I Have One Nerve Left…

I have one nerve left, and you are getting on it.

Following on from the theme of the article (I’m OK, you’re not so hot) which created lots of responses, I thought I would share my favourite fridge magnet with you.

This ‘thought’ was on my fridge when when my two kids were teenagers. I have no idea how I acquired it but it really served a purpose. When I had reached the had-enough stage with one or other of them I would get the ‘Mum’ look on my face; say nothing and point to the fridge magnet.

This would get either one of two reactions:

  • We would crack up laughing
  • The said teenager would storm out of the room and slam their door with enough force to register on the Richter scale.

If they chose the second reaction, eventually of course hunger would drag them out of the room and then we could sit and have a semi-rational conversation. It is impossible to have a fully rational conversation with a teenager! The root cause of whatever drama had ensued was usually that they wanted to do something that as their Mum I wasn’t ready for them to do. Teenagers are always about 3 light years ahead of their parents in what they think they should be allowed to have or do.

Because I write and coach regularly on the dramas that ensue between managers and their staff (a relationship which isn’t far removed from the parent teenager challenge) I thought in the interest of fairness I would highlight what irritates each party about the other.

The 5 most irritating traits of poor managers according to their staff are:

  1. They give no meaningful feedback
  2. They steal your ideas
  3. They have no interest in developing YOU
  4. They play favourites
  5. They don’t back up their team

The 5 irritating traits of employees according to their managers:

  1. They arrive late and leave early
  2. They do only the bare minimum
  3. They refuse to upskill or learn anything new
  4. They refuse to help out others in the team who are stretched
  5. They expect an increase in pay every year for doing exactly the same job

And if I take the annoyances one stage further and ask employees to boil down their frustrations into just 3 teeth grating management traits they will say:

  • They can’t make decisions
  • You can never find them
  • I have no idea what they do all day

And when I ask managers to boil down their frustrations into the three most annoying traits of their people – they will say:

  • They can’t make decisions
  • You can never find them
  • I have no idea what they do all day

Isn’t that interesting?

We are all irritating; we are all teeth grating to someone. The main thing is to be able to sit and discuss problems and to find possible ways forward. I’ve always maintained that we don’t have to like the people we work with or for, what we do have to be able to do is to find ways to work together to get a job done, and strangely, along the way, if we are willing to do that, we may never ‘like’ that person but we may just end up respecting them and even learning from them.

I’ll leave the last word to Abe Lincoln who said ‘I don’t like that man, I must get to know him better.’

Ann Andrews CSP

Author: Lessons in Leadership: 50 ways to avoid falling into the ‘Trump’ trap


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