Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dealing with Difficult People

No one ever looked forward to dealing with a difficult person, whether it is an employee, customer or co-worker. But inevitably, problems arise and at some time, it will be your turn to address them. It is not only important that we deal with people in difficult situations, but we need to learn how to deal with people in general. There are some common mistakes professionals make when dealing with difficult people, and a few simple actions can ease the situation.

The first step is to identify what type of person you're working with and the rationale behind their actions. Understand that you might need to communicate differently with various types of people. The quiet person, for example, might need some advance warning about your meeting and some prompting in order to share ideas. The complainer wants some assurance that his or her voice will be heard and that you'll actually take some action in response.

All employees should receive some kind of training in communication skills and it is helpful to keep a "tool box" of techniques you can use to address difficult situations. Here are a few of the tools from my toolbox:

• Step back from the situation. Often, people think they need a quick comeback when faced with a difficult situation, or they make assumptions about the problem at hand. Take the time to step back and try to get the other person talking. Find out what their style of communication is and try to accommodate it. People forget that the person they're facing isn't exactly like them, so take the time to find out as much as you can before you address the problem.

• If you can, practice your response. When situations don't have to be dealt with on the spot, take the time to practice your response. Try to think like the other person. It's helpful to say things out loud so you hear what you could be saying to the other person. Anticipate their responses and adjust your delivery. Practice helps us make the mistakes beforehand and reduce misinterpretation once you are face to face.

• Stay in the "adult" mode. According to Dr. Eric Burn, there are three modes of communication - child, parent and adult. When dealing with conflict, it's important to stay in the adult mode. Don't act like a parent and be judgmental or a child and be defensive. Accept any responsibility that may be yours. Realize that it's OK to agree to disagree. Ultimately, if tempers begin to flare, realize that you may need to take a break and get back together later on.

• Try to find an agreement. It is always helpful to find some agreement to the problem at hand; even if it's only that the problem exists. Coming to an agreement conveys understanding and works to move the conversation along. It can also be beneficial to speak in positive terms, by telling the person what you can do as opposed to what you can't do.

• Communicate and explore alternatives. Never assume you can't help someone. By thinking about alternatives and offering suggestions about what you can do, you keep the conversation on a positive plane. You can also ask the person, "What would you like me to do?" Not only could you help solve their problem, but you might also find that what they want is less than you imagined.

• Establish some boundaries for yourself.
Know what you are going to be able to put up with. Sometimes you might want to communicate those boundaries; sometimes you may not.

• Speak in private. If you're dealing with a difficult issue, speak with the person in private. Remember the adage: Praise in public, criticize in private.

• Use more "I" language than "you" language. "You" language can make a person become defensive. Instead of saying "you should" or "you must," try "I was expecting" or "I encourage you to... "

• Don't take things personally. It's hard not to, but it's not necessarily about you. You need to separate yourself from the issue. People often don't realize the reason their co-worker is upset does not have anything to do with them.

• Find agreement. See if you can find any agreement at all, or at least acknowledge that you understand the person's perspective. Say, "I can see your point." In a worst-case scenario, agree to disagree: "Evidently we both have different opinions on this, and that's OK."

• Focus on what you can do. Tell the person what you can do, not what you n can't do, about their request or complaint.

• Keep your cool. If one or both parties start to get upset, suggest resuming the conversation in 20 minutes after you calm down and collect your thoughts.

• Keep the lines of communication open. Remember that 70 percent to 90 percent of the message is screened by the receiver. For example, if you tell a co-worker you want to meet biweekly, he or she might interpret that to be either twice a week or every other week. Ask questions, listen, repeat the problem/solution and restate or rephrase your message. Checking for understanding is a great way to make sure the message you sent is the same message they received. Engage the person you are speaking with in the process.
When dealing with a difficult person, we forget there are all these choices we have. Slow the whole process down to give yourself some ability to think before you respond.

Posted 10/12/2003
By Patrick J. Donadio

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Value of Decisions

The ability to make good "value" decisions is one of today's most critical life skills. What we make of the future will depend on what we believe has value. How we spend our time, where we spend our money and what we do with our lives, are all directly influenced by our capacity to make clear, balanced and "good" value decisions. Our personal values affect what we expect of ourselves. Knowing yourself is the foundation of a wise decision, and is vital when taking the first decision making step. All of the effort and technique you employ will be wasted if thinking through the decision isn't done properly. A critical thinker observes his own thinking process and monitors himself for faulty logic, and this includes keeping your head to the sky. The value of making wise decisions ultimately falls on the shoulders of assured and logical foresight with objectives to think clearly through the best solution.

Our "values" influence our decisions and actions. Knowing what we value is the key to improving our capacity to make decisions that lead to better results and a more fulfilled life.

1) What Do You Stand to Gain?
When you've got more than one option to choose from, a great first question to ask of each one is, "What do I stand to gain from choosing this option?" If the rewards are big, you might be willing to withstand a bit of risk in order to benefit from the opportunity. Conversely, if the payoff would be small, you might not feel so confident about taking a chance right now.

2) What Do You Stand to Lose?
The next question to ask is, "What do I stand to lose if this option doesn't work out?" No one likes to think of the negatives in a potential opportunity, but you could save yourself a lot of heartache with a bit of foresight! If your losses could be huge with a particular option, you might decide to hold off for awhile to see if the odds improve over time.

3) What's the Worst Thing that Could Happen?
Finally, take it one step further and ask, "What is the worst thing that could happen if I choose this option, and would I be willing to accept those consequences?" It may seem like a very pessimistic question, but it's extremely effective at clarifying the situation! If you couldn't handle the consequences of making such a choice, then you know immediately that it's not the right choice for you at this time. If, on the other hand, the consequences wouldn't be so bad, you know it's a viable option for you.

What do you do if all of your options hold the same potential rewards and consequences? Go with your gut! Take a few minutes to think carefully about each possibility, and then choose the one you feel strongest about.When it comes right down to it, there are no guarantees in decision-making. You simply weigh the pros and cons, listen to your intuition, and do the best you can. In the end, there really isn't any such thing as a "bad" decision, because you do learn something from each one you make. If you keep that in mind you should grow more confident with each choice you make, which will help you make even better decisions in the future.

Here are a few guidelines on making decisions.

• Identifying your problem or the situation that needs attention.
Whatever you do in life, the first thing you need to do is define what it is that you want to achieve or solve.Write it down on paper. It gives you clarity. If you do not make it clear, you may end up overlooking the real problem or identifying it wrongly.And you will tend to make the decision swiftly and easily based on your past solutions even though it has not worked.

• Reframe the problem or situation.
Look at it from a different point of view. When you are having an argument for example, look at it as an observer and see it as though it is happening to someone else. What would your reaction be? When you see the problem differently you will create a different meaning and your experience will change. And you will create more choices when you see things from different perspectives.

• Ask good questions and gather information.
You need information to make new decisions. And asking the right questions gives you ideas and solutions. Ask yourself and others for views and that will spark your mind for creative solutions. Word your questions differently to further stimulate your mind. If you rely on your limited list of choices based on the familiar and the most recent events, you are limited in your possibilities of creating new solutions.

• List your alternatives.
Combine and associate all your ideas. Consider the risks involved and the possible gains. Look at the pro and cons. What are the drawbacks?
With more alternatives, you will have more freedom to achieve a desirable outcome.

• Know your values.
Knowing your moral standards will help you in making decisions without thinking of immediate gratification or relying on your emotions. Your values on what you believe in and what you stand for will guide your decision making process.

• Decide.
If you are still unsure and see several desirable options, trust your intuitions. Your inner guidance will lead you to the right decision.Toughen yourself mentally and remove any remaining doubts and uncertainties and make the decision.Of course there is a risk making mistakes or making the wrong decisions but you can rectify the situation and correct your course. We have been told many times that a wrong decision is better than not making any.

Source : http://www.workyourselfup.com/2007/12/how-to-make-wis.html

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A joyous moment - Part Two

Recapturing the joyous moment of the Undergraduates' conferment (3rd Session, 2.30 - 4.30pm)

My heartiest congratulations goes to :

Bachelor of Management (Technology)
Nurul `Izza

Bachelor of Science (Human Resource Development)
Suriani, Halina and Zanariah

In the Waiting Room (For the Grand Procession of Academic Staff)=>>

The Ceremony...=>>

The Celebration and Jubilation =>>

Refreshment =>>


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sharing a joyous moment with my ex……

Academic Convocation is always a joyous occasion. It stands as one of life's milestones marking the course of individual progress and achievement. It reminds graduates about their role in society and also a time for them to reflect on their past in order to shape their future. It is not only a joyous moment for the graduates, but also the lecturers, the university's authorities and all those who have helped to make the university a success in one way or another. It is also an occasion to acknowledge family and friends who have provided support and to celebrate together the sense of pride and accomplishment felt by everyone in times such as these. Hard work and determination have eventually paid off as graduates being presented and conferred with their qualifications, after having completed their degree, diploma or certificate programs.

As for me, this is among the annually events that I’ve always looking forward to share with my ex students. Despite the difficulties and barriers they have encountered, they finally managed to overcome all that with their undying commitment and perseverance. When Izza (my current post Graduate Student) came over to my room yesterday and proudly showed me her medal (awarded First Class for her Under Graduate Degree in this Convocation), her eyes sparkled with excitement and satisfaction. I can clearly visualize her proud parents waiting for her back home as I passionately hugged and congratulated her. “She deserves it”, I said to myself , because Izza is currently one of my excellent student in class (now pursuing her Masters), who have always stood up with her brilliant ideas and opinions.

Izza with her Gold Medal =>>

This morning, I've celebrated this joyous moment with my ex students who have finally succeed in their pursuit of knowledge for a better future. As adult learners, I really admired their hard work and determination. They have foreseen the opportunities that lie ahead of them and determined to move forward no matter what people says. They have sacrificed their heart and soul to realize their dreams and truly follow their heart.

To my dearest ex-students, Congratulations! I’m really proud of you and hope you’ll attain whatever dreams that you aspires! All the best to :-

Master of Management (Technology)
El Mahdee, Fairul Anwar, Hasmawati, Janiah, Nadia Akmal, Nordiana, Shahdon, and Tay Kian Thiam.

Master of Science (Human Resource Development)
Ahmad Hashim, Ahmad Rizakee, Cik Rohaida, Fadillah, Khairunnisa, Joyce, Maryam Soalihah, Mohd. Zaidi, Norlia, Nursyima, Pengeran Hidayatullah, Roslan, Siti Juhaida and Yoong Soon Kiong.

The Ceremony..=>>

(From L-R): Norlia, Me, Yoong, Siti Juhaida, Roslan and Rizakee =>>

A special message dedicated to my ex-students....

The job market today is a reflection of the global economy. It is highly competitive where there is more supply than demand. Only the most efficient and innovative companies and countries are successful. Companies require knowledge workers with specific skills, experience, good communication and interpersonal skills. They need employees who can be productive and efficient when working on their own and as part of a team, people who can deal with customers and people who can write reports. In other words, they are very demanding.

So, you have to be creative, persistent and never give up. Leave no stone unturned. Don't let any opportunity pass you by. In every initiative you take, demonstrate your willingness to learn and to be trained. Show enthusiasm. Be realistic in what you ask for and what you expect. The road may be long, with many twists and turns, but it will eventually lead you to where you want to be. Never get discouraged, no matter the disappointments along the way. Look towards the future and follow your dream.

Today is your day. It is an important time in your lives. You have achieved distinction and made your family proud. Remember this moment. The degree you have obtained is a recognition of success. Apply the things you have learned here in your job search. While your degree is not a ticket for a job like it used to be, it represents an advantage in today's marketplace. Be proud of what you have accomplished. Build on it for the future. Remember this institution. Remember to give back some of what it has given you.

Remember this....

You will be forever close to my heart. If you're thinking of pursuing your PhD, my door is always open for you, just like it has been before. Please keep in touch and feel free to contact me anytime..! Adios!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tips for Working Under Stress

Your work environment may not be ideal. In fact, as more and more people work from home or take their work on the road, the more likely it is that a person will wind up somewhere full of distractions, stress and more. Here are some solutions that may let you work even under stress:

1. Headphones Are Your Friend
If you can at least block out distracting sounds, you’ll have a much easier time of getting your work done. For most people, noise cancellation is much more important than just masking noise with other noise. White noise or nature sounds may provide you with a better work environment.

2. Take Regular Breaks
Working on a laptop or typing on a Blackberry is physically exhausting -- there just aren’t a lot of ergonomic options. If you can take a break at least once every hour and just move around a little bit, you’ll find that you can work more comfortably.

3. Breathe Deep
If you meditate, now might just be the time for some of that calm you’ve been cultivating. Even a few deep breaths can cut through the stress and let you concentrate on your work.

4. Ask for Consideration
If you need peace and quiet, there’s nothing wrong with asking for it. The worst that could happen is that you’ll be turned down and the situation won’t change.

5. Eliminate the Distractions You Do Control

Taking steps to reduce small distractions you can control -- like turning off your cell phone -- can help you handle the big ones a little better.

6. Break Your Work Down Into Small Tasks

If you can break your work down into small tasks, though, you won’t need to concentrate for long chunks of time, making distractions less of an issue.

7. Stay Away From Televisions
Televisions can be a bigger distraction than many others you might encounter during your day. The constant motion of a television show or ad can grab attention in a way that even people trying to talk to you can’t replicate.

8. Try Not to Rely on Getting Everything Done

Just because it always takes you a set amount of time to handle a particular project, don’t assume that your time requirements will be the same if you’re working somewhere new.

9. Have a Plan B

All sorts of things can happen, so have some sort of alternate plan in case something goes wrong. Maybe it isn’t the way you want to get your work done, but that’s why it’s a back up plan instead of the official approach.

Source : http://thanews.blogspot.com/2009/03/9-tips-for-working-under-stress.html

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The launching of our Post Graduate Student Society

Congratulations, all Post Graduate students!

We have officially launched our own Post Graduate Student Society today at 3.00pm. As the Head of Department for Post Graduate Studies and also the first, PhD graduate of this faculty, it was certainly a great honour for me to be given the opportunity to launch this historical moment. I hope that the society would be able to promote social cohesion among the students, to organize academic and social programmes and also to address whatever issues faced by them to the faculty.

Prof. Dr. Cameron Richards has kindly offered us his support by developing an online
community for all Post Graduate Student (using the social networking software ELLG), an informal seminar series (Chautauqua) supported with additional critical mentoring of students by academic staffs and some additional workshops to support students in various aspects of academic writing. I would advise all Post Graduate students to take this golden opportunity to learn and share new knowledge with him because he will be generally available every Thursday and Friday afternoons, 2-5pm for consultations. Thanks, Prof, for your support and encouragement! We really appreciate it..!


Energize Yourself!

Some people seem to have more energy than others. They are the doers that can take on more activities, put in more effort even after everyone else has quit. People bursting with energy have three things in common: they deeply honor and respect themselves; they completely accept themselves for who they are and don't take themselves too seriously, and they see challenges as opportunities to be creative. The key to a successful and happy life is feeling energetic. When you're energized, you feel a power within yourself to achieve anything. So what are the secrets to having more energy, instead of feeling tired and rundown?

1. Regular exercise is one of the secrets. It keeps the blood circulation in top form, raises the heart rate, gets rid of toxins in the body through the sweat, and is guaranteed to wake up the entire system. Three times a week for at least 20 minutes is a must. Try it, and see the results.

2. Oxygen in the blood is another one of the secrets to greater energy. Stand up and stretch those muscles, and take several deep breaths several times a day. A good supply of oxygen in the blood will energize you!

3. Food, the fuel needed to keep you going is also one of the secrets. Never skip breakfast . It is what jump-starts your day. A good, healthy breakfast like fruit juice, cereal, and milk will see you through the morning like nothing else. Lunch should be the time for a protein boost. Then in the mid-afternoon, when people experience a drop in their blood sugar, a light snack of fruit will perk you up. And a balanced dinner will give you the necessary nutrients to finish the day and get a restful sleep.

4. Sleep is the only way to recharge after a busy day. Most people need at least 7 hours of restful sleep. Growing kids, of course, need 8 to 9 hours. After a restful night, you will wake up ready and eager to face the day.

5. Indulge in something you love to do. A hobby, sport or pastime is a great energizer. Spend some time doing something you love every day, even if only for an hour. It will make you happy, and give you more energy to do other things.

6. Laughter is undoubtedly the best energizer. Laughter generates chemicals in the blood that boost well-being. Laughter gives an over-all feeling of relief. Indulge in a good, hearty laugh every day, and enjoy the boost of energy it gives you.

7. Love is the energy of life itself. Love pumps adrenaline into your bloodstream, puts a smile on your face, and brings out the best in you. So love something or someone, and remain energized for the whole day and the rest of your life.

Source : http://www.allsands.com/potluck1/howtoenergize_uul_gn.htm

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spark Your Enthusiasm

“The real secret of success is enthusiasm” - Walter Chrysler

“Enthusiasm releases the drive to carry you over obstacles and adds significance to all you do “ - Norman Vincent Peale

“Enthusiasm is the electricity of life. How do you get it? You act enthusiastic until you make it a habit” - Gordon Parks

The word enthusiasm is derived from the Greek word, enthousiasmos, which means to be inspired or possessed by a divine being. Enthusiasm is an incredibly powerful tool to create momentum. Enthusiasm can also be used to combat fear and nervousness and it can even create temporary energy and willpower. Being enthusiastic also creates an overall feeling of happiness and well-being that makes it worthwhile regardless of its positive side-effects. Enthusiasm is the means of propelling you towards your successes. It aids you in overcoming various obstacles while you work towards achieving your dreams as you move beyond your reactions to negativity by replacing them with positive reinforcements. Enthusiasm increases your confidence and desire to work on your goals. Whatever your desire is in life, make sure it is something you can do with enthusiasm


1. Passion

Genuine enthusiasm can only be sustained about something you are truly passionate about. Anyone can get themselves hyped up over a boring situation for the moment, but sustained enthusiasm can only come when you deeply care about something. Don’t spend your time pursuing things that you aren’t passionate about. Passion provides the fuel for enthusiasm.

2. Energy
Enthusiasm and energy are very closely linked. Being energetic makes it far more likely for you to be enthusiastic and enthusiasm can literally create the energy you need to get going. Energy comes mostly from a healthy lifestyle. Exercise, eat right and get plenty of rest and water is the first step.

3. Physiology

Think about how you act when you are enthusiastic. Smiling, moving around more and having more expressive body language are likely key characteristics. By making the conscious effort to behave more enthusiastically, you will start to feel more enthusiastic. After a few minutes you will probably create the kind of enthusiasm that your body language suggests.

4. Countering Fear and Nervousness

Acting incredibly enthusiastic will start by masking any nervousness in your body language and speaking. Once you’ve started to create that enthusiasm within yourself, fear and nervousness will be blocked out of your mind. The next time you are in a situation where you think you might be nervous, try to counter with enthusiasm.

5. Building Motivation and Momentum
Enthusiastic people don’t procrastinate what they are enthusiastic about. If at all possible, create some enthusiasm in yourself. You can use the physiology technique to create some quick enthusiasm. By investing our time in our passions and taking steps to improve our energy we can create the kind of enthusiasm that will be with us when we need it for a longer period of time.

6. Improving Communication
Enthusiasm is a great communication tool. It grants you to a lot more confidence than you might otherwise have without appearing arrogant or boastful. By leveraging enthusiasm it is far easier to communicate with others and the quality of that communication is greatly improved. Enthusiasm centers your focus outside of your own ego which separates you from your need to protect it. When you don’t need to protect your ego, you can enter any communication situation without fear or worry.

Source : http://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2006/05/02/enthusism/

In order for you to increase your enthusiasm, you will need to recognize when your enthusiasm is ebbing and then make the proper corrections to work towards the other end of that spectrum. It happens to the best of us. However, to venture on with persistence, we can regain or rekindle our passion for enthusiasm about any situation we may encounter.

You can enhance your sense of enthusiasm by staying contently focused on your positive beliefs and those positive affirmations and reminders that can aid you in overcoming any type of negative event in your life as they happen. You can do this best by keeping the positive principals and patterns that you are working to develop in the front of you mind while you educate yourself by reading and learning all you can. Once you begin and are committed to developing an increase of enthusiasm, it will become second nature. You can easily replace any negative influence with the positive influences that you most desire. Enthusiasm inspires your sense of self worth, your courage and your sense of creativity.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Kevin_Sinclair

The benefits of enthusiasm are vast. From improving productivity, social skills, and confidence to reducing fears and nervousness, enthusiasm is an incredibly powerful tool. Remember that long-term enthusiasm is a skill that needs to be developed. Focusing on your passions and working on your own personal energy will give you the base you need for enthusiasm. Like a spark, guiding your physiology can create a fiery enthusiasm for anything you do. Utilize that enthusiasm and you can get the most out of your life!

Friday, March 20, 2009

My Regular Visitors

As Head of Department for Post Graduate Studies, attending visitors is part of the job. They came over for various reasons and sometimes, problems that need to be solved wisely. Some came in by appointments, while others could just barge in without any specific reasons :-). I enjoyed every moment of it because they'd really brighten up my days with their exciting characters, interesting issues, and great sense of humour, which always finally left me smiling alone all by myself :-). I could generally classify my regular visitors into four distinctive groups :-

1. My best friends :
They regularly drop by to say “Hi”, (it might be because they miss me so much, or long for my "interesting" ways of entertaining them ;-)) and normally to update ourselves with some current issues, i.e Global, Domestic, Academic, etc. (:-))

Akmar =>>

Dr. Nik Hasnaa=>>

Husain =>>

Dr. Esa =>>

2. My supervisees : Of course they have to come and see me regularly, at least once a week, if possible, to get things done. Well, sometimes it could turn out to be a “free motivational session” and a little bit of counseling here and there :-)

Rosli =>>

Aman =>>

Chuk Li =>>

Tan =>>

Mapijan =>>

Sabaruddin =>>

Irene, Tze Tze and Lee =>> >

Putri, Pei Lin and Lynn =>>

3. Committee Members of our Post Graduate Society : They regularly come to seek for advice, signature, letters etc , and updating me with their activities.

Adel and Shah =>>

Fadillah =>>

Farahiyah =>>

4. My students : To discuss about their assignment, the best learning style, tips on how to study smart and get excellent grades, a little bit of motivational talks and coaching.

Vahideh (Iranian)=>>

(Fr L-R): Hafiz, Izza, Baya & Fatin =>>

Yew =>>

To : All My Regular Visitors

Wish you all the best! Thank you so much for your regular visits. I'd really appreciate it. You have been such an inspirational source for my blog too! Thank you, all!

From :-