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My Journey to Power

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And a feed-back: they told me that they appreciated that I came to them when having a problem with the resident and that our relationship improved by the end of the 6 months.

So I still think it would have been better not to talk about it to my superiors as Lucio said. However, as I often noticed mistakes and failures at work are an opportunity to show that you improved. Everybody makes mistakes. What makes the difference is how one behaves when this happens.

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Lucio BuffalmanoKavalierPower Duck

Rock on, John!

Very happy to read! 🙂

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John FreemanKavalierPower Duck
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Reminding my friends about a board game on Sunday at my place on WA. My friend with the manipulative GF goes:

Him: I confirm you that. Just reminding it to the boss (smiley face)

Calling his GF “boss”. Low power. Not good. I lost a bit of respect.

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Lucio BuffalmanoKavalierPower Duck

I think this one is quite interesting.

Today I gave several feed-backs on a local anesthesia to a resident for a formal evaluation. She defended and justified herself on 3 of the 4 negative feed-backs. Of course she did not defend nor justify on any of the 4 positive I gave.

So I reminded her that my role was to train her. And that she defended and justified on 3 of the 4 points instead of just listening and taking thé feed-back. Yes we can enter in a dialog about them but you have to understand what I told you and take the feed-back. Then you can explain why you do it so I can explain why it’s not optimal. Or you can refuse it but it has to be on proper grounds (her grounds were not: “but I did right on the end”).

That’s a common issue with residents: a lot of their are defensive. It’s a bad idea because I’m actually the one who cares and responsible for their training. So it’s a bit like biting the hand that feeds you. I wrote how she was accepting of the positive but not of the negative to show that it was not my way of giving her a feed-back but rather her ego being triggered.

Here is what she did that I think is quite interesting. She said that « the way I spoke Mafe her feel like she had to justify herself ». I said first simply « no ». And then I made the mistake of the low power learner: « I’ll think about the way I said it”.

Actually what happened is that I was perfectly adequate. She put the responsibility of her making excuses on me. And instead of keeping the issue with her as I learned here I defaulted to the nice guy and took the blame.

So manipulative/gaslighting from her. Naive and stupid from me. What happened on my side is that I wanted to look as if I was magnanimous. As if I was the benevolent king like leader.

So I wanted to be liked and accepted her blame. Good lesson from me. I’ll do my best not to do it again.

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Lucio BuffalmanoKavalierPower Duck

Deleted. In the end I made posts, easier to find than here.

When I started this new job I thought that resusciting babies was going to be the hardest part.

It's not.

It's managing people. It's a new challenge and I love it. But the learning is quite steep. Whom you can be nice/authentic with, whom you have to be hard and tough with. When to reward, when to encourage, when to punish, when to support, etc.. It's a different beast. Basically, you have to manage your own psychology and emotions and manage other people's psychology and emotions.

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Lucio BuffalmanoKavalierPower Duck

A thought: power is a measure of how free we really are. The higher power we are the more we can choose and/or say no. Freedom is a very valuable commodity.

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Lucio BuffalmanoJackKavalier

Something interesting:

My current boss who recruited me actively, I worked first with her about 3 years ago. Since I documented it, I found it in my old journal. It was actually my first entry:

11.06.20: Tonight, my supervisor as I was trying to write something on a computer while answering her question and had trouble to do both at the end of a long day and she said: "Ah, this is the typical mono-synaptic way of men of thinking". In the past I would have waited a couple of days as above. This time, I went back to her before leaving her and told her: "when you told me that, I think it was not very respectful". She said first: "it was a joke", then "you're right", then "I hear you", then after me saying nothing: "excuse me" (without meaning it) and after that: "it's good that you told me that" (happy).  Conclusion : I'm happy that I've been assertive with her, but I now understand that her agressivity towards me is real. I think in this case, either she does not like guys or she has a problem with me (or likes me), either way I think her behavior is disgusting.

Here is a follow-up: my supervisor apologized formally by email. I thanked her, accepted her apologies, told her that her words and gesture was honoring her and that on my side, it was all good.

Now, we have a much better relationship and now she trusts me more and supports me more.

So, this is to say that being assertive was the right choice both for my self-esteem and self-respect and my relationship with my supervisor.

It's this woman who actively recruited me and who's now my boss. I remember this episode as it was both a lesson for her and me. For her of leadership and for me of assertiveness/setting boundaries.

So 3.5 years later, as we were talking on the phone and she was giving me advice. She talked about this episode (it was unspoken so far but we both knew we had to address it at some point, to make peace with it and remove this pain point in our relationship. We're talking about a situation with a resident where it's necessary to "set the frame" as we say. That means, remind them the frame of the hospital work: we are not buddies and this is work and there are patients.

Her: It's like when you told me when we worked at this hospital do you remember? I don't remember what you said exactly

Me: yeah I remember, but I don't remember exactly what you said. (true but shows forgiveness -> it's in the past)

Her: well, when you said that it made me think and it was a good thing

Me: (listens)

So basically when I set up the boundaries 3 years ago I held her up to a higher standard and she remembers it. Now we talked about this old power showdown, it's not needed to talk about it anymore. It's also a feed-back for Lucio as you know about this situation.

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Lucio BuffalmanoKavalier

Cool story and thank you for the update, John.

By the way, the strategic approach to that is:

You always say you don't remember the exact details.

Well... Almost always, of course, that's just the general principle :).

That's to:

  1. Show it's done and dusted in the past, as you mentioned
  2. Power protect them so you don't thread-expand on their misstep and U-turn
  3. Power-enhance yourself as it sub-communicates that it was "small stuff" for you, which basically says you're always assertive like that, just natural to who you are and "never a big deal"
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John FreemanKavalier
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Hello Lucio,

thanks to you for the advice, guidance and support. Also for your latest comments and analysis, in my notes.

Yeah, I find it interesting how social capital compounds. We started with a conflict where she said some sexist stuff to her hiring me and thanking me for having been assertive. I think this also is a great example of what improving our power-awareness and social skills can do.

Talking about change...

At my work, I work with a nurse with whom I worked in adult ED 4 years ago. At this time, I was the newbie and she was overly dominant and mean with me. We did not have a good relationship and I did not know 1% of what I know now regarding power awareness and social skills.

Just like with my current boss, she remembers it well. As Lucio said power showdown are charged emotionally and we remember them. I did not remember the exact case but I remember she was mean and humiliated me. Anyway going back to present, she approaches me:

Her: now I'm much more mellow. At the time we met I was a bit tough.  (holds out an olive branch)

Me: well, it's always difficult for us when we start in a new team. We are beginners and it's a challenge to adjust to the team (takes the blame to power protect, show forgiveness and takes the olive branch)

Her: (smiles a bit surprised that this is how it ended, I smile back, she leaves)

So that is quite a turnaround. She went from being a bully to apologising and appreciative. Here basically I flew higher.

I think she's a nice person. However, if the norm in the team is "bully the residents", then it sets a direction. I think she had responsibility for her behaviour. She might also have had low self-esteem and now it's better. Anyway she and I changed.

I find it interesting how things can turn around.

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