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May 2017

The school of life

I own a leather-bound, name-embossed work compendium. It has pockets for receipts, pens, credit cards, etcetera – but its main purpose is note-taking during meetings.

Any psychological profiler will explain this means; I’m an organised person with personal and professional pride – in who I am and what I do…that, and I’m old school.

Studies show that writing, as opposed to typing, enhances conceptualisation and improves information processing. Anything to affect quality cognition, right.

It’s the old adage: when people tell you who they are, listen to them. While I also subscribe to the cognitive model, I’m all eyes and ears regards social learning theory and behaviourism as practice to build, manage and end relationships.

For example, I’ve worked with numerous narcissists – mostly vulnerable, as opposed grandiose. A ‘narc’, along with the Machiavellian and psychopath form the dark triad with all drawn to leadership roles, wreaking havoc.

They are manipulators who lack compassion, are often bullish in approach and prone to taking credit, when it isn’t due. Looking closely, one can see the personality gaps from across the room.

A roll-of-the-eyes or lopsided smile of contempt, the steeple hand posture in ‘God’ talking or listening, a jealous comment or put-down…all is revealed. Narcs do status like it’s going out of fashion – if you are beneath them or a threat, you’ll know it.

The narcissist is a little easier to take in the workplace, because the behaviours they inflict at home would never fly professionally. But, they are still pretty tough to take.

One particular Airservices Mach-narc manager Lisa, subsequently terminated during restructure for not being ‘a people person’, was a threat for those lacking servitude.

Besides yelling at staff, Lisa was skilled at tasking and trashing deliverables for missing the goal posts – despite the fact, the request was documented. Arbitrarily changing tack is a classic narc-ism.

I noted this behaviour early on, when Lisa asked colleague Mark to produce a branch newsletter article on project management.

Mark wrote-up the preferred organisational methodology, which she furiously negated. Lisa had forgotten that she’d emailed me the article specs – and his copy was en pointe.

Besides being accomplished liars, you’ll recognise a workplace narc as someone who belittles others intellectually or physically. And while, yes, the narc thinks themselves superior to the target…it’s largely because they are filled with self-loathing, not love.

Tearing someone down, helps to build themselves up psychologically. The narc has fantasies of power, success, smarts and looks; yet, that’s mostly all these delusions remain.

Their confidence is logical fallacy; that is, self-assured types never need to disparage anyone. Conversely, they are immune to a narc, because their self-worth has internal mechanisms. Hence, Lisa removed herself as my boss, unable to inflict her special brand of love.

But the truly scary paradox of a narc, is one whereby they feint interest, compassion and empathy – and not because it’s socially acceptable and allows them to fit in, which is true.

Moreover, it’s an information-gathering exercise, which is wielded against you – to your face and/or behind your back. It’s literally a case-of, show weakness at your own peril.

American psychiatrist Glassner’s choice theory posits that the behaviours we choose are central to our existence; his behavioural drivers are similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

He states, choice theory goes to an individual’s ‘quality world’ or images that constitute perfection. Perfect relationships, possessions, beliefs – its social construction of the tallest order resulting in a mostly unconscious framework.

From birth to death, we’re in a constant state of archetypal compare and contrast as the subconscious calibrates towards our best world experience.

Behaviour is made up of four components: acting, thinking, feeling and physiology. However, the doc believed humans only have control over how we think and act.

So, while the four behavioural factors are intertwined, thoughts and behaviours are driven by emotion and bodily response. Ask yourself; when was the last time you had a gut reaction that produced an emotion, which shaped a thought that was acted on?

And that’s the beauty of behaviourism as a ‘systematic approach to understanding human and animal behaviour.’

As per choice theory axioms…if all we can do is control our own behaviour; and give another person information, then the onus is on us – to set and enforce personal and professional boundaries, cleaning up our act in the process.

I mean, one can hardly have high expectations of others – if not modelling behaviours required of family, friends and colleagues? Lest, we typify narcissist tendencies: to do as I say, not as I do.

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Protest march: Aussie call to arms

Australians are now experiencing a government dictatorship. Until citizens have meaningful, ongoing stakeholder engagement through open dialogue, then democracy remains a farce, and our tax dollars will be misspent.

And I should know – I’m a change manager and communication consultant. I’ve had a gutful, and reading your letters to editor…I know we’re on the same page.

Aussies are no longer interested in government engagement via a three-year ballot box. We want a fair bloody crack of the whip – and that’s an ongoing place at the table.

This is our draft agenda; I’m suggesting we hash the issues between now and 3 December, before Australians march in protest on federal and state governments to present problems and potential solutions to our neurally-challenged political managers – not leaders.

Because let’s face, this is a crisis. Australians need change to become a socially progressive country. The nature of quality change management is always top-down and bottom-up approach – together, we are ‘our pollies’ best bet in becoming, the best version of us.

Draft agenda:

Health

  • Access to RU486 non-surgical abortion for girls and women…currently only 1094 Aussie doctors are registered with MS Health to prescribe out of 102,000 GPs…less than 1%, which means 4870 patients to every RU486 prescribing doctor since TGA approval Aug 2012 (figures as at Feb 2017)
  • Ban alcohol sponsorship that damages our children
  • Government-funded rehabilitation centres for drug users
  • Meaningful funding for mental health programs and to reduce homelessness
  • Ban Medicare-funded IVF

Education

  • Anti-bullying programs in all private and public schools
  • Free civilian spot-a-terrorist training programs: everyone must be eyes and ears

Government

  • Independent Ethics Committee to oversee all government spending
  • Independent public committees to oversee government departmental spending to prevent wasted tax dollars; eg. ATO recently installed squat toilets for 20% diverse people, when third world countries are phasing them out in favour of western sit toilets
  • Removal of GST on tampons and pads with funding towards domestic violence prevention programs and women made homeless through domestic violence
  • Remove internal government-provided psychiatrists for frontline specialists and increased treatment for PTSD sufferers including military, police, ambos, teachers, firies…
  • Senate reform to address party gridlock

Law and crime

  • All sex and domestic violence offenders to wear tracking systems for designated period and develop national database for all offenders, including DNA
  • Decriminalisation of abortion in 5 of 8 Australian states
  • Law reform that protects domestic violence and sexual assault victims from perpetrators and better funding for criminal rehabilitation

Human Rights

  • A new Aboriginal department and minister to progress human rights for Australia’s First Peoples: similar to Minister for Women
  • Terminate employment of the WA police who are responsible for death of Julieka Dhu, who were at best negligent in their duty of care and at worst, committed manslaughter
  • Same sex marriage: equal rights for all Australians
  • Shut-down Manus Island detention centre and stop locking refugee children up

Housing

  • Australian foreign property ownership laws requiring citizenship

Religion

  • Ban religion institutes funding government campaigning for true secular state

Business

  • Corporate law reform: cut tax breaks for business that do not create new positions
  • Reintroduce work penalty rates for poorest Australians

Climate change

  • Greater funding for renewable energies including federal and state alignment
  • End Indian Government Adani coal mine project that kills our environment and protects their interests via off-shore accounting

 

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