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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    Can you provide examples of what that means?

    The example I gave of the art professor was one in which he was regularly given teaching awards because of his dedication to the school. He gave his whole self to it, but simply did not exert control over others. He worked significantly above the call of duty assisting students, giving his own talents as needed for projects, etc. He was available to those who desired what he offered, but did not force his help on anyone. It is a complex issue because traditional expectations aren't always the only way. I do agree that non-control can cause problems as well.

    Edit: It's worth making the distinction between controlling self vs. others. Being a slacker so others pick up the work is not controlling oneself, but it does look like controlling the external world to the benefit of self.
    Sure. I have no problem with your art professor; I'm assuming he knew what he was doing and proved to the management that he was capable of meeting their expectations in his own way.

    But look at the example of a grade-school teacher who can't impose order on the kids and lets them run wild (and one child gets injured, in a worst case scenario). Or a young college professor who is so eager to be popular that he allows the students to blow off or divert the classes and rarely gets around to teaching the curiculum. Or in the workplace--a young boss doesn't want to be "the bad guy" and order people around, so the work doesn't get done and/or the workers get out of hand. It's "controlling" in the sense that that management expects leadership from the teacher/professor/young boss, and the latter are taking advantage to the possible ultimate detriment of their charges or the management.

    Even in relationships: unexpected "withdrawals" can become forms of emotional abandonment. Again, it's about expectations. If communication is good, then it's understood if one partner needs some alone time. But if communication is bad, then one or both parties can mistake withdrawal as abandonment.

    So I'm just making the point that a soft touch, just by itself, is not automatically a good thing. In fact, if it results in not living up to commitments and expectations, then it's a bad thing.

    I think negotiating and meeting expectations has to be the higher priority.

  2. #12
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    My mental model of relationships (beyond that between parents and minor children) requires symbiosis.

    I don't want to control people per se, but I do feel I have a right for things to be mutually beneficial in some way or to at least not be harmful to me. If the relationship is not mutually beneficial I can either withdraw to some degree or I can ask for a change in behavior. If the other person is not accepting of the new terms of the relationship it is fine for them to negotiate a compromise if possible, or to withdraw from the relationship.

    IOW, my desire is to control what happens to me and in my life. Beyond that, meh.
    Wow. More agreement. You've said that so much better than I could have. I guess MBTI really does show a kind of agreement between similar types at times, huh?

  3. #13
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Toonia, just some quick thoughts.

    1) Academia and especially being arts or music faculty gives you a lot more leeway for how 'strict' or structured you can be. At least from this student's perspective. For one things, students themselves generally don't hold themselves accountable to the same standards that a working person would (or if working full-time, hold themselves to higher standards at work I reckon).

    And artistic professionals are given a lot of leeway to be less traditional or just plain idiosyncratic. I also had at least one music professor who was like this, basically his teaching theme I think was that he wanted you to love the music for music's sake and be motivated with that. Otherwise, if you don't care, he doesnt' care. Granted, it was an intro theory course and perhaps he was a harsh grader but he created a very open atmosphere in class.

    Also, I think in some arts departments people go the other way with having a lot of empasis on deadlines. Why? Because they know their field isn't taken as seriously, including by students. Especially for applied arts -- i.e. anything you want to make a living with, you can't really muck around and expect to be taken seriously. In my film production courses, I know my prof came down on people who were always late or blew off appointments. And with good reason. He said he was holding everyone to 'professional standards'.

    It also depends on how young (or not) the students are.


    2) I don't think what you state 'not controlling others' is a "problem" in management or teaching styles unless you feel you are unable to direct students or have them follow your directions. Basically, respect your author-itay. To put it crudely. I think for management and teaching styles the proof is in the pudding and how well students learn and are their needs being met. What matters is if you can make it work. From what you described, it doesn't sound like you are letting students run rampant.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CzeCze View Post
    What matters is if you can make it work. From what you described, it doesn't sound like you are letting students run rampant.
    I agree. I'm just trying to make the point: Make sure you have all your bases covered.

    A lot of young leaders think they can be in charge of something and still be the nice guy. But then they're caught by surprise when their subordinates or students or whatever take unexpected advantage or someone gets hurt due to unforeseen circumstances.

    So it's important to be upfront with whoever is paying your salary and make sure your hands-off style is okay with them too. If they give the okay, then fine.

    OTOH, not every position allows you to be the good guy. Sometimes the management doesn't approve of your hands-off style. If you do it anyway and try to hide it from management, you're leaving yourself wide open for trouble when things go awry. And they do tend to go awry in such instances.

    So I think it's best to keep everything aboveboard. Be honest with management, negotiate what's expected of you, and then keep your end of the deal. Sometimes that means you can't be "the nice guy" and use your usual hands-off style.

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    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    My mental model of relationships (beyond that between parents and minor children) requires symbiosis.

    I don't want to control people per se, but I do feel I have a right for things to be mutually beneficial in some way or to at least not be harmful to me. If the relationship is not mutually beneficial I can either withdraw to some degree or I can ask for a change in behavior. If the other person is not accepting of the new terms of the relationship it is fine for them to negotiate a compromise if possible, or to withdraw from the relationship.

    IOW, my desire is to control what happens to me and in my life. Beyond that, meh.
    cafe, your sense is always impeccable. I always appreciate your comments. They are so clear and balanced.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

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    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    Wow. More agreement. You've said that so much better than I could have. I guess MBTI really does show a kind of agreement between similar types at times, huh?
    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    cafe, your sense is always impeccable. I always appreciate your comments. They are so clear and balanced.
    Thank you, guys. I've had to put a lot of thought into this kind of thing because I have co-dependent tendencies. I have learned that giving and/or giving in too much in a relationship isn't really of benefit to either party even if it's what is easier and more natural for me to do. I always felt like I was stronger than most people and therefore it was my place to give more, but in doing that, I denied other people the opportunity to grow strong, if that makes sense. When things are more balanced, everyone gets more of an opportunity to grow and growth is good (except for ear hair and kudzu).
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  7. #17
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    I never tell anyone what to do- I feel like that's just flat out bossy and counterproductive (I don't like to do what I'm told so I assume that other people are the same)

    I will admit to manipulating situations in order to get my way though- mostly by controlling what information people get and how they look at it it's not because I like to be in control though- it's because I want my way!
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    I always felt like I was stronger than most people and therefore it was my place to give more, but in doing that, I denied other people the opportunity to grow strong, if that makes sense. When things are more balanced, everyone gets more of an opportunity to grow and growth is good (except for ear hair and kudzu).
    I completely agree! Some people call it 'tough love' but really sometimes if you want someone to get better and improve -- basically you have to 1) let them and 2) demand strength, excellence, success, or basically an honest to god try. Basically you let the person know that you believe they can do something if they just try.

    FineLine, didn't you say you were in the Marines (or did I mix you up with someone else) Because, you that totally makes sense your 'can't be the nice guy' school of management.

  9. #19
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    I agree. I'm just trying to make the point: Make sure you have all your bases covered.

    A lot of young leaders think they can be in charge of something and still be the nice guy. But then they're caught by surprise when their subordinates or students or whatever take unexpected advantage or someone gets hurt due to unforeseen circumstances.

    So it's important to be upfront with whoever is paying your salary and make sure your hands-off style is okay with them too. If they give the okay, then fine.

    OTOH, not every position allows you to be the good guy. Sometimes the management doesn't approve of your hands-off style. If you do it anyway and try to hide it from management, you're leaving yourself wide open for trouble when things go awry. And they do tend to go awry in such instances.

    So I think it's best to keep everything aboveboard. Be honest with management, negotiate what's expected of you, and then keep your end of the deal. Sometimes that means you can't be "the nice guy" and use your usual hands-off style.
    Those are really important comments. There are jobs I consciously avoid because of knowing my limitations regarding certain expectations about controlling subordinates. Ha. High school band/choir directing is one such job.

    I don't think hands-off or non-controlling necessarily implies being the good guy. I'm just thinking about some of my fellow teachers who have a highly structured and controlled style. They are wonderful and well loved, but their concept is just very external and structured. Being controlling doesn't necessarily imply something bad imo. What you said about balance is important. Some controlling people fascinate me, and I admire them. They can really make things happen.

    There seems to be a range of boundary expectations. In authority there are many who assume the leader is there to control the behaviors of the subordinates. They expect to be pressured and structured externally. Then there is another assumption where the subordinate is self-motivated and the leader provides direction. That second model is what I understand best. It can be difficult to switch mindsets when one is deeply ingrained.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  10. #20
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    I do recognize the respect for other people that Toonia has and the lack of interest she has in controlling people. I think that attitude has many positive sides. I think there's nothing like feeling free from control, respected for who you are and not having someone trying to change you. So I would like to say "kudos" to that point of view.

    At the same time, as Fineline points out:

    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    But look at the example of a grade-school teacher who can't impose order on the kids and lets them run wild (and one child gets injured, in a worst case scenario). Or a young college professor who is so eager to be popular that he allows the students to blow off or divert the classes and rarely gets around to teaching the curiculum. Or in the workplace--a young boss doesn't want to be "the bad guy" and order people around, so the work doesn't get done and/or the workers get out of hand. It's "controlling" in the sense that that management expects leadership from the teacher/professor/young boss, and the latter are taking advantage to the possible ultimate detriment of their charges or the management.
    It's true that in certain situations you are required to provide structure as part of your job/role and there can be detrimental consequences if you don't. Importantly, you are required to provide a type of control that is overt, by defining objectives and roles of people.

    Some people fear appearing openly controlling or rigid. I suppose they feel guilty when they do so. The problem is if they decide, as a substitute, to use manipulation to get people to do what they want instead of asking directly. In this sense, the college professor could be nice with the students that listened and more disagreeable with the students that didn't. Or give time to students that worked hard and ignore those that didn't. Without explaining to them openly. At one point or another people afraid of being openly controlling will be so covertly. You simply cannot interact with other people without accepting some part of control.

    There is nothing more important than a clear, defined and communicated structure. When people know what is expected of them and what will happen under what conditions, they feel more secure and perform better. People need structure. Only the most independent of people are able to function without structure. Most would invariably feel lost.

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