Have you ever tried to do something nice for someone, only to be disappointed in how they received it? Perhaps you went out of your way to express your gratitude or demonstrate that you care about and value them, only to receive a lukewarm response, as if it didn’t quite hit the spot for them. I think it’s safe to say that we have all experienced this every now and then. While this can definitely be discouraging when it happens in our personal lives, even the fear of such a response keeps us from taking our work relationships to that next level, instead keeping many of us at the level of “transactionships” alone. Well the good news is that there are ways to take your communication and relationships to that next level, both in your personal life and at work, and that’s what I want to talk about in this post.
If you’ve ever worked in organizations where people were working in silos, you know how counterproductive it can be. In organizations like this, rather than working together to create synergy, team members work against each other with the aim of optimizing their own interest, at the cost of significantly sub-optimizing the interests of the organization as a whole. And since even those working toward their own ends are part of that whole, by pursuing their own interests they are also paradoxically working against them at the same time.
Over the weekend, I got an unscheduled call from one of the employees at a company that I’m currently doing some consulting with. There was nothing unusual about that in itself, as I had made it clear that I was available to pretty much anyone within the organization whenever they felt the need to reach out. This particular employee was calling specifically to ask for my help in getting out of “the stands” and getting back “on the court.” He had just found out that he had been turned down for a promotion that he felt he deserved. He had been doing all the right things and he just knew the formal announcement was coming, only to find out that someone else had gotten the position. Needless to say, the news had left him seriously demoralized and disappointed in himself, and he made the wise decision to seek a little outside support.
I remember interviewing someone for a key leadership position at my operation in Thailand, and halfway through the conversation, as he was telling me about his qualifications, he announced, with much pride, that he was an alcoholic and had a lot of passion for what he did. Startled at this revelation and puzzled as to why he would so freely divulge this information and wear it as a badge of honor, I circled back to the comment and asked him to elaborate a little. He went on to mention a few more times that he had been an alcoholic for as long as he could remember and that his job always came first. Upon further questioning, the poor fellow realized that he had been saying “alcoholic” when he meant to be saying “workaholic!”
We’re going to jump right back into the discussion we started in last week’s post, “Why Good Leaders Go Bad: Brilliant Jerks,” and continue our exploration of the anatomy of brilliant jerks. In this post, we’re specifically going into how resistance to change factors into why good leaders go bad. This is also another post on the longer side, so without further ago, let’s get back into it