Peer Like Qualities
As of the "publishing," of this article on June 17, 2011 I am not a peer. In fact I have only GoA and AoA level awards. I am not the author of the below article.
The author of the article is Mistress of the Laurel Milisent Vibert.
Peer Like Qualities
by Milisent Vibert (mka Grace Vibbert)
This is a post I’ve been pondering for quite a while and I figured I should just go ahead and post it.
The debate crops up periodically about “What are Peer Like Qualities?” When asked, many peers just say “I know ‘em when I see ‘em” or “Don’t worry, you have them.” Or the ever popular “Don’t be a jerk.” Which isn’t terribly specific, eh?
Aspiring artisans want to know if they have peer like qualities, or if that is what is holding them back. They want specific reasons and guidance. You can worry that the nebulous “They lack in their PLQs” just means “I don’t like them.” Which just isn’t fair. Or worse "I'm not a nice person" which isn't true, there are a lot of very nice people who somehow lack one of the peer like qualities.
In many ways it’s the most difficult thing to rate on a candidate because you have to actually meet and interact with them to really see or test their peer like qualities. And peer-like qualities come out the most when in a crisis situation and those, thankfully, don’t occur all that often. Bad behavior is a lot easier to see!
So what are these qualities? As an aid to the Laurel-lorn I present a list of my own, at least this is what I think of as Peer-Like Qualities:
§ Grace under pressure – does the candidate flip out in a stressful situation or can they remain level headed?
§ Courtesy to great and small, especially small – most people treat those they respect and admire well, how do they treat people they have no reason to be nice to? Are they kind to newcomers? Patient with the local socially-inept? How do they act when there isn’t anyone ‘important’ around? Courtesy is also more than just holding the door when someone has a package in their hands, it’s treating people with respect and caring about how your actions impact others.
§ Lack of social-ineptness; a candidate doesn’t have to be the most socially capable person on the planet, but they shouldn’t be inept. The job of a Laurel is a social one, you need to be able to handle social situations with at least a little grace.
§ Encouraging and mentoring others
Humility intact; this is a big one and I can break it into sub-categories:
§ To me, honesty is a part of humility. Represent yourself truly as you are, warts and all. Admit the limitations of your work, where you don't know things for sure and where you've got a plausible theory.
§ If the only person a candidate can talk about or be concerned with is themselves, they’re not going to be able to talk about other candidates or properly mentor and encourage others. If they have to be the biggest, best, shiniest in the room, they’re also not going to be doing the job of shining a light on the work of others.
§ They can’t “know it all” because then they’ll stop growing and you gotta keep growing. Even if you are the best widget maker in the Known World, you have to know that there is more you can learn about widgets. I bet even the great Leonardo da Vinci was thinking “Man, I coulda done that better” when he looked at his own work.
§ Willing to admit when they’re wrong, including when much beloved theories are proven wrong by some new archeological find or other.
§ Takes criticism well, doesn’t get defensive when their pet theories are questioned (this can be really hard!)
§ They are not jealous of the success of others; if your humility is intact you can say “Way to go, you!” without whimpering “what about me??”
§ Loyalty to your home group, Barony or Shire, Loyalty to the Society as a whole and also exhibiting the virtue of loyalty toward your friends and fellow artists. This is part of humility too; putting others before your own needs.
§ Opportunists, you’re not as subtle as you think.
Keeping one’s word
§ Part of this is also not promising more than you can deliver.
Striving to be more than you are
§ A good candidate is always reaching, and will keep reaching after they are given the accolade because there is always more to learn.
§ Be willing to say the unpopular truth, to stand up for what is right even if the group is heading in another direction.
§ Willing to put yourself out on the line, to risk failure by reaching (that is a part of striving to be more than you are as well)
§ Make careful choices, do they weigh their options and consider the consequences before acting?
§ If they get in over their head, do they realize it and start planning an exit strategy?
§ Not everyone can be a leader, sometimes it is best to be a good follower (see, Loyalty :)), but a lot of what we ascribe to 'nobility' as a virtue is simply good leadership. Leading by example, guiding not dictating, etc.
There is more, of course, and I could get more concrete I suppose on examples, but this is what my limited brain can offer today. I hope it’s helpful! Obviously, no one is perfect. It’s okay to be human, you’re going to fail sometime, somewhere. The Peer-Like Quality is how you pick yourself back up off the ground again and keep going.