Saturday, July 28, 2012

Conflict at Work

Recently I have had a conflict with my direct supervisor.  It had appeared to me that she negative about the center and the people who work in it.  This is the first year that the center has been shut down in the summer. It is usually a year-round program.  She demanded that staff remove everything personal from the building because while they were laid-off for the summer, she planned to go through the rooms and strip and throw away all of the things she did not want in the rooms.  The teachers were very upset; many of them have worked in their rooms for many years.  As the new supervisor, she has told me to start throwing things away.  I have only worked in this center for a month and that time has been without staff and children, so I have no idea what things the teachers use all the time and what can be thrown out.  Anytime I ask my supervisor she says if it’s dirty or doesn’t look nice get rid of it.

I have two conflicts in this story. The first is with my direct supervisor and trying to make her understand my position of being new to the program and wanting to enter into this job as a supportive asset and not someone who threw all their stuff away.  The second is enforcing the demands of my supervisor, (and there are many of them) on the teachers and staff that I work with. 

Things I have learned so far from this class that will help me include.

1.      Trying to actively listen and understand my supervisors reasons

2.      Respectfully explaining how I feel about her requests

3.      Trying to discover a way we can make the center look clean and professional without throwing away too many of the teachers favorite things.

When I am trying to work with staff to understand some of the new rules that have been imposed, I might:

1.      Help them understand the reasons behind the rules

2.      Help them negotiate compromises with the supervisor when some of the rules are too difficult to follow in an active preschool classroom.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

my communicaation style and perceptions

I was very interested in the communication surveys this week; It was interesting to see where I rated on the scales. What surprised me most was that the people I had complete the surveys saw me very much as I saw myself.

In Verbal aggressiveness I was consistently ranked in the moderate category.  I think that is accurate.  I will defend a point I am trying to make, but I try to be respectful of others and when the  conflict reaches a point of impact, I try to find a way to end it with both parties feeling ok about it.

In Communication Anxiety I was ranked in the mild category, Again I think this is accurate, I do not go out of my way to seek public speaking opportunities, but I will speak to large or small groups as required.

Something that did surprise me was that I was ranked in the people-oriented group, even by myself.  In reading the descriptions of the groups, I thought I would fall in the content or action group, as I am a very direct and to the point person. Or so I thought. 

It was interesting to find that my perceptions of myself were very similar. 


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Diversity and Culture

  • Do you find yourself communicating differently with people from different groups and cultures?

  •             Because of this class, I have been more mindful of how I am communicating recently.  Last week I was in the mall having a pedicure.  The man giving me the pedicure was Asian although at first I didn't know exactly where he was from.  His English was heavily accented and I found myself leaning in closer and listening more carefully to his words, trying to understand his meanings.  I also noticed that I was very aware of his non verbal cues.  There was a TV playing off to the side and the show International House Hunters was on.  When the show began talking about houses in Vietnam his face lit up and he said something the the woman next to him in their home language.  I asked him if he was from Vietnam.  He said yes he was and spent the rest of the time telling me about his home country and how much he missed it.  It was an interesting conversation and one I would not have had id I was not watching his non verbal cues.

  • If yes, in what ways do you communicate differently

  • I think when it comes to language barriers, I listen more closely and watch for non-verbal cues to help understand the conversation.  When speaking with someone whose language is the same but cultural views are different, I am more mindful of the content of speech.  I would never want to intentionally insult someone of hurt their feelings or discount their beliefs.  In that I sometimes keep my own opinions and beliefs out of the conversation, depending on the relationship I have with the person.

    Saturday, July 7, 2012


    What do you think the characters’ relationships are based on the ways in which they are communicating?

    I watched a new show called Longmire.  It was a western/cop show/ drama.  I thought that the older sheriff was very commanding of the other officers.  His facial expressions were very stoic and he did not smile very often.  I thought there was a romantic interest between the sheriff and the one female officer.  The episode I watched showed scenes where the sheriff was interviewing young children. When he talked to them his face changed and his body language was more open and concerned.  In one scene he was drinking in a bar with Lou Diamond Phillips, who plays a bartender. It appeared that there was a history between the two men, I couldn’t tell if they were friends but they were much more comfortable with each other that the sheriff appeared with other characters.

    What are they feeling and expressing based on the nonverbal behavior you are observing?

    The main sheriff appears angry or disgruntled about his job.  He appears to e uncomfortable with the other younger people in the office.  The one female officer is very flirty, playing with her long hair and resting her hand on the sheriff’s shoulder or arm as they talk.  When the sheriff and the bar tender talk, the bartender appears concerned and angry about something and the sheriff appears upset and confused.

    What assumptions did you make about the characters and plot based on the ways in which you interpreted the communication you observed?

    I assumed the sheriff was unhappy in his job. That he did not really like the people he worked with.  I felt that there was a friendship or at least history between the sheriff and the bartender based on their comfort level with each other.  I thought that the female sheriff had a romantic interest in the sheriff.

    Would your assumptions have been more correct if you had been watching a show you know well?

      If I had seen this show before I might have had context for the relationships between the people.  When I watched it with the sound on, I realized that one of the deputies was running against the sheriff in an election and that is why there is so much tension in their body language.  I was correct about the relationship between the sheriff and the bartender, there were friends but found themselves on opposite sides of the case they were trying to solve.