If it wasn't for you I would never be who I am

Sometimes we met people who leave permanent marks on our life. We may only be with them for a short while but their impact will be felt forever.

Just listening to Honor Society's 'Where Are You Now' while waiting for my colleague. Every time I hear this song, I could not help but think of few people who had significantly touched my life.

Where are you now
Cause I'm thinking of you
You showed me how
How to live like I do
If it wasn't for you
I would never be who I am

For those people who are unimportant, who accidentally crossed my life and touched it with carelessness, thank you. For those few special people who touched my life with love, your mark are forever engraved in my heart. I may have forgotten what you have done or said, but I will never really forget how you made me feel - respected, appreciated and loved. And I could really say 'If it wasn't for you I would never be who I am.' I know that these people are the bits and pieces that formed the puzzle of my so called 'life' and I would be less if they have not touched me the way they did.

For those people that I have met, I hope that I have touched you in ways that could enriched you. If you felt that I just pass through, I hope that I had never leave you with a feeling of remorse because of a gaping hole that, I may never know, had leave behind. If I did, I could not offer anything but my heartfelt sorry.

I know we'll never see those days again
And things will never be that way again
But that's just how it goes
People change but I know
I won't forget you

So true! Circumstances change. People change. I'd changed without knowing it. And the realization hits me so hard that I grow more melancholy every hour knowing that this change would force me to leave a part of me behind.


For every dream that's reborn, there's a dream that dies. For every hello you say, there's a sad goodbye. Sad but soooo true! Funny to think that what you've started, cared for in years, dreamed of fulfilling is fading slowly in front you. But what is so ironically humorous is that you have what it takes to control it, but you cannot just make it because you no longer feel it!

Relationship is the most complex aspect of human living. Your relationship could elevate you to new heights or could drag you down big time. But what if your relationship is pretty good? Should you stay? Should you commit yourself on that relationship for life? Or should you leave and look for something better? You may think that what you have is good enough and you would be a fool to
abandon it in search of a new relationship you may never find. Or maybe you’re seriously holding yourself back from finding a truly fulfilling relationship that would serve you well the rest of your life. You cannot decide one way or another. Tough call! Just one of the superficial considerations on the things that I am contemplating right now. I thought that saying goodbye would be sooo easy but I was wrong.

Part 4: Essentials of Supervision - What keeps you motivated?

Whoever you are - whether you are a salaried professional (white-collar workers), in a service sector or a manual laborer, there is always one motivating factor that would keep you dedicated to your job. And whether it is passion, enthusiasm or dedication, people want to be motivated and companies want motivated people working for them. A highly motivated workforce is more likely to live with the culture of the company, support the core values and respond positively to change. Motivation lessens, if not eliminates, the problematic people - those that are whiners, rebels and demoralized.

Before continuing reading the content of this post, take a moment to assess and ask yourself this question - what really keeps you motivated at work? What is it that satisfies your compelling personal need?

During our Essentials of Supervision training, our speaker undertook and tried making us understand more about what really motivates people at work - by asking us to tell him our motivating factor in own words before he continued discussing the real motivators. The results, monetary values (e.g. incentives, compensation, bonus), recognition, self-development came as the top three.

I remember I had this interview once when I was asked what keeps me motivated and I said 'recognition'. And consistent enough, when I was engaged to assessing myself, I could not think of anything that would highly motivate me except having to feel appreciated and respected for the work I do, simply because I also take pride in what I do. Of course, the compensation is a factor but it only comes second to me, the keys to doing well on the job is not necessarily based on pay alone.

People must feel motivated to do a good job and go the extra mile at work. And motivation effort is exerted thru the managers, supervisors, leads. The question how one can keep an employee motivated?

First, let's define what is 'motivation'. It is a process in which leaders influence individuals' and teams' behavior by connecting to inner needs and desires.1

Now, you cannot motivate people if you yourself is not motivated. And that is the first rule of the process: You will never inspire others unless you are inspired yourself. Only a motivated leader can motivate others1. Second, before you can motivate someone, you need to know what motivates him/her specifically. Note that employees in an organization follow instructions only for a very selfish reason: to satisfy a compelling personal need. A leader's task is to find a way by which the job itself can satisfy them1.

Here's how1:
  1. Recognize individual differences - each person has different motivating factor
  2. Match people to jobs - so they could improve their skills
  3. Use goals to motivate - but don't give them goal that is too easy
  4. Individual rewards - if somebody is doing well, he/she is entitled for a reward
  5. Link rewards to performance
  6. Be fair
  7. Don't ignore money, but don't overestimate its power
  8. Do not underestimate the power of 'recognition'

Some pointers I was able to extract during the training's open discussions:
  1. Recognize one in public
  2. But always keep recognition and salary discussion distinct or separate. Otherwise, it will be transactional.
  3. Never ever promise a salary increase or a promotion. It is not in your power to totally guarantee it.
  4. Favoritism-issue. Whether you don't have a favorite, your team will assume and would assign one as your favorite. So make sure, if you have one, make it the 'performer'.
  5. Team building, dinner/lunch treats are not real motivators. It is only superficial and the effect normally don't last long.
According to Psychologist Frederick Herzberg, there are certain basic needs - called 'hygiene factors' - that individuals look for in their work1:
  1. Salary and benefits
  2. Working conditions
  3. Company policy
  4. Status
  5. Job security
  6. Supervision and autonomy
  7. Office life
  8. Personal Life
All the above comes from the company and not really the best and real motivators. Below are what actually drive people to achieve and Herzberg wrote that these are what a leader should aim for1:
  1. Achievement - the urge to achieve is a basic human drive. This is one of the most powerful motivators.
  2. Recognition - acknowledge from senior leaders enhances people's self-esteem.
  3. Job interest - a job that provides positive, satisfying pleasure will be a greater motivational force than a job that does not sustain interest.
  4. Responsibility - the opportunity to exercise authority and power demands skills, risk-taking, and decision making - all of these are strong motivators.
  5. Advancement - the main motivator is the feeling that advancement is possible.
Lastly, Peter Drucker reminds us that: "We can argue as to whether or not we are able to motivate others. What we understand is that we have the power to demotivate. It is this ability to demotivate that we should correct.1"

So good luck with eliminating our demotivating skills and exercising our motivating power.

are excerpts from the Essentials of Supervision training I attended at Ateneo de Manila University

Part 3: Essentials of Supervision - Emotional Intelligence

How do you handle pressure at work? Do you cram?

How do you respond to colleagues or supervisor who you think are watching your every move waiting for you to do something against what is the company's norms? Do you squirm? Are you defensive?

How do you handle conflicts between people? Would you point out mistakes or lapses of specific person?

How do you handle problems at work? Will you be irritated with colleagues that don't deliver expected results?

Well, I have listed here some pointers that I think would be of help to you if in case you've have answer 'yes' to most of the questions above:

1. Know your emotions
  • When you're feeling that rage is building up, feel it. Be familiar with it. Name your emotions: is it anger? distrust? fear? anxiety? irritations? aggression?
2. Manage your emotions
  • If management pointed out a fault in something that you've did, don't worry. Don't be defensive. Don't squirm. It is after all their job to spot imperfections. Best approach? Step out of your emotion then respond professionally.
  • Manage your temper - get angry. That's unavoidable, you don't have to deprive yourself of feeling this kind of emotion. But don't let this get in the way. Feel the emotion, be familiar with it, get over with it quickly. Then get back to work.
  • Channel your emotion away but not through other people. When you're angry, attribute them to the right sources. Analyze. Why are you angry? And AVOID ACTING UPON THEM IMPULSIVELY. Most people lost their professionalism because they react too much, too quickly and sometimes the reason of their rage is petty misunderstanding.
  • Learn to differentiate what is 'problem' and 'irritation'. Don't get confused between the two. You might never know that the difficulty you're facing would have no solution at all because the source of your difficulty is you're irritation. Not a valid problem at all.

3. Motivate yourself
  • Improve your self regulation and cope with frustration in a smart way. Learn to control your emotions would help one in reaching their goals.
4. Recognize emotions from others
  • Be sensitive. Practice empathy. Know that when someone is losing his temper, there is nothing you can do to alleviate the person's feeling at that moment. Anything you will say will just fuel the fire. So better stop, think first then approach the person when you think the coast is clear
5. Handling relationships
  • How good at you at managing emotions of others? You're done managing your own emotions. It is now time that you manage others. And leaders are skilled at this. When leaders are not calm, subordinates would become uncomfortable.
  • In a conflict situation between two people, you have to recognize that both person are at fault. You don't need to point out mistakes of specific person. Remember, it takes two to tango. You also don't need the bring out the reason of dispute. Focus on 'now' and how to resolve the conflict, discuss how two people could still work together better. Be calm, assertive and straightforward when resolving conflicts.
Listed in numbers above are the 5 aspects of emotional intelligence or 'EQ' which I have learned from again attending the Essentials of Supervision training. Now, assess which of these aspects you need improvement on.

If I have to assess myself, I know I need to improve on no. 5 - to be calm under pressure. But you know, you can only achieve all of the other 4 if you have the power to control your emotion. Once you have that, learn to balance the other 4 and you would be successful in dealing with daily struggles of facing and handling difficult people, anywhere!

Part 2: Essentials of Supervision - Are you Extreme or Just the in Between?

Most of the time, people are so composed that one can never tell if a person has some struggles going on beyond what is physically visible. But our ways of handling or reacting to a situation that put us on a certain level of difficulties can actually reveal our true self.

As I've learned, people adapt three styles of relating to a situation - passive, aggressive and assertive.

Now, in which of these styles do you actually belong? And which style would you really like to adapt?

The Diplomat1

Are you afraid of experiencing direct rejection? Do you rarely take action to meet your own needs? Are you dependent and afraid to stand up for your own? Do you usually use the words 'maybe', 'perhaps' or use disclaimers? Do you prefer to be always on the safe side? Try measuring out your confidence level. Imagine yourself in a situation, say in a meeting and everyone is throwing up ideas that you think are so brilliant. You have something in your mind that you actually would like to contribute when everyone have decided to settle for the idea suggested by your team leader. What would you do? If you choose to remain silent because you were afraid yours might be rejected, then you are a passive kind of person. You rarely speak out. You just accept additional work load without question. You can be bullied. And chances are you are unknowingly building up resentment, anger and frustration inside while decreasing your sense of worth and respect (of self and from others). How can you get out of this passive behavior? Start from within yourself. Build that confidence first and everything will follow - respect, sense of worth and direction and being connected with people around you.

So do you usually use this line? "Sige lang, pag ako napuno... hmp! Lintek lang ang walang ganti?"

The Action Man1

The opposite of this sulky behavior is the dominant type often born because of low self-esteem. So remember, when you are working out your passive behavior be careful not to overdo it as you may end having an aggressive behavior. Assess yourself. Are you the kind of person who:
- uses humiliation to control others?
- speaks in loud, demanding and overbearing voice?
- interrupts frequently?
- always use 'you' statement (you should, you better, you always, you never)?

If you thinks so but you're not so sure, further re-assess yourself:
- do you notice growing resentments from others?
- do people tend to avoid you?
- are you having difficulties to express your feelings without getting mad?
- are you having difficulties cultivating relationship?

If your answer is 'yes' to some of these questions then you are likely the overbearing, egoistic, opinionated individual. Ouch! That really hurts right? When you are aggressive, people usually follows you not out of respect but because of your superiority.

The Negotiator1

It's Friday and you're looking forward to spending the night with your family when at around 5PM, your boss approaches you and asks you in a form of 'favor' to prepare and complete the report he needs for his Monday board meeting presentation. What do you think is your best option - saying 'yes, boss I can do it' because you think 'hmmm... this is my time to shine and prove to my boss I'm good at what I do'. So it's an added merits on you. Or would you out-rightly say 'no' because you are not confident you could finish the work on time?

If you say yes, then you are passive. If you just plainly say 'no boss, you should have told me earlier...' without offering alternatives, that makes you aggressive. The best approach is to say no, explain why and offer what you can do. Negotiate. Push back. Assure your boss you can deliver what you've committed. Be assertive!

Now, being assertive is not a case-to-case basis. You should be assertive at all times, 24/7! Assertiveness does not only apply on dealing with corporate bosses, colleagues and clients. It is something that we could effectively apply on our day-to-day decision-making.

However, being assertive could not guarantee that you could get whatever you want so avoid unreasonable expectations from others.

and I may add... The Extremist

A person who is absolutely passive can be an animal (overly aggressive) when his hot button is pressed. Watch out for this kind of person. Because they tend to use subtle sabotage to get even. They use sarcasm and often has facial expression that don't match how they feel (like smiling when angry). Always in denial of a problem but frequently mutters to themselves rather than confront the person or issue. They can switch on and off of both extremes: passive now and minutes later became aggressive. These are what we usually called 'ang hirap timplahin ng ugali'. If you are this kind of person, my advice is to seek for professional help.

Where do majority of Filipino stands? By nature, Filipinos are passive as clearly explained below:

- Filipinos are not comfortable at accepting direct compliments. For instance when someone compliments us on how good we look, our usual response is 'it's just the dress'. We could not openly accept compliment and admit that we really look good. Modesty aside, we could just have said 'thank you' and return the compliment.

I couldn't help but link this to a friend's post just to elaborate about how we Filipinos are so uncomfortable giving and receiving compliments.

- We became passive when we relate to elders out of respect. Even though we don't believe in what our elders are saying, because we regard them with respect, we affirm them.

- In work, we have difficulties relating upward preventing us from voicing out our concern. That is the reason why 'grapevine' is very common in our working environment.

- We tend to assume. We don't clarify questions. So often times, we find ourselves messed up in petty misunderstandings.

- We are a 'pleaser'. We try to please people (especially bosses) to earn extra merits so we end up being a 'yes man' thus compromising our other commitments.

The list could go long but these are the obvious I have observed so far and some are my personal experiences.

1 Description on the first three different styles of relating were excerpt from the Thursday discussion we had at our training - Essentials of Supervision (10/6/2011).

Part 1: Essentials of Supervision - Things I learned

What makes my work unbearable? It's when you need to face people you don't really like but you have no choice but to come up to them, paste a smile and pretend that everything between you and that person is fine.

I'm not really a people magnet. I had already accepted that fact over 10yrs ago. I knew I got no charisma in attracting people to like or listen to me. I learned that when back in high school, I ran for a position in a school body competition four times and ended up defeated four times as well. I never win when it comes to winning public vote. Maybe this is also the reason why I have few, chosen friends which I called the 'privileged ones'. Well, I am happy being with them because with them, I totally have no inhibitions!

The fact that I'm not good at winning people had me asking why I end up in the management position where I have to deal with every people in a team, some very difficult to handle in fact, delegate tasks, coordinate/corresponds with them, get something from them, get them going and making them work for the common objective. During one of my interviews, I was asked about what are my weaknesses. Without hesitations I pointed out that if there would be any tasks that I probably decline is to 'handle people'. People management is not really my cup of tea. I don't like politics. I hate dispute and I'm not a good in resolving conflicts. And somehow managing people would put me into situations where different people with different views/attitude would clash and I will be the go-between.

Second, I hate to point out negative side of one person, much more say it upfront, on their face and explaining to them the areas they need improvement. I'm not good at words and when I am nervous, I fumble for best things to say. It is easy to spot quantifiable elements of the team member's low performance but pointing out there faults at work and bringing these into the open and interpreting the measures and feedback to them without sounding so blunt is very difficult. With my current load, performing project appraisal is included on my job scope. When project ends, I would as much avoid doing the the PPA (project performance appraisal) but I know it would be unfair to my colleagues for several reasons: without preparing their PPA and giving feedback on how they carry out their tasks, how would they be able to perform better? How would they be able to meet the management's expectations? How can they become more mature? Lastly, how could I motivate them if I would just be passive and not talk about the best approach for them to excel?

Lastly, being in project management means 100% directing people. Bringing the best out of them. Training them. I can say I have patience when it comes to training and coaching people, I have already put myself into test on this matter as I am currently handling several interns on my project. However, the challenge lies when the person you're directing has longer tenure than you are. They are the roots and you are just a newbie. They have product knowledge why you have the experience on theories, methodologies and process. They been doing things the way they do it in years. How can you get them to listen to you? To believe in you? And to get them do things the way you want them to do without being too pushy or too lenient? I've been in this situation for more than a year now. And it is so exhausting. I've been in a tense state, so careful that I may not disappoint them. So conscious of my effort just to please them. But then I realized that's not the best approach. You won't gain any ounce of respect from these people if you bow down or be submissive on their ways. On the other hand, pushing and commanding people would not get you anywhere as well. Everything that is too much is not good. Best ways? I think need to adapt what Normal Dale of Hoosiers movie had done when he was employed as a new coach on a very conventional, closed-minded, basketball-lover people of Indiana. Here's some:

1. Have your own opinion and convictions. Be firm but polite and open. When others say yes, it doesn't mean you would follow through. Have your own stand and be firm with it.

2. State how you feel without apologizing, as long as this does not fringe on the rights of others. These people will be more aggressive when you state your feeling with an apologetic tone.

3. Ask for what you want, straightforward, without hesitation. And make it sound that you expect them to deliver it. Make it clear. One supervisor had said "when I say you should do this, please note that I really really would like you to start doing this...". That is clearly making a point.

4. Do not always worry the problem of others that won't directly affect your project's objective.

5. And the best one: choose how you will respond to a situation (someday, I would really love to blog something about this -- best ways to respond to a difficult situation).

Itemized pointers above were excerpts from the training discussion I attended today - Essentials of Supervision, I just expounded them.


82 days before Christmas. Time flies! Why couldn't we keep time from moving on? Why couldn't we just say the command 'freeze' and everything will freeze giving us a chance to linger? But if this is possible, do you think it would take the excitement out of life? I would think so.

There are spur-of-the-moment acts that made us giddy and giggly. Unexpected opportunities that almost made us tumble because the excitement is too unbearable for us. If the moment would be prolonged, don't you think the length of time would be able to sustain it? Excitement cease to exist when spoiled. And one spoiler is you staying in that moment longer when you need is to move on.

If we could freeze out the time, chances are we will all miss the fun and great opportunities the future could bring; we will not get to enjoy the best parts of life. Remember that life is not only about pleasant moments. The one that molds us into who we will become are the events that we usually dread to experience.

There are moments that we so wanted to last but we could not take hold of it. What's left is just an afterglow... but we could bask in it. Despite losing the actual moment, we are lucky enough that we have all been given with special gift - memories, that allow us to recall our pasts with smiles and tears in our eyes.

We could not get hold of everything. But we could at least try to get hold of what we could have. So we better make the most out of it.

Related Posts with Thumbnails