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Fighting, and fighting back – with Jens Weidner

Acting the part

Jens WeidnerWhen I meet people, I often think about which actor, or actress, would be best suited to play their part if Hollywood decided to make a biopic about their lives. I do the same thing, I must admit, with my colleagues and friends. And, in most instances, the choice of the star to play the part is very flattering. One of my colleagues, for instance, would be brought to the silver screen by Cary Grant – and you can’t do much better than that! Now, my latest guest on Talking Germany is Jens Weidner, Professor Jens Weidner: “aggression researcher.”  And I knew immediately who would be top of my casting list for his part.

Jens Weidner 2Professor Jens Weidner is suave, eloquent and starkly blue-eyed. A middle-phase Don Johnson. In his own way, he’s a man of action, and he’s very successful. It all began when he studied criminology. And, in his early days, he went to Philadelphia, Washington and New York to work with young gang members on strategies for dealing with aggression. What he brought back to Germany was a blueprint for AAT – Anti Aggression Training – a strategy that’s been adopted by over a hundred projects across Germany.

Jens Weidner 3One of the secrets of Jens Weidner’s success is that he has it both ways. On the one hand, he’s an authority on how to get aggression under control. On the other, he’s made a big name for himself as an author and lecturer who encourages people in the corporate world to be MORE aggressive. He teaches them how to use their elbows to get what they deserve. And how to recognize and counter the dirty tricks and mind games used by their colleagues and bosses.

Jens Weidner 4What’s more, Jens Weidner is refreshingly frank about playing the tit for tat game. I must say that he took my breath away with his candour as he explained how he waited for two decades to exact revenge on a colleague for some hurtful and manipulative behaviour. And the thing is: it’s clearly a cathartic strategy. I wouldn’t be up to it, I thought. Too much of a wimp. No Don Johnson for me.


May 5, 2014