Nonsense At Work

#110: August 2016 MindShift

Nonsense just is,
but sense must be uncovered, grasped and held tight.The NonsenseAtWork Monthly MindShift

August 2016

Star Bully Wannabe Positive Skills

Fire everyone except your star performer

Star-performerOh for Pete’s sake. Will this star gazing never end? I am so tired of individual players being worshiped as if they “built this themselves.”

If star players are really so good and the other players so useless, then fire the non-stars and let the star play on his or her own. You will save a ton of money and effort on not having to deal with all those unnecessary players.

It is not as if we don’t already know the truth about star gazing. A star player is only as good as the supporting team; the super salesperson is only as good as her admin support; the CEO is only as good as the employees holding him up; the president is only as good as the citizens who voted.

Look up at night, people! A real star only shines brightly if all the others go out.

Every hostile work place has a bully at the top

lost leaderStars create imbalance of power. And yet, the typical organization is already a hierarchy of imbalanced power, which makes it a perfect bully factory.

Unless the leaders stop it. And most sensible leaders do prevent it because they know that corporate bullying makes your best people disappear.

But what if top leader is the bully? I once joined a company of really nice people, except for the guy at the top. Too late I realized that everyone worked so well together because they had a common enemy – their Great Leader.

This man was rather a short chappie, whereas his executives were less challenged in the height department. So how did he manage to bully bigger bosses? Think Napoleon! He wasn’t strong physically, but he was strong mentally. He understood that emotional and verbal bullying are often more effective.

Yet he did not understand that we lower down saw the hostile work environment as a failure of leadership – his leadership.

Advice for wannabe leaders: keep your shoes on

shoesWe keep hearing ridiculous statements from so-called leaders about how they feel our pain.  And that they know where we’ve gone wrong and how we should now behave.

Nice of them, to be sure. And annoying because they don’t really know, do they? So we’re tempted to say, please don’t judge others until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. That’s what we think is a good way to develop empathy, to gain a different insight – walk a mile in their shoes.

Well, it’s not that simple. What exactly would you feel if you put your feet into someone else’s shoes? You would be so distracted by the alien shoes, so uncomfortable, that you would not spare a thought for the owner, only for your poor feet. And forget about walking that mile.

So my advice to wannabe leaders is this. You don’t understand my pain. Please keep your advice and stay in your own shoes.

To protect colleagues, wear your cloak of positive energy

Cloak-positiveYes, keep your shoes on, but take your cloak off.

Time was when taking work home did not mean taking your work home, the way we do today with always on mobile devices. It meant that you carried your work stress and bad mood home, which you then took out on the family dog.

Hence the fable of the businessman who became a family man at night by hanging his cloak of work worries over a bush at his front door. Yes, he put the cloak back on the next morning.

But what about taking family worries to work? Is it even possible to put them down?

And yet, a leader must do so because a leader can never not lead. You lead by what you do and by what you don’t do, making your moods visible and contagious.

Savvy leaders protect their colleagues and the organization by wearing a cloak of positive energy when at work. Do you?

Why those with manual skills deserve more respect than thinkers

grinderThere is a difference between teaching kids to think for themselves and to teach them a specific skill. An obvious statement, yes, but we tend to ignore the consequences.

Early on some kids are judged not worthy of thinking for themselves and so they are taught specific manual skills, like plumbing. I was judged worthy of thinking for myself. But luckily I also had a father who taught me skills, like plumbing. And so for many years I could do both.

Today I find myself too tired to do skills jobs myself. I still know how to do, but I need younger people with skills to do the doing.

The funny thing is these skilled people have somehow learned to solve problems. They have learned to think. Yet, the thinkers I know still cannot do manual skills jobs.

And now I wonder, who is more deserving of respect?

Wannabe a star performer?

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