipe of how to fix relationships with others and/or your own self. However, real and durable change is not possible by applying recipes, by transforming the communication with Self or others into standardized, mass-produced interactions, delivered by a wellness machine.
It is the reason for which Synergis Counseling is working in a highly personalized manner. We custom our knowledge and expertise to EACH AND EVERY CLIENT. This ensures long term results, and not only a temporary decrease of the conflict level.
Synergis specializes in working with highly skilled, busy professionals who are experiencing difficulties in their workplace and/or personal life.
We work individually with each of our clients in order to help them identify
THEIR PERSONAL LANGUAGE, their specific way of relating and interacting with their staff, colleagues or friends.
This is why our "method" cannot be copied or reproduced, since it is PERSONALIZED, recreated every single time from scratch around a specific individual and circumstances.