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Agreeable and disagreeable people

 
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What does it say about my agreeableness that I made extra coffee for the roofing workers who showed up at 6:30 a.m. outside my bedroom window (with no notice or warning that they'd be here today)? And there will be lemonade at lunchtime. 🤦‍♀️🤷‍♀️😆



I just watched this video about personality temperaments the other morning and it explains so. many. things.

 
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One of the recurring topics in Petersons speaches! In the end, you can define for yourself if you are "too" agreeable. It depends entirely on you.

Are you happy being agreeable?

This is a very deep question. Your way of thinking is composed of a belief system (after Peterson and any other reasonable psychologist I know), and these beliefs can be yours, your siblings', your parents', etc. If you want, you can change your beliefs, mostly when you detect that they are not yours. This means you can change your stance on yourself and as well on your agreeableness. I am rather agreeable and feel fine with this way of being, but I have recently learned how to detect when I don't agree, and how to communicate this in a way that is reasonable for me. The benefits are huge.

Keep serving coffee, you are a human being.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Lukas Weissberg wrote:
Are you happy being agreeable?


I am happy being agreeable, until it goes too far, and my needs are not met.
I'm learning how to not let it go too far, and to be agreeable with myself, but I still have a lot of work to do in that space.

Lukas Weissberg wrote:Keep serving coffee, you are a human being.


Serving coffee to random workers (strangers) makes me happy. So I'm pretty sure I'll keep being a food (and beverage) pusher.

 
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Close to this topic is the fading away of assertiveness training seminars. I spoke to a prof at Southern Illinois University as to why I did not see such training now when it was common in the 70s.  His take was the people who could benefit from the training were often too withdrawn to take it.  The classes had too high of percentage of dominating people who were sure they were being walked on.  In the worst cases they were making bigger bullies out of bullies.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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John F Dean wrote:Close to this topic is the fading away of assertiveness training seminars. I spoke to a prof at Southern Illinois University as to why I did not see such training now when it was common in the 70s.  His take was the people who could benefit from the training were often too withdrawn to take it.  The classes had too high of percentage of dominating people who were sure they were being walked on.  In the worst cases they were making bigger bullies out of bullies.


That's frightening. And interesting.

A common theme to help women become more successful in business has been assertiveness training. Though I watched an illuminating TEDx talk by a woman who felt it wasn't so much about assertiveness (and I'll extend that to include agreeableness in the face of disagreeableness) but she thought is was about a lack of business acumen. She specifically postulated that women would do better to learn more about finance and MBA-type skills (or degrees) to be promoted in business, not the more "soft" skills of communication, assertiveness, and relationships.

For me, in my business, I've learned that my high conscientiousness, my agreeableness, and my attention to detail mean that I work best with a certain type of client. Those who are responsive, and conscientious in their dealings with me (and their books!) are the best. Those who put me off, or don't care if their books are kept well ("kept well" is admittedly/purposely vague, and I'm certainly not as much of a stickler as some), are okay letting some things slip, etc., are not a good fit as my client.

Those who disregard me and/or their own books and taxes, leads to my agreeableness being in huge conflict with my conscientiousness and it's not a happy thing in my world.

TIL that temperament has an 'a' in the middle! I thought it was spelled 'temperment.' Who knew? Also, I tend to call the attention to detail personality trait a 'high level of discernment' but (edited to update due to my slow memory recall) I think Jordan Peterson called 'orderliness.'


 
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There is a school of thought that a business owner should fire all of the clients that are not a great fit. At the end of the day, you spend way too much time and energy on clients that are draining and difficult.

A good option may be to dump them and find more clients that are a good fit, and voila! A happier life, and happier clients!
 
John F Dean
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Hi Jocelyn,

Back in the late 80s  I was almost burned at the stake.  In a grad class on administration, a student put forth the prevailing (at the time) view that women would not be accepted  in business until they learned to dress in businesses attire like men ....a la the navy blue business suit.  I held that women would not be accepted until they set their own standard of dress and imposed them on the system.  I havent noticed too many navy blue business suits being worn by women lately.
 
John F Dean
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Artie,  do you mean client (as in customer) or employee?
 
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
Serving coffee to random workers (strangers) makes me happy. So I'm pretty sure I'll keep being a food (and beverage) pusher.



Would make me happy too. Do good things to others is part of the human family and one of the reasons we have survived. In my opinion, this in combination with high assertiveness / low agreableness / high selfesteem / (...put whatever you find important...) is what brings us together ahead.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Artie, I have fired clients, so I hear you on that.

John, that IS funny about women's business attire! When I worked as a corporate accounting manager I dressed in what I thought was appropriate, though rarely business suits. (I owned one dove grey suit - it was a pantsuit if that matters - that I enjoyed wearing to work.) I had another woman in the office tell me I should cover up my boobs more than I did. Some times I would wear a tight sweater (not low cut or anything) without a jacket or anything over it. She told me she thought that was too distracting for men in the office. I thanked her for her opinion and kept dressing as I wished.

 
John F Dean
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As the CEO I was frequently first in the building. I would make coffee and carry it to the other coffee drinkers in the building.  Others caught on, and when they were first in, they would do the same. It is a tradition that has continued long after my retirement.
 
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Artie Scott wrote:There is a school of thought that a business owner should fire all of the clients that are not a great fit. At the end of the day, you spend way too much time and energy on clients that are draining and difficult.


Amen, I am a big proponent of doing this if you can. Especially if your work involves long-term relationships with clients, you don't want to be filled with dread every time Client X appears.

And if you can't fire these clients (there are sometimes reasons), charge them more. It makes it easier to deal with their BS if you're getting a bonus to do so. We call it the "jerk tax".


That said, I think being agreeable does not mean being a doormat. Most of the time, setting the example by being gracious and generous pays off and costs nothing (if anything, it makes you feel better about yourself).
 
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I would probably offer them coffee too. I recall a trades person who was told very firmly NOT to show up before Time A (9 am)who showed up more than an hour early (7:20 am) while I was still in bed at a time when I literally had to sleep up to 14 hours a day to function, and would already have been getting up early to be awake dressed and showered by 9 am. I was furious, and so tired I wanted to cry. I think that's the only time i didnt offer coffee though I did make mine in front of them. That was all the breakfast I got as they worked for the next few hours in the kitchen so it was a really large, really strong, full of cream cup of coffee.

As for assertiveness.... I dont see coffee giving meaning a person is not assertive. Sometimes its done to give a feeling of control over a situation or diffuse tensions and it's a useful trait. I suspect as you deliver coffee or lemonade, you will inquire about their schedule and what days they intend to be there, and likely quietly suggest that they inform you in advance if they are coming so you can have the coffee on, and inquire as to why they have or have not done X or Y while their defenses are down as they take a break... no fuss, no yelling, no anger just calm communication and more goodwill.

I remember one foreman I knew who, before gathering up all the workers for break, would put on two giant pots of coffee. His cross shift didnt do that, and waited for one of the workers to put on the coffee after coming in. Maybe it wasnt just the the coffee, but I noticed his crew was far more cheerful and enthusiastic, laughing and joking during break  than the other crew and much nicer to each other on the radio in the day, and tended to have fewer equipment breakdowns and get more done. A little bit of social finesse goes a long way. Similarly, I know a contractor who always offers the engineers, QC people, owners representatives, and foremen from other companies freedom to take advantage of the really good coffee that he keeps in his trailer for his workers. His workers are happy, the engineers and contractors and owners are inclined to think well of him, and, better yet, he gets a chance to hear gossip and mull over issues long before they ever get formally documented, which makes his life easier, and makes him look better and get lots of sole sourced work.  He is a smart guy, there is a reason he owns a multimillion dollar company.

There is a business owner in the small town I grew up in who may lose his lease as the property owner is tired of his antics. He is so disagreeable that local gossip says at least 3 other people have refused to rent to him (despite having buildings vacant for years), and I know of two more who have said they would never rent to him. He always wants to "come out on top" and comes into negotiations and discussions full of threats... and its catching up to him. Another businesswoman treats her employees badly, and consequently cant find anyone to work for her for more than a few weeks in a town where minimum wage jobs are like gold and many of the other businesses on the street have people who have worked there for decades.  Disagreeableness isnt a great long term strategy, and sure doesnt make life easy...

Agreeable doesnt have to mean doormat at all, and in our society that glorifies the stereotype of "ruthless cutthroat businessman" as the only way to succeed, sometimes we forget why social norms were developed.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Here's what I'm learning:  agreeableness and coffee go together!

Aren't we all happier with coffee?  Haha!

Cheekiness aside, I appreciate the conversations, and better yet, awesome examples (!), around how to be agreeable and not be a doormat. Especially in professional relationships.

It's an odd line, those boundaries. And since we're all human, we make mistakes and cross a line here and there.

I just started listening to a podcast by Ester Perel (sp?) about work relationships and I'm looking forward to hearing more of what she has to say. I have a feeling it's a far cry from assertiveness training, too.

 
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Jocelyn, too many coincidences here. Thanks for the conversation starter. A few years ago a co-worked loaned me Peterson's book, '12 Rule to Live By". I hadn't heard of him before and saw that he was a Canadian professor of sociology and I was intrigued.
What a horrible horrible book! He's obviously intelligent and his data seems well researched, considered, and presented... but the wild conclusions he leaps to! Mind-boggling.
I couldn't help every three pages or so, to mutter to my self "What an A**h*le!". I'm sure he would say that he's just being assertive.

So I watched a CBC documentary on him last week. Their treatment of him humanized him a bit for me. I'm glad for that. But again his own proclamations near the end of the doc spoiled it.
Coincidently(?), the next doc that was suggested was called "A**h*les: A Theory".

Here it is. (I think the subject matter is perfectly in keeping with your original question, but the language can be very 'Paul Approved') ;)
CBC Gems documentary channel
 
John F Dean
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The paradox  is common in health care (in the broad sense).  A CEO will expect the employees to have 100% satisfaction feedback .....yet, the employee is expected to tell the patient/client what he doesn't want to hear.
 
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Side tangent, Jordan Peterson gives very good advice but often his reasoning is problematic. If you read his book, I am specifically referring to the chapter in raising kids. I agree 100% with him that children should not be allowed to behave in a way that will cause you to dislike them. However, to prove his point he compares raising children to overpowering indigenous peoples. He challenges the concept of "the noble savage" and cites a handful of indigenous cultures as being highly prone to homicide before the arrival of colonizing Christians. One of the incidents he included occurred in California in the 19th century, well after the brutal influence of missionaries. There is no numerical analysis of the actual proportion of indigenous cultures which were violent compared to those that were peaceful. He paints an incorrect picture where in a myriad of indigenous groups, the presence of any violent groups at all is given as a justification to overpower all of them.

His whole premise is that culture prevents humans from acting on their innate violent tendencies. And this is true.... when the culture is a good one. But this is a very sneaky way of legitimizing white supremacy while appearing to be addressing the virtues of good parenting.

 
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Artie Scott wrote:There is a school of thought that a business owner should fire all of the clients that are not a great fit. At the end of the day, you spend way too much time and energy on clients that are draining and difficult.

A good option may be to dump them and find more clients that are a good fit, and voila! A happier life, and happier clients!



I recently fired all my web services clients and closed the biz (having been in the doing-computer-stuff-for-people biz since 1984). I'm already happier :)
 
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