Can we trust nobody?

Use this forum to discuss the January 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, Emotional Intelligence At Work: A Personal Operating System for Career Success by Richard M Contino & Penelope J Holt
anonymous66
Posts: 372
Joined: January 12th, 2018, 4:01 pm

Re: Can we trust nobody?

Post by anonymous66 »

Sushan wrote: January 25th, 2022, 1:11 pm
anonymous66 wrote: January 20th, 2022, 10:20 pm
Sushan wrote: January 19th, 2022, 1:09 pm
anonymous66 wrote: January 9th, 2022, 3:07 pm

The author also has this to say (p.44)
"Trusting someone before they have earned it is unwise, but assuming that everyone we meet is untrustworthy is needlessly cynical. So, what's the appropriate strategy? Good BEQ suggests we simply resist forming an opinion about a person's character or personality, until we see how they act over time, and in different circumstances. This won't be easy at first It requires living with the anxiety of suspending judgment instead of relaxing into a false sense of rapport and trust."
Seemingly the author has contradicted himself. First he tells assuming all that we meet as untrustworthy is cynical. But then he tells that good BEQ suggests resisiting forming an opinion about people until we study them for some time. So in other words the latter part suggests not to trust people until we get to know them well. So we should not trust anyone that we do not know. And I see a practical issue in the latter statement. For how long should we study a person in order to form an opinion on him or build some trust on him?
My thoughts are similar gad-fly's. The way the book is written - the author assumes that he is writing to people who do trust others as a matter of course (you can't be successful in business if you don't put at least some trust in others). The author is writing to people who do trust - that's why they need to be warned - sometimes his target audience trusts too quickly and get burned (again I'm thinking about the story from Chapter 3 - Veronica and Tony (p.11)- the problem was that Veronica put too much trust in Tony even though she had some "gut feelings" that should have been warning signs). The context I see is when our "gut" tells us a particular person may be a problem - that's when "resisting forming an opinion" comes into play (and/or calling some of the people Tony suggested were people he had worked with in the past). The author doesn't ever suggest it's good idea to trust "nobody" (after all the author suggests that Veronica could/should have trusted the people she should have called in order to vet Tony... and the author suggests that Johanthon was correct in continuing to trust Danny after Johanthon confronted him).
Veronica acted depending on the facts that she had on her hands. Though her 'gut' said her to be cautious, apparently there was nothing bad on Tony. It is true that ultimately her 'gut feelings' became correct. But what if Tony was a legitimate guy? Then Veronica would have never listened to her 'gut feelings' anymore thinking that it was merely out of anxiety.
Maybe. But the author would probably suggest that if Tony was a legitimate guy then she wouldn't have had the "gut feelings" that she did (they were admittedly extreme). And even if your interpretation is correct, it's not as if the author demands that we take every "gut feeling" as gospel truth.

And also, it is easy to analyze a situation after everything happened and point out the mistakes and give suggestions. But it is quite different when you are actually facing it, with no idea about the future.
Sure.. but the above observations don't contradict anything I read in the book.
anonymous66
Posts: 372
Joined: January 12th, 2018, 4:01 pm

Re: Can we trust nobody?

Post by anonymous66 »

Sushan wrote: January 25th, 2022, 1:05 pm
anonymous66 wrote: January 20th, 2022, 9:30 pm
Sushan wrote: January 19th, 2022, 1:01 pm
anonymous66 wrote: January 7th, 2022, 9:49 pm My takeaway from the first 25 pages. Trusting others is necessary in order to work and succeed together, but we must take care to trust our instincts (listen to what "out gut" is telling us about other people) and/or confront others when necessary (avoiding conflict also causes problems)

I'm thinking about the story of Danny and Johnathon (page 7 in the book) - it looked like Danny was sabotaging the company, but Johnathon was able to confront him - they were able to talk about the problem and then create a new business plan that was beneficial for both parties.
The story you mentioned is about a junior confronting a senior. Luckily the senior fellow chose to listen to what his junior had to say, and he accepted the need to change. Seemingly the junior fellow was lucky. But how many seniors in today's business world will tolerate a junior's confrontation? And a change based on such incident will be even more rare. OTOH, how many employees will find the courage to confront their employer?
I'm with the author on this one. It may be hard, and it does carry risks, but sometimes confrontation is necessary. Considering the options that Johnathon had at his disposal (I suppose he could have just left - but where would that have left him?) and the outcome, it seems to me that Johnathon made the right choice.
In this case there were no options for Jonathan. Yes, he could leave, but it was not a feasible option with his financial situation. I would simply say, he was under pressure. He released that pressure by confronting his senior. Luckily his senior gave the confrontation some thought and understood his mistakes. So it made Jonathan's move the correct one. But if the results were different, then can we still say he was correct?
I thought the issue was whether or not a junior business partner should ever confront a senior business partner. You appear to be saying "no".
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LuckyR
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Re: Can we trust nobody?

Post by LuckyR »

anonymous66 wrote: January 26th, 2022, 7:28 pm
Sushan wrote: January 25th, 2022, 1:05 pm
anonymous66 wrote: January 20th, 2022, 9:30 pm
Sushan wrote: January 19th, 2022, 1:01 pm

The story you mentioned is about a junior confronting a senior. Luckily the senior fellow chose to listen to what his junior had to say, and he accepted the need to change. Seemingly the junior fellow was lucky. But how many seniors in today's business world will tolerate a junior's confrontation? And a change based on such incident will be even more rare. OTOH, how many employees will find the courage to confront their employer?
I'm with the author on this one. It may be hard, and it does carry risks, but sometimes confrontation is necessary. Considering the options that Johnathon had at his disposal (I suppose he could have just left - but where would that have left him?) and the outcome, it seems to me that Johnathon made the right choice.
In this case there were no options for Jonathan. Yes, he could leave, but it was not a feasible option with his financial situation. I would simply say, he was under pressure. He released that pressure by confronting his senior. Luckily his senior gave the confrontation some thought and understood his mistakes. So it made Jonathan's move the correct one. But if the results were different, then can we still say he was correct?
I thought the issue was whether or not a junior business partner should ever confront a senior business partner. You appear to be saying "no".
Office politics specifically is a common yet complex scenario that has numerous variables to consider and in addition the constants within each location also vary between locations. It is definitely a situation where one size fits all solutions are, by definition, inadequate.
"As usual... it depends."
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Sushan
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Re: Can we trust nobody?

Post by Sushan »

anonymous66 wrote: January 26th, 2022, 7:28 pm
Sushan wrote: January 25th, 2022, 1:05 pm
anonymous66 wrote: January 20th, 2022, 9:30 pm
Sushan wrote: January 19th, 2022, 1:01 pm

The story you mentioned is about a junior confronting a senior. Luckily the senior fellow chose to listen to what his junior had to say, and he accepted the need to change. Seemingly the junior fellow was lucky. But how many seniors in today's business world will tolerate a junior's confrontation? And a change based on such incident will be even more rare. OTOH, how many employees will find the courage to confront their employer?
I'm with the author on this one. It may be hard, and it does carry risks, but sometimes confrontation is necessary. Considering the options that Johnathon had at his disposal (I suppose he could have just left - but where would that have left him?) and the outcome, it seems to me that Johnathon made the right choice.
In this case there were no options for Jonathan. Yes, he could leave, but it was not a feasible option with his financial situation. I would simply say, he was under pressure. He released that pressure by confronting his senior. Luckily his senior gave the confrontation some thought and understood his mistakes. So it made Jonathan's move the correct one. But if the results were different, then can we still say he was correct?
I thought the issue was whether or not a junior business partner should ever confront a senior business partner. You appear to be saying "no".
No. I think anyone should stand for the correct thing and stand against whenever a wrong thing happens. But that ideal behaviour won't be the most healthy behaviour in all the occasions. It is better to analyze risk vs benefit before going against your superior, even if you are 100% certain that you are correct.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
anonymous66
Posts: 372
Joined: January 12th, 2018, 4:01 pm

Re: Can we trust nobody?

Post by anonymous66 »

Sushan wrote: January 25th, 2022, 1:11 pm
anonymous66 wrote: January 20th, 2022, 10:20 pm
Sushan wrote: January 19th, 2022, 1:09 pm
anonymous66 wrote: January 9th, 2022, 3:07 pm

The author also has this to say (p.44)
"Trusting someone before they have earned it is unwise, but assuming that everyone we meet is untrustworthy is needlessly cynical. So, what's the appropriate strategy? Good BEQ suggests we simply resist forming an opinion about a person's character or personality, until we see how they act over time, and in different circumstances. This won't be easy at first It requires living with the anxiety of suspending judgment instead of relaxing into a false sense of rapport and trust."
Seemingly the author has contradicted himself. First he tells assuming all that we meet as untrustworthy is cynical. But then he tells that good BEQ suggests resisiting forming an opinion about people until we study them for some time. So in other words the latter part suggests not to trust people until we get to know them well. So we should not trust anyone that we do not know. And I see a practical issue in the latter statement. For how long should we study a person in order to form an opinion on him or build some trust on him?
My thoughts are similar gad-fly's. The way the book is written - the author assumes that he is writing to people who do trust others as a matter of course (you can't be successful in business if you don't put at least some trust in others). The author is writing to people who do trust - that's why they need to be warned - sometimes his target audience trusts too quickly and get burned (again I'm thinking about the story from Chapter 3 - Veronica and Tony (p.11)- the problem was that Veronica put too much trust in Tony even though she had some "gut feelings" that should have been warning signs). The context I see is when our "gut" tells us a particular person may be a problem - that's when "resisting forming an opinion" comes into play (and/or calling some of the people Tony suggested were people he had worked with in the past). The author doesn't ever suggest it's good idea to trust "nobody" (after all the author suggests that Veronica could/should have trusted the people she should have called in order to vet Tony... and the author suggests that Johanthon was correct in continuing to trust Danny after Johanthon confronted him).
Veronica acted depending on the facts that she had on her hands. Though her 'gut' said her to be cautious, apparently there was nothing bad on Tony. It is true that ultimately her 'gut feelings' became correct. But what if Tony was a legitimate guy? Then Veronica would have never listened to her 'gut feelings' anymore thinking that it was merely out of anxiety.

And also, it is easy to analyze a situation after everything happened and point out the mistakes and give suggestions. But it is quite different when you are actually facing it, with no idea about the future.
Another way to think about this:

In regards to the story of Veronica and Tony (p.11) used as an example of how to handle emotions at work. Veronica had several emotional reactions to Tony. She had a "uneasy feeling" and "her intuition was flashing red lights". But she decided to trust him anyway and gave up her usual monthly retainer. The author suggests that Veronica could have vetted Tony by calling the people Tony said were close business allies. After she realized she had been scammed, she did call those people and found out that they considered him to be a scam artist.

Now if it were the case that Veronica's emotions weren't accurate because Tony was legit... and Veronica had decided to call those business associates and merely asked about their past business dealings, then she would have allayed her fears and verified that Tony was legit - without causing any harm to herself or Tony. So I don't see the problem.

Edited to add - The point appears to be that to ignore one's emotions (as Veronica did) can cause problems. It would have been better if Veronica had acknowledged her feelings and responded by vetting Tony.
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