Archive for October, 2006

Blogging

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

My middle son teaches me a lot. All my sons teach me a lot about living in the 21st century! He certainly taught me a lot about blogging. He pointed out that it was just journaling shared with others. He said ‘You journal everyday, Mom’ As I paused to let the reality sink in and doors open in my mind, he paused and said, ‘By the way, why?’Good Morning, the world has changed cartoon.

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Realistic Leadership

Friday, October 20th, 2006

If you’d like to purchase this or any of Dr. Daniels books, please use the contact form to let her know. There are extremely limited quantities available, so make your request soon before they are all gone!

Originally Published 1983 by Prentice-Hall Inc.

Based on the concept of collaborative management, this intensely practical guide shows you how to develop a more realistic style of leadership and how to maximize group effort toward achieving a combination of company and personal goals. It presents scores of realistic ways to get more out of yourself and others. It ties together various concepts and skills, enabling you to see how they are related. It discards the surface frills that make techniques appear different and gets right down to the basic similarity of methods that really work.

Emphasizing a positive attitude toward the job, Realistic Leadership shows you how to develop a healthy optimism toward people that can revitalize your attitude toward your office. Yet it measures every method against the standard of reality: Does it get the job done? You’ll be asked to think before you act, to experiment before you choose, and to feel before you judge. Exercises and questions will help you build on your experiences and current knowledge; discussions of formal theories in plain English will help you develop new skills for dealing with old problems.

An absolute must for anyone in a leadership position, realistic Leadership can help you become a truly effective and dynamic leader by showing you how to:

  • Understand the unconscious attitudes that influence your everyday behavior
  • Recognize the many different styles of leadership — and choose the most effective one for you in each situation
  • Develop a greater understanding of other people, sensitivity to their needs, and responsiveness to their input
  • Acquire a variety of skills to manage all of your resources most effectively.


REALISTIC LEADERSHIP
Chapter 1: Evaluating The Role of Leader

From the time you get your first promotion, from the time you’re asked to supervise even one other person, maybe even from the time you’re first hired, you are put in the role of leader. Have you stopped to think what this means? What does a leader do?

You’re being asked to influence other people to work together to accomplish a common goal. You have to set a direction for others to follow. Somehow you have to create a team and give it a spirit. You have to exert a positive influence on the group while obtaining something of value from them. It’s a big job!
What kinds of things do you need to know or do in order to be effective? You will need:

  1. To understand your own hidden assumptions, those unconscious attitudes that influence your everyday behavior.
  2. To be aware of the many different styles of leadership and to be able to choose the most effective for you in each different situation.
  3. To develop an understanding of other people, sensitivity to their needs, and responsiveness to their input.
  4. To develop a variety of skills to manage all your resources most effectively.

Let’s look for a minute at the resources with which you work. We can summarize them in three categories:

  1. THE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH
  2. THE EXTERNAL RESOURCES OF YOUR TASK
  3. YOU INTERNAL RESOURCES (YOU!)

Throughout this book we explore the most effective ways to manage all three categories of resources. We will be balancing the need for human-relations skills and task skills. And we will especially focus on you, the most important resource of all. Your ability to develop self-awareness, shed personal bias, and learn from an objective analysis of any situation — these are the abilities that will make you a truly effective leader. Add these abilities to the specific skills you will be learning, and you’ll be dynamite!
The easiest definition of leadership is the ability to decide where you’re going and to know how to get there. There are many skills that can help you in both defining your goals and selecting the most effective strategies for achieving them.

__________________PEOPLE SKILLS____________________

You can’t be a leader without having a team behind you. You need their information, their efforts, their skills. You need their cooperation to get things done. The people who work for you are a vital resource, and your ability to deal with them will greatly influence your effectiveness. Even learning the concepts and skills presented in this book will be of value only if you also learn to read the feedback of the people you work with. Learn to read their responses and use this feedback to adapt ideas and techniques to your own particular situation. A leader can make or break a group effort. Here are some things you need to be able to do in order to support your team and facilitate its efforts:

  • To listen, and to understand the messages you receive from others.
  • To delegate effectively — not be overly bossy and yet still be able to evaluate performance accurately.
  • To deal with conflicts and problems by encouraging openness and maintaining credibility.
  • To express your own ideas clearly and persuasively, without forcing them down other people’s throats.

These skills will aid you in every situation: running a meeting, mediating disputes, diagnosing problems, planning a project — any situation involving other people.
In recent years there has been much emphasis on human-relations skills. Motivating people to their highest level of productivity requires that you understand their needs and desires. But as a leader, you must be able to manage both the human resources and the external resources that are available to you. In this book, we focus as well on task-related skills.

_________________________TASK SKILLS_______________________

A leader must always be looking for more effective ways to get results. Whenever there is a job to be done, chances are good that you will not be given unlimited resources to do it with. Good planning to accomplish a job therefore requires you to manage time and money effectively. You must be able to set priorities in order to know how to allocate resources. Analyzing and evaluating data enable you to make you to make decisions based on logic, not guesswork, as well as to have contingency plans ready when the unexpected occurs. Developing the initiative necessary as a leader means that you will have to learn to take risks in an appropriate and logical way. Here are some of the specific skills that are helpful in getting the results you want:

  • To manage time effectively — that is, to get the maximum amount done without exhausting your resources.
  • To gather information — the most balanced and accurate possible — and to know when to stop gathering and start doing.
  • To use information well in planning — to understand what to trade off, to set priorities, to evaluate risks.
  • To cope with the unexpected to know how to minimize losses and maximize gains.

It’s a big job to balance the needs of the people and the needs of the task Knowing how to fit together the jigsaw puzzle requires the effective use of the most important resource: you.

__________________INTERNAL RESOURCE SKILLS____________________

In order to be able to objectively consider all the input available to you, you must be clear about your own needs and desires. You can’t listen to another person’s real messages if you have preconceived ideas about what they mean. You can’t judge another person’s performance by unspoken and possibly unreasonable expectations of your own. You can’t manage time or resources effectively if you are making decisions based on your own hidden assumptions, instead of relying on more balanced data.

How do you avoid these pitfalls? The best way is to learn the art of self-analysis. I prefer to think of this as ’spring-cleaning’ your mind. Every now and then you need to take out all the old, time-worn ideas and assumptions you’ve stored in your head. Some of them have been there so long that you’ve probably come to ignore them. Take then out, dust them off, and regard each one carefully. Ask yourself the following questions about each one:

  1. Why do I believe it?
  2. From what experiences did I ‘learn’ it?
  3. Does it logically and consistently fit in with other information that I have?
  4. Is it functional? Does it really help?

The fourth question is the most important one. Assumptions are beliefs or attitudes based not on a logical analysis of all the data, but on personal experience. They are appropriate if they result in positive or productive behavior. Notice that I did not say that they are appropriate if they are ‘true.’ Since by definition they are based on less than all the data, we cannot know for sure if they are ‘true.’ They are appropriate if they are useful. If an assumption is not useful to you, then throw it out! Spring-cleaning your mind periodically keeps it clean and open. And it keeps you effective!
We will talk more about how assumptions can be ‘not useful’ when we talk about Self-Fulfilling Prophecies later in this chapter. Throughout this book I’ll be asking you to dust off your assumptions about many topics, such as power, manipulation, employees, work, right and wrong. How did you feel as you read those words? Take the time now to joy down your responses to the following questions:

  • How do you feel about power?
  • Is manipulation a dirty word to you?
  • What do you expect from employees?
  • Is work something people like or hate?
  • Is there always a right way and a wrong way?

When you finish this book, you may wish to go back to the responses you made above and review them. You may find that you have gained some new insights into your own assumptions about some very important issues.
We will be looking at how you react to authority and how you expect people to react to your authority. We’ll explore ways of guiding people, as well as ways to encourage them to guide themselves. We’ll discuss the way your hidden assumptions affect your behavior, and how to use them for positive effects. Nobody is perfect, but diagnosing your own strengths and weak spots can help you be as effective a leader as is humanly possible.
You can learn many specific techniques to improve your weak areas. You can also develop a well-balanced perspective on events that will keep you happy and healthy while managing even the most troublesome office situations. Some of the skills covered in this book include:

  • Distinguishing different styles of leadership, and selecting the most appropriate style for ach different situation.
  • Applying theories of motivation, and using people effectively without abusing them.
  • Maintaining an objective outlook that allows you to switch perspectives, and acting effectively in solving any kind of problems.
  • Managing stress constructively so that you can stay enthusiastic without becoming exhausted.

Why must you do such a balancing act in order to be an effective leader? It is very simple. Research has shown that the most important variable in determining how a group works is the expectations of their leader. This process is called:

______________THE SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY________________

(to be continued)

Books

Friday, October 20th, 2006

My new book is available now at Amazon.com!

Information about older books:

Alright, they’re from books I wrote, but the material remains still relevant and still interesting. (Or so my readers say!) On this page I am planning to share parts of my three books that have already been published. Two of them were originally published by Prentice-Hall Inc., but fortunately I hold the copyrights to all three.

Some original copies of both these books still exist and show up on Amazon.com and other places from time to time, but I thought you might like to read them here since they are hard to find. (I even have a few extra copies which I snatched up when they went out of print but my stock is running low.) Meanwhile, all three books are being revised and the new editions will be published within the next two years. So descriptions first, then we plunge into chapters!

Realistic Leadership

Living Your Religion in the Real World

A Culturally Different Perspective on Psychology

The Least

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

Any one who has ever heard me complaining about the ethical and quality of care issues that arise from my work with inmates in prisons and jails, the elderly in nursing homes, and with the disabled with brain trauma, know I have to include my rants on these issues and populations. But before you click away from this page because ‘Who cares about those people?’ consider this:

Nepalese Beggar‘For I was one hungered, and ye gave me meat;
I was thirsty, and you gave me drink;
I was a stranger, and you took me in.
Naked, and ye clothed me;
I was sick, and ye visited me;
I was in prison, and ye came onto me.
.And the King shall answer and say onto them,
Verily I say unto you,
Inasmuch as ye have done it to one of the least of these my brethren,
Ye have done it unto me!’
Christian New Testament, Matthew 25, 35-40.

I have some strong opinions on this issue, because I do a lot of work in prisons and jails, as well as in nursing homes and hospitals. Almost all are overcrowded, under-funded and under-resourced, and none of them is a top priority for anyone but those who have to live there. And I must tell you now: there is no easy answer! I’m not going to sugarcoat these issues. I take my ethics as a licensed psychologist and my oath as a forensic examiner seriously. (more…)

The Mandala

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

MandalaI plan to include on this website pictures and art work that touch me particularly, and as part of my weaving connections, I’ll explore why they do so. I hope my self-exploration in this area will help you to better understand yourself as well as to better understand me and the way I think about the world.

One of the issues I frequently think about and struggle with is the tendency of so many people to simplify the wrong things. (like other people!) Stereotypes, assumptions, and trying to make round pegs fit into square holes only lead to misery, bigotry, and ignorance.
Mandalas are a form of art that helps move the mind away from this tendency by visually representing all the wonderful swirling differences and apparent contradictions that make up the world and ourselves within it. Just meditating on it and allowing it to penetrate into your internal thought processes can help you appreciate the richness that comes from being many things instead of just one homogeneous chunk.

This particular Buddhist mandala is from a temple wall in Bhutan. It depicts the creation of the cosmos by the circling motion of primal forces. By this action it is said that the elements are spun into existence, and the celestial bodies are set in motion. I love the colors and the activity and the way they resolve into an exquisite harmony.

Why Go to a Psychologist?

Monday, October 16th, 2006

With all the medications, techniques, and self-help books and manuals, why go to a real person therapist? Simple, it’s because the process is more important than the procedures. Psychologists use the fancy term of the ‘intentional utilization of the client’s frame of reference.’ But what that really means is that the person doing the therapy is an integral part of whether the treatment is effective.

Considerable research has taken place in recent years on what is called ‘Empirically Based Treatment.,’ In other words, the idea that research could prove the best, most effective treatment, regardless of which therapist is administering the therapy. While research studies certainly do suggest that some treatment techniques are more helpful than others with some diagnoses, controversy has raged around the role of the individual therapist, and whether they are important to treatment.

Back in the 1960’s, the great psychologist Carl Rogers suggested that the ‘necessary and sufficient conditions’ for therapeutic change were: 1) empathetic understanding, 2) unconditional positive regard, and 3) congruence, or empathy, warmth, and genuineness. Studies since then have indeed indicated that these characteristics on the part of the therapist do seem to be a significant portion of the effective ingredients in psychotherapy and are very consistently related to positive patient outcomes.

Let’s look at the nature of therapy itself. If you understand more about how therapy works, you’ll find it easier to pick the right therapist for you. You’ll also be able to make the most of your time in therapy. Although you’ll most likely be meeting with your therapist only once a week (or less), you will actually be engaged in the process of self-growth all 168 hours in the week!

Basically psychotherapy consists of developing a relationship (known technically as a ‘therapeutic alliance’) between client and therapist, learning more about your problems and their source, and exploring alternative ways of coping. (more…)

Your Image or Mine?

Monday, October 16th, 2006

The Scots poet, Robbie Burns, said it best: ‘O would some power the giftie gie us, To see ourselves as others see us!’ It would indeed be a blessing to be able to stand outside ourselves and see what others see. Our own image of ourself is so far removed from objective reality that it’s a wonder we recognize ourselves when we look in a mirror!

Self-image is a funny thing. We build a picture of ourselves based on messages from the past, rather than on an honest appraisal of who we are today. We judge ourselves by irrelevant rules and expectations, and all too often picture ourselves as failing to live up to what we ’should’ be.
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Winter Wolf

Monday, October 16th, 2006

Winter WolfI love this winter wolf! He pensively stares at me through the snow, deep in the midst of the forest of the unconscious, reminding me that it takes strength, courage, and faith to be true to myself even when alone in the coldest of seasons. And he reminds that there are Seasons, that times change and things pass, and new growth occurs. He reminds me too that I have always been a wild child rather than a placid sheep, trusting my intuition and instincts, and knowing how important it is to develop a loving and trusting relationship with one’s Self.

A fellow graduate student of my doctoral university (The Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio) wrote the book on women who run with wolves and the men who love them. (See Links) In it she talks about ‘taking on the task of being on one’s own, developing one’s own consciousness about danger, intrigue, politic. Becoming alert to oneself, for oneself.’ It is an initiatory process for all human beings, men and women alike, and worth the danger and the pain that can strike us.

Some Really Psych Humor

Monday, October 16th, 2006

Farside CartoonDoctors and other medical professionals develop a certain mystique that can frighten the pants off (or wallet from) any average consumer. Graduate programs teach effective ways to develop this aura of professional mystery by encouraging the use of jargon that describes the most mundane symptoms in the most terrifying way.

Psychologists and other mental health workers are as guilty of this as medical doctors. Insurance forms and professional protocol require the labeling of behavior in the most mystifying ways. Unfortunately, even the DSM IV-R, the bible of diagnostic labels, doesn’t quite cover all the extremes to which we may be exposed.
In the interests of educating consumers, and expanding the boundaries of technical jargon, we offer the following guide to some syndromes you may encounter in everyday life.

Obnoxious Disorder of Adolescence: This syndrome tends to strike those between the ages of 10 and 18. Symptoms include the building of a nest composed of dirty clothes and empty candy wrappers, as well as sudden attacks of deafness when spoken to. (more…)

Stress is in the Air!

Sunday, October 15th, 2006

Stress is in the air lately! It’s become an all-purpose villain to blame for every problem. Why shouldn’t we feel stressed? We are all overwrought by the effects of an up and down economy and a rising complexity in everyday life. But, aside from Eden, life has never been easy. Why then is stress getting such bad publicity?

Nearly half the calls I get each week come from people complaining of ’stress’ and the symptoms they cite cover everything from headaches to family problems. It’s becoming a much overused word, and I think it’s time to define ’stress’ a bit more specifically.

Stress occurs when people interact with the environment. It occurs when we have to adapt to something outside ourselves. Just being alive assumes a certain amount of stress. The only static person is a dead one. So stress itself is neither good nor bad; it just is. The stress caused by physical exercise helps tone the muscles and improve the body. The stress of mental activity provides challenge and stimulation to help us grow.

Stress becomes a problem under two conditions: (more…)