How to deal with fools in your life

January 25, 2013

 

 blog-05611

I was puzzled for many days due to irrational behavior of someone.  I was reading a book by Robert Greene called Mastery and it had a section that helped me keep my sanity.  This prompted me to share the one page of info from this book (mostly as it is) for anyone who is going through it.  This book is very good – for career and personal life, recommend buying it.

Author writes, ” In the course of your life you will be continually encountering fools. There are simply too many to avoid. We can classify people as fools by the following rubric: when it comes to practical life, what should matter is getting long-term results, and getting the work done in as efficient and creative a manner as possible. But fools carry with them a different scale of values:

  • They place more importance on short-term matters-grabbing immediate money, getting attention from the public or media, and looking good.
  • They are ruled by their ego and insecurities.
  • They tend to enjoy drama and political intrigue for their own sake.
  • When they criticize, they always emphasize matters that are irrelevant to the overall picture or argument.
  • They are more interested in their career and position than in the truth.
  • You can distinguish them by how little they get done, or by how hard they make it for others to get results.
  • They lack a certain common sense, getting worked up about things that are not really important while ignoring problems that will spell doom in the long-term.

The natural tendency with fools is to lower yourself to their level. They annoy you, get under your skin, and draw you into a battle. In the process, you feel petty and confused. You lose a sense of what is really important. You can’t win an argument or get them to see your side or change their behavior, because rationality and results don’t matter to them. You simply waste valuable time and emotional energy.

In dealing with fools you must adopt the following philosophy: they are simply a part of life, like rocks or furniture. All of us have foolish sides, moments in which we lose our heads and think more of our ego or short-term goals. It is human nature. Seeing this foolishness within you, you can then accept it in others. This will allow you to smile at their antics, to tolerate their presence as you would a silly child, and to avoid the madness of trying to change them. It is all part of the human comedy, and it is nothing to get upset about or lose sleep over.

This attitude – “Suffer Fools Gladly“- should be forged in your Apprenticeship Phase, during which you are almost certainly going to encounter this type. if the are causing you trouble, you must neutralize the harm they do by keeping a steady eye on your goals and what is important, and ignoring them if you can. The height of wisdom, however, is to take this even further and to actually exploit their foolishness – using them for material for your work, as examples of things to avoid, or by looking for ways to turn their actions to your advantage. In this way, their foolishness plays into your hands, helping you achieve the kind of practical results they seem to disdain.”

You can purchase this book at Amazon.Com

(Credit – Mastery, Author Robert Greene, Published by Penguin Group, New York 10014, 2012, page 163-164)


How to Stay Healthy for Leaders & Managers

February 8, 2012

Working more than 40 hours every week? Stressed? Exhausted?  By working more and not paying attention to what your body wants, you are preparing yourself for burnout. Leaders and managers are working to exceed expectations, be more productive and dedicating more time and energy into resolving issues at work .

Eat Healthy

Technology was supposed to get things done faster and make life easier, instead we use available time to multi-task.  Be it commuting to work or flying out for business, crunching numbers for report or firefighting an issue with BlackBerry Messenger while on vacation, preparing for big presentation or making decisions about hiring or firing – we have so many things going on in parallel.  These things take a toll on our mind, body and relationships.

Health is Wealth – you got to maintain balance in life.

I visited a retired executive who was having many health related issues and end up leaving the top position early to take care of the health.  Conversation came to health matters after him talking about all the achievements and sacrifices he had made in his career.  His conclusion was simple, as evident to all of us but neglect always, “Health is Wealth – you got to maintain balance in life”.

I thought of sharing my take on how leaders and managers should pay attention to maintaining good health.  My opinion is if our body is not healthy, our mind is going to work less than optimum.  If our mind is not giving 100% – every thing suffers, from attitude to relationships to our work.

We can help our country, society, organization and family succeed and grow by staying healthy.  Prevention is the best cure.

Here are some reminders, I think we all know basically how to stay healthy:

  1. Sleep well – 7 to 8 hours without interruption prepares your mind to take on new and complex issues.
  2. Eat right and eat light –  Breakfast in morning is must (I had missed many myself in past), lunch and dinner with combination of grains and vegetables. Eat little less than you need to eat. Low sugar, low sodium and low-fat diet.
  3. Drink water –  stay away from any flavoured drink. Tea or coffee once a day is fine.
  4. Walk and take the stairs if possible.
  5. Excercise and stretch out during work day. Enjoy the sun and fresh air.  Take a stroll just after lunch.  Connect with people.
  6. Take deep breaths – for at least 5 minutes.  Metaphorically – your job is to fill your lungs with all the Oxygen you can breathe in so that remote areas of your lungs can get fresh air. Shallow breathing is not doing  good to your lungs.
  7. Think positive and good about anything and everything. Maintain an attitude that all is happening with your pre-consent and you are just watching it unfold.  Do not panic. Enjoy quiet moments, do not jump to your social media or email inbox.
  8. Nutrition helps body. Take your vitamins regularly.
  9. Talk to your good friends and family members – with full attention on conversation and not as a chore. Play with and talk to your kids daily. Try to have one meal with family daily.
  10. Regular doctor visits and physical examinations are essential.
  11. Take vacations – leave work behind, it’s not going anywhere 😉

Learning from 2011 ( #3lessons )

December 31, 2011

When reflecting on 2011, as most of us do each year, I find the year very successful and I find myself fortunate enought to have made significant improvements in personal and professional lives. It made me interested what others are thinking.  Twitter was good source and here is compilation of 3 lessons hash tag on twitter. I have tried my best to provide credit to all contributors as I noted in tweets.

  • @CJamesCatStrat
    • trust your heart then head;
    • know you can change the world;
    • connect with depth and meaning.
  • @nowaffle
    • make a difference;
    • lover yourself;
    • respect others.
  • @mariemilligan
    • open-hearted risk taking;
    • belief & action in greater good;
    • laugh & love like its your last day on earth.
  • @kevindaugh_herty
    • don’t take anyone for granted;
    • enjoy the moment;
    • have a great haircut.
  • @umairh
    • ignore the haters;
    • listen to what matters;
    • create the future.
  • @ohheygreat
    • be okay saying “I don’t know, can you teach me?”;
    • to what scares you and learn from it;
    • love like crazy.
  • @letuboy
    • go big;
    • embrace failure;
    • be better.
  • @mosharrafzaidi
    • put yourself in others’ shoes;
    • give everyone more than once chance;
    • avoid unproductive negative energy.
  • @kulveervirk
    • add value to whatever you do;
    • life if good if you work for greater good;
    • quality of questions determines what you get as an answer.

Fountain of Wisdom

February 18, 2011

Rose & Robert Skillman Library in Detroit has engraving “The Fountain of Wisdom Flows Through the Books“. To drink from this fountain, I continue to read books and here are some that I have completed recently and would like to share with my subscribers and visitors.  I have more detail posted here.

These 3 books are totally unique but fit in for a balanced approach towards any leadership or managerial role that you play in your life.

  1. Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down John P. Kotter, Harvard Business Press, 2010
  2. Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t Jeffrey Pfeffer, HarperBusiness, 2010
  3. It’s Not Just Who You Know: Transform Your Life (and Your Organization) by Turning Colleagues and Contacts into Lasting, Genuine Relationships Tommy Spaulding, Crown Business, 2010

Why Should You Read These 3 Books?

Buy-In:  A leader or manager has to sell the idea, proposal or get an agreement.  Getting people buy-into is the critical task.  You will learn two things – first, how to protect your good ideas from being shot down and second, how to win the support of stakeholders when it really matters.  Naysayers will use 4 strategies of fear mongering, delay tactics, confusion and/or ridicule to derail the idea.

As we all know that good idea alone will not survive. This book offers 24 major attacks or objections (that people use time and time again) and how to handle them properly. Link provides 24 responses to these attacks.

Skillman Library in Detroit

Skillman Library in Detroit Courtesy: Wikimedia

Power:  For a leader or manager, being power less is not an option. If you can influence any decision, you got some power. Projects and initiatives of people who are associated with people of authority gets their way in any organization.  Some might have the different opinion of the use of power (i.e. Machiavellian style), but lets use the perspective that if you have power, you can do more good to your cause, organization and society. I will add quote from Baltasar Gracian:

The sole advantage of power is that you can do more good.  The Art of Worldly Wisdom, 1647

This book contains excellent advice and analysis about gaining power in corporations and politics.  You may not agree with all that is said like perception is reality (but for how long?), but its a good read and use what you feel appropriate with good intentions.

It’s Not Just Who You Know: Leaders and managers accomplish a lot by building rapport at all the levels, they are resourceful and get the work done for greater good.  This book fits right where both other left.  If you believe that great relationship in life make all the difference, you will enjoy it. Author does not give out any specific formula but shares his own experiences and then elaborates on how one should apply them in life. I used this book to learn from someone’s life how genuine interaction helps build great relationships.

This book is not you scratch my back and I scratch you back type but follows Carnegie’s classic How to Win Friends…

Author shares many inspiring stories and all underscore that relationship building begins with your genuine and sincere attention on the others and it’s not about you. Do not push for the things that you want, figure out what they need.  Also, author stresses that exploiting relationships for quick personal gains or favors will eventually ruin the foundation and it soon becomes transactional business relationship.

As a leader, you do not want to accomplish a lot in business but also would like to have strong relationships similar to great balance sheet or super annual report.  If you miss out building genuine and sincere relationships at all sectors of life, work and business included, you will be alone at top.

References:

  1. http://www.kotterinternational.com/KotterPrinciples/BuyIn/AttacksAndResponses.aspx

Community Leadership – Lessons Learned

March 3, 2010

How do you play shows some of your character, how do you win or lose shows all of it. – Anonymous

For last couple of months, I have been quite busy with community leadership related work.  I had an opportunity to mentor and advise leadership team on the issue that was dividing the community. I  also had to stand up against the group of people whom I found was neither acting fairly nor was impartial. Per my research, it was abuse of power and leadership role.

It is now over and resolved satisfactorily, but it was a learning experience for me and I would like to share my lessons that I have gathered from both sides, without referencing to any incident.  One side was new and young group of individuals who was selected to lead the community and other group had been in control for over 16 years was not giving up the power and resisting the change.

When I reflect on my decision to support the new and young group get their right, I feel great that I could serve the community. 

Here are some of the common sense lessons I learned from both sides of the issue –

  1. As with each problem, understand the issue; background of politics & people involved and their agendas;
  2. Always be fair, remain truthful and act impartial towards all – if you want to be really helpful;
  3. Read any relevant document being referred; do not just believe what is being told;
  4. Don’t sit on the fence and enjoy conflict, become active if you are passionate about the issue and can contribute;
  5. Talk to leaders and offer your help to mediate; negotiate with win-win mental model;
  6. Not every effort to resolve issue will be welcomed, negotiations will fail miserably, stay hopeful – any conflict has its own life cycle as well;
  7. Expect rumors, allegations and indirect threats – do not waste all of your energy on addressing these;
  8. Talk to community members, educate about the issue, tell the truth and share the facts;
  9. Keep all doors open for compromise; find out what price are you willing to pay to keep community together;
  10. Find influencers in the community, get them on your side and ask for help, validate your interpretation of the issue;
  11. Do not quit or bend against pressure if you know you are standing for the truth and justice, you will face lots of pressure and many curve balls;
  12. Whatever you negotiate, offer or communicate, make in writing;
  13. Do not go negative; don’t get involved with personal attacks on opposite group;
  14. Deliver response to any negative propaganda with facts and positive tone – remember truth is like the Sun and false propaganda as clouds, the Sun will eventually shine, the truth will always prevail;
  15. Do not get into reactive mode, expect urge to say negative – but control it;
  16. Remember truth has to go through tough test before it wins;
  17. Keep your head high, keep thinking positive and stay visible in community or group;
  18. Always remember that difference of opinion is natural human behavior, other people might be thinking you are wrong;
  19. Seek lawyer’s help if needed, you need to get involved in fund-raising, planning course of action is key to success;
  20. Do not twist the facts, do not talk out of context, do not exhibit attitude towards people who aren’t agreeing with your opinion;
  21. Always seek advice of people who can tell the truth and fact of the matter, not your supporters only who speak your mind and tell you one-sided story;
  22. If what you hear is truth and is contrary to your belief, consult and reflect that you are not manipulating the situation;
  23. Establish a core group who offers views of issues without any prejudice;
  24. Listen to truth and act upon it, keep your mind open to everything but attached to nothing;
  25. Do your best in every circumstance even if no one is watching you, do not do things to impress others;
  26. Expect victory if you are truthful, impartial, positive, open and just towards all;
  27. Do not give advice to score point or take credit, keep it simple and make it team effort;
  28. Expect confusion in your group, keep all informed and motivated;
  29. Once you get what you want, do not demean other group but let it go;
  30. It will take some time to heal the divide, but keep focused on delivering value to community;
  31. Do not cling to power but work on empowering others to lead;
  32. Power is to serve community not to rule, you may have to make tough decisions;
  33. When you are serving as a leader, it’s not walking on red carpet – you are there to take on challenges; and
  34. Any choice or decision should be based on good for all not only for you.

When I talked about the issue in my community with friends in other communities, all told me one or other kind of similar story in their community or organization.  I hope my lessons will help or guide someone someday.

Thanks for your visit and comments on the post.


11 Principles of Leadership

August 20, 2009

 I came across 11 leadership principles of Marine Corps in Guide Book for Marines on the Internet and here is my interpretation of 11 principles.  I am interested in hearing from Marines about their leadership experience. 

  1. Take responsibility – we need to seek and take responsibilities if we need to grow; never shy away, whatever seems challenging will help you expand your perspective.
  2. Know yourself – reflect upon your strengths and weaknesses; seek improvement and understand that you can achieve only those goals that you set.
  3. Set an example– conduct your business in a professional manner; do not loose temper – small minds are bothered by small problems; not only work in your job but also work on your job as well.  Be a brand that people want to associate with.
  4. Develop your subordinates– consider this as part of your job; learn to delegate; as Zig Ziglar said “You can have everything in life that you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want“; give them opportunities to learn & grow;  guide them if they fit somewhere else.
  5. Be available – in every respect; be available to listen to problems and challenges people are facing; to motivate, to lead and to show right direction; to hear criticism; to take decisions and to act on time.
  6. Look after the welfare of your employees – the way you want your boss to look after your welfare; develop emotional intelligence; connect with people and find out what motivates them; do something that touches their lives; help them when they are in need.  Arrogance and ignorance will not take you to the top or won’t keep you there for long.
  7. Keep everyone well informed  – right communication is the key; make sure that the tasks are understood, supervised and accomplished on time and tell why you need all this done; do no assume –  aks and tell.
  8. Set goals that are achievable – always set the goals – people need to know what they are expected to deliver and by when; let people figure out how;  goals should motivate teams to act; measure the results and reward people.
  9. Make sound and timely decisions– that are aligned with the core principles of your organization and with your job descriptions; there will always be more than one right answer – choose the one that benefits the most and not only you; take decisions like a servant leader.
  10. Know your job – be technically and tactically proficient in your job; know your people; know the processes and challenges; know how can you add value to the organization or your department.
  11. Build teamwork– not all people can perform equally but they should complement each other while working towards a common goal; promote team work and diversity; shield your team from external pressure; be flexible with team.

“Leadership is intangible, hard to measure, and difficult to describe. It’s quality would seem to stem from many factors. But certainly they must include a measure of inherent ability to control and direct, self-confidence based on expert knowledge, initiative, loyalty, pride and sense of responsibility. Inherent ability cannot be instilled, but that which is latent or dormant can be developed. Other ingredients can be acquired. They are not easily learned. But leaders can be and are made.” – General C. B. Cates, 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps

Thanks for reading and welcome your input.  Have a great day.


7 Blunders of the world

July 28, 2009

Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948) was a great leader, lived his life for others and his words of wisdom have given direction to many.  Doesn’t matter what we do or where we stand in life, these 7 mistakes, if committed will result in ruined life or career.  These 7 mistakes are called 7 blunders of the world.

  1. Wealth without work
  2. Pleasure without conscience
  3. Knowledge without character
  4. Commerce without morality
  5. Science without humanity
  6. Worship without sacrifice
  7. Politics without principle

For more info on Mahatma Gandhi, please visit http://www.mkgandhi.org/

Thank you and have a wonderful day!


%d bloggers like this: