Samuel Baloyi, is an author of 12 inspirational and developmental books. He is an ethicist who coaches and speaks on the 21st century professional ethics and an Education Consultant for professional development and performance improvement. He has spent many years in extensive research on the subject before writing his book entitled, How to navigate out of crisis into creativity. Here is an extract from Mr Baloyi’s information-packed and thought provoking workshop of the same name.
You can never deal with, or assist with, tackling a problem until you have identified who you are. As EA Practitioners it is important to help yourself through self-knowledge. There are three key elements when it comes to self-knowledge and understanding yourself. These are:
Many people believe that character is who you are and cannot be changed – that your character traits are set in stone from birth. When people declare their positive or negative character traits, sometimes incorrectly, they firmly believe that there is no changing them. However, character is not inborn – it is developed and can be transformed. Some individual character traits that need transformation can be hereditary. For example: A person with a bad temper can be a member of a family, all of whom have bad tempers.
People mistake personality for character (and vice versa). Unlike character, personality is inborn. In terms of temperament people may be introverted or extraverted. However, there are four types of personalities (and we all display more than one of them):
- Drivers: People who want to make it happen. Drivers precipitate decisions.
- Analysts: People who need more detail, so they can analyse risk and examine
Any advantages and disadvantages.
- Expressives: These people do not bottle up issues. They will confront problems
Immediately and are not daunted by platforms from which to communicate. They can come across as arrogant.
- Amiables: These are friendly and relatable, and can also be outspoken.
People will define you as a result of your reputation. In other words, how you sell yourself and your outward conduct.
What is a crisis?
Crisis is experiencing a loss that comes from an unexpected event. It is a situation that appears to be bigger than one’s capacity to handle it. Crisis is relative – what is a conundrum to one person may not be a conundrum to another.
What is pressure?
Pressure is not deadly, but different people can successfully handle different amounts of pressure. Experiencing pressure is not always a bad thing. When people’s lives are at risk, they will run away with all their strength. When we are under pressure we are given the opportunity to realise our true potential.
Rather than running away, we should embrace crisis or pressure as these provide an opportunity to uncover our true potential.
Every solution is packaged within a problem
Every crisis comes with solutions. Most of the time we think a solution will come from without, but in reality, the solution is intrinsic to the problem. Every coin has two sides. On one side of the coin there is a problem and on the other side a solution. The outcome depends on how we react to a crisis. For example, some people became victims of the pandemic and other people got creative and came up with solutions that helped them to thrive.
To deal with crisis we need creativity
The elements that give rise to creativity are as follows:
If you build on positivity you are likely to get positive results. In a battery there are positive and negative terminals. If you touch the positive terminal it will spark, emitting positive electrical energy. Your outcome from crisis is determined by your mind-set. Mind-set and attitude are not the same – there is a thin line between them.
- Mind-set is a thinking style, shaped by our formative years and education. When you engage with clients, it is beneficial to tap into their style of thinking, to engage them to expose their mind-set.
- Attitude is the influence and force behind the mind-set. It is said that “attitude smells” – we can pick up peoples’ attitudes from a distance. There is no such thing as a neutral attitude – only a positive or negative one. You cannot solve a problem with a negative attitude. A positive attitude forms the basis of one’s problem solving ability. It is the foundation we build our strengths upon in problem solving or crisis management.
Understanding is the womb that produces results. When graduating, some people pass because they cram for exams. In doing so, they have not gained understanding. They have passed by obeying instructions, but have not necessarily understood the subject matter. As an EA Practitioner, seek understanding. For example, if you don’t understand the dynamics around stress, you will fail in assisting a client to overcome their stress. Understanding yields wisdom. Don’t only “hear” what your clients tell you, assist them through understanding the dynamics around their crisis situation.
3. Assertive leadership
We may not think that our subordinates are leaders. For example, we may not see the cleaners in the organisation as leaders and we may even undermine them. But, who would you go to if you had a question about cleaning materials? Cleaning materials are their area of expertise. Everyone is a leader in their own right in their own area of expertise. Assertive leadership is leading with confidence. When it comes to assertive leadership, an EA Practitioner who does not show confidence will not inspire their clients to accept their assistance in finding the right solution.
A bank of knowledge forms the basis of assertive leadership. The more you know, the more confident you are in what you are talking about. It is essential to continue to capacitate yourself with the knowledge that is necessary for your craft so you can lead in confidence – not necessarily from the front, but from being among your people and empathic with their situation.
The benefit of a contingency plan
A contingency plan entails pre-preparing for crises or situations that you are not anticipating. Being unprepared puts one into the zone of trepidation, filled with anxiety and hopelessness, not knowing what to expect from the future. This is demotivating and demoralising. Contingency plans allow one to respond better to unforeseen contingencies. For example, what would be a contingency plan for being retrenched?
- If you don’t think, you will sink. If you are going to overcome a crisis and become creative in bringing about solutions to unforeseen disasters, you need to be a person who thinks – who uses their brain. Creativity is a by-product of a stretched mind. If it is not stretched it will shrink. You will not be able to apply creativity in finding solutions to crises if you are not capacitated by knowledge, information and ideas. Your mind contains a lot of treasures which, if you tap into them, will increase your value. People who are thinkers are more trusted.
- If you don’t prepare, you will repair. Contingency planning can give you the negatives that may arise amid a crisis that affects your business or customers. In the absence of preparation, having to repair after the fact is always a costly exercise. Without being prepared you will respond with your emotions, rather than being rational. A contingency plan capacitates your rational thinking brain.
If you were not able to attend this valuable seminar, click here to view it on EAPASA’s Facebook page.
Mr Samuel Baloyi
Performance Coach @ParExcellence Pty Ltd
Samuel is an author of 12 inspirational and developmental books. An ethicist who coaches and speaks on the 21st century professional ethics. An education consultant for professional development and performance improvement.