Monthly Archives: November 2019

Relationship Management Skills for Interacting with Adults and Kids

My resume so far is heavily dominated with research and instruction. It is going to be hard at this point to explain my interest or commitment to any employer offering me a chance in a field that did not necessarily relate closely or loosely with the areas I just mentioned.

I’ve been through some personal indecisive moments where I wondered if I my interest in international affairs, a masters degree, and a foreign language were enough reason for me to go into international civil service or if I am indeed cut out for academia. For the most part, I would say I have made some progress trusting my life’s path, genuine interests and process, and so currently, I remain on academia’s path. Who knows? *Shrugs*

My training sessions recently have been on relationship management with young people. They have left such a strong impression on me and I would like to share some of the information I received in this post.

I am not a parent yet, however, observing young people and working with them makes me see how comparable and nearly the same adults are to young people.

Relationship Management With Adults and Kids, The How Tos –

Never Try to Negotiate through Tantrums/Arguments

Have you ever been in a conversation that is far from friendly and civil? An argument is what that is! Raised voices, overly assertive stances, egos at play and a stubborn view that the parties hold because they both think they are right. As a rule of thumb, disengage when tempers soar. Discontinue the conversation, walk away or wait until the person calms down. Same with young people, do not argue, reason with, coerce or bribe an upset young person. Let them know, ( both adults and kids ) that you will only engage in conversations once there is calm. I’ve seen young people and adults grow fiercer, nastier and act out more only because the other person tried to calm them down, I mean, fires get bigger if you try to put them out in the wrong way. To disarm, only continue when they calm down.

The Go Lower, Go Slower Rule

As a segue to the first rule, the go lower , go slower rule is where you would slow down, quieten your own emotions and speak slower to an agitated person. Remember at this point to eliminate hostile words, postures or gestures. Assume the position of the logical one because quite obviously, the upset person is moving mad.When we meet upset people with the same amount of energy, fireworks will happen. The go lower, go slower rule is how you calm down and quieten or tone down the scale of the argument. If this does not work, we move to the first recommendation which is to disengage.

Don’t Expect Behaviors You Don’t Teach

@themillenial.therapist ‘s Post on Ig

A lot of us women get upset at other women and men because they do not treat us the way we want them to or better yet, expect them to. We think they should already know what to do. Does this make any sense at all? How does a person expect a thing they do not ask for? For young people as well, you need to be explicit and teach or say what you expect, and then when the expectation is not met, you hold them accountable.

Punishment, Accountability

I am very interested in language, wording and positive reinforcement and so there is no way I would ever forget my elementary teacher’s comments on my report card. The comment was always along the lines of ‘Talks too much in class’ or ‘Can do better’. We can’t go through sugar coated moments all throughout life; but then we can always say constructive things to people. In retrospect my teacher could’ve said, the student has a good potential for leadership etc etc and should be offered resources and opportunities to channel that interest in self expression etc etc. because really, what does ‘talks too much in class mean? And what should anyone do with that information? I do agree that not everyone has time or the brain power to reword or constantly remember to be sensitive and offer constructive feedback, however, the key thing is to try. Coming to the word punishment, our trainer offered that we exchange the word punishment for consequence. That made sense to me. That also reminded me equally to remember to make consequences meaningful. To make consequences constructive, explain the relevance of your action ( the consequence ) and then allow the person you’re mad at a chance to rethink what they did and then discuss next steps. Sometimes kids and adults go through consequences and they have no idea the relevance of what they went through or why they need to do things differently. We miss good teaching moments when we do not offer explanations for the consequences we place on others.

Attack the Behavior and Not the Person

Often in arguments, we get distracted and go on unprofitable tangents. Whenever you need to address an issue, try as hard as possible to focus on the action and not the person. Instead of saying you always do this and I’m tired of you; ( Sounds accusatory ) – say this is what you do ( state the thing ) and this is how it makes me feel ( focus on the action ).

Thanks for reading!

Is Success Predetermined? ( Shoe Dog and Two Cases of Study )

Sisyphus and the Incessant Rolling Stone – Sometimes Symbolizing the Futility of the Human Pursuit of Success/Power

I live on African news. On a certain evening in late October, I was having dinner and listening absent mindedly to the London based Nigerian reporter who hosts the BBC Africa podcast. I liked her pace, voice and near casual delivery. I threw down whatever crumbs of food I was eating and walked away from the speaker that filled the apartment with the news. I was going to pace the entire square foot of the living space with no real aim in mind until I gave up and went to bed. Then the story of Dr. Ismail Ahmed, the founder of World Remit came on. There was mention of his having been let go of while he worked with one of the UN agencies; the UNDP, to be specific. He was working in the remissions department and had noticed a gross whirlwind of corruption and intended to blow the whistle. I rolled my eyes. This was truly a whistle blowing age we lived in. He was so concerned he wanted his superiors to support him while he changed the world and straightened things up in the specific UN office yet that was sadly not going to happen. He was told he could lose his job if he went ahead with the probe and outing. He eventually lost his job, doubled his fiery determination to make a difference and started World remit. Dr. Ahmed was recently named first on the 2019 UK power list in recognition of his success so far with World Remit.

My UN Experience

I worked in one of the UN offices in Accra for a year. While I think I didn’t work long enough to notice any activity worth whistle blowing over, I did encounter an image that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Naturally, any young graduate who cared enough about change would have stirrings in their spirit over the pace of work and things to be done. This was me in 2013; I had graduated with a bachelors in liberal arts and a foreign language under my belt. These diplomats had better make room and watch me change the world! My equally ambitious friend and I often spoke about books, travel, places to eat after work and the lady in the HR department who we asked the same question each morning. Did she need a hand with projects? Did she need help with pending work, help with future work, anything? Did she want us to clean her office even? We probably would have, but each time, the answer was a curt NO. The lady was a whole topic of discussion because unlike our boss boss, who practiced an open door policy with us, this one was very different. She was hostile, passive aggressive and never willing to assign or offload work to us. We were after all interns and there to work! Anyway, outside this, we quickly noticed the bureaucracy of the UN. To back the frustrating realization of this clogged up system, there was an image in our office of a dog. The dog appeared in many versions; imagine mugshots that continued for the span of about 14 boxes. Essentially the dog was captured looking excited in the very first shot and not so excited in the last. The images were a gradual and dismal transition of emotions and energy, from total motivation to eventual frustration. The dog was a representation of the effect work in the UN could have on you; – you would come in excited, eager to change the world; and eventually withdraw your excitement in exchange for a trite acceptance of the reality that changing the world might actually take a lot more longer than you’d expected….And this image was in our office! The presence of the image in our office was a bold and saddening admission that we all knew, and somehow accepted all we saw.

Francis Ngannou’s Story

Francis Ngannou is a successful mixed martial artist from Cameroon. He lived in poverty growing up; the crippling type of poverty that stifles any chance or effort to be resourceful. He migrated to France, met nearly the same amount of suffering if not more and then walked randomly one day into a training studio where he met a man that would train him, cultivate his skills and hone him into the world star he is today.

Shoe Dog

Shoe Dog is an intimate memoir by the creator of Nike, Phil Knight. Throughout the thirteen hour audio book, I have been unable to shake off the tremendous contribution of his coach, in the shaping of knight’s character, intellect and spirit. Phil Knight tells of his coach’s resilience, industriousness, strength, force. Bill Bowerman’s conviction that the type of shoe an athlete wore had a direct relationship with performance. He is Nike’s cofounder and the brain behind some of the brand’s very first creations.

Take Aways

The three individuals from these three encounters definitely worked hard. However, I am still mulling over the contribution and convenience of the relationships and steps and events that came their way that led to their success. Their stories enforce for me that….

…..the dots always connect.