Expanding the Topic. Critical Thinking

Read the following articles and do the multiple choice tests checking up your understanding of the texts under analysis. Think over the possible titles of the texts.


Do you work with problem people? You know the type – the boss who is always moving the goalposts, uncooperative colleagues who fail to do things as well as you do. If you are plagued by these problem types, perhaps you think the situation is beyond your control. If so, think again. A good starting point is to recognize that behaviour breeds behaviour, which is one of those great truths that hasn’t Expanding the Topic. Critical Thinking really dawned on a lot of people. Through your behaviour you may, quite unintentionally, be triggering a behaviour pattern in someone else that is for you a problem.

One of the commoner problem types is the authoritarian. Authoritarians talk too much and don’t listen enough. They assume that people are basically lazy, can’t be trusted and must not be allowed to make their own decisions because they would get it wrong. Authoritarians expect unswerving obedience and for someone with ideas and initiative it can be very frustrating. Doing nothing is not a good idea – unless it suits Expanding the Topic. Critical Thinking you to have someone talking all the decisions and telling you what to do.

You can alter your perception of the problem by recognizing that authoritarian behaviour indicates not strength but rather feelings of inadequacy. But there is little point in trying to persuade authoritarians to change, so try to modify the situation. Nobody is authoritarian all the time: sometimes they are extremely bossy, sometimes less so. The key lies in understanding what sort of situation triggers their authoritarian behaviour. It could be the risk of chaos, which authoritarians loathe. Or it might be a threat to or violation of a non Expanding the Topic. Critical Thinking-negotiable matter, or insubordination by a junior. You will reduce the problem if you are compliant on the issues that are sacrosanct and non-negotiable, but otherwise assertive. A useful approach is to assume that it’s all right to do things until told otherwise. This will give you some space for initiatives, and you can win their trust slowly – but make sure that any initiatives you take do not jeopardize the orderliness which the authoritarian holds so dear.

The defensive person is another problem type. Defensive people do not accept responsibility for their actions, and therefore Expanding the Topic. Critical Thinking never learn from their experience. Nothing is ever their fault; there is always a seemingly plausible explanation. The best way to tackle a defensive person is to choose a time when he has made a mistake and invite him to join you in analyzing why it happened and what should be done to avoid it happening again. A softly-softly approach is essential to stop the defensive barriers being raised. So start by asking for their advice, initially about what you should do differently, and then slowly turning it round to establish what they are going to do differently Expanding the Topic. Critical Thinking in future. This will provoke more defensiveness, but you must not let them off the hook. Just keep repeating your challenge and eventually they will accept responsibility for their part in the mistake. When they do, ease up on them. In this way they will learn that defensiveness doesn’t pay.

Test 1.

1. What should people realize about “problem people” in general?

A Their behaviour results from personal ambition.

B Their behaviour stems from a lack of clear purpose.

C Their behaviour will get worse if it is not controlled.

D Their behaviour is not necessarily a problem for Expanding the Topic. Critical Thinking others.

2. Which of the following is true of authoritarians, according to the writer?

A They do their jobs less efficiently than they think they do.

B They are a problem for everyone who has to work with them.

C They are disguising their own lack of self-confidence.

D They fear that other people are trying to get their jobs.

3. The writer advises that when dealing with authoritarians you should

A try to make them realize that they are being unreasonable.

B obey every order that they give to you without question.

C try to discuss things with them when they are feeling Expanding the Topic. Critical Thinking tolerant.

D challenge their attitude to people who show initiative.

4. When approaching defensive people, you should

A express disbelief of the explanations they give.

B suggest that you have made mistakes yourself.

C accuse them of being to blame for something.

D wait until they have made a particularly bad mistake.

5. The best way of solving the problem of defensive people is to

A force them to admit that nobody else is to blame.

B show them the advantages of admitting guilt.

C prevent them from becoming defensive.

D accept some of their denials of responsibility.


Mary was Expanding the Topic. Critical Thinking watching a mystery on television. The end of the movie was near, and she was totally engrossed. Then her baby started crying. She shouted at him to shut up. His response was intensified crying. Mary got angry and shook him. The baby cried even louder. In the meanwhile, the mystery’s conclusion took place, and Mary missed it. Angrily, she slapped her son’s face. In this situation, someone was pursuing a goal – seeing the end of a suspenseful television show. But something happened to block the achievement of that goal. The person thus became frustrated, anger built up, and direct aggression Expanding the Topic. Critical Thinking occurred.

Aggression is not always aimed at the original frustrator. For example, consider a businessman who had a hard day at the office. He was about to close a deal with a client when his boss clumsily interfered and lost the sale. On the way home in his car, the frustrated businessman blew Ms horn angrily at a car ahead when it did not pull immediately away from a stoplight. As he entered his home, his dog jumped up on him, only to receive a quick kick. He then shouted at his wife during supper.

All these aggressive behaviours Expanding the Topic. Critical Thinking are examples of displaced aggression. Aggression against the person who caused the original frustration can often be harmful. In this case, assaulting or swearing at the boss could cost the businessman his job. When the original frustrator has status and power over the frustrated person, aggression may be displaced onto a less threatening target, who may have nothing at all to do with the original frustration.

Test 2.

1. The word “engrossed” means

A. involved

B. alone

C. charmed

D. bored

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