Month: August, 2009
The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story last weekend about Carolyn “Bunny” Welsh, Chester County’s first female sheriff. The 65 year old mother of 4 and grandmother of 8 has been Nottingham Township’s sheriff for 10 years. She recently became the first woman to head the Pennsylvania Sheriffs’ Association.
While I’m sure her success can be attributed to numerous skills and traits, the article singles out Welch’s weapon of choice: a disarming sense of humor. She is quoted as saying, “You can’t take yourself too seriously.”
How important is a sense of humor to a manager?
Joe Kerr: When I’m in a good mood, I joke around with the troops a bit. They eat it up.
Wanda B. Goode: I love the line about not taking yourself too seriously. Self-deprecating humor is indeed a valuable weapon. It puts people at ease and demonstrates confidence. When we take ourselves too seriously we get the opposite results.
We also need to laugh. There are so many challenges with being a manager. Laughing can help get us through the tough times.
Here are a couple of related posts.
I listened to a video on Andrew Peel’s blog recently entitled, Do Most People Fail? by network marketing advocate, Tim Sales (very appropriately named!). You don’t need to be a network marketer to benefit from the message.
Tim points out that most people usually don’t fail at things, they quit. We don’t fail at dieting, at fitness programs, at learning a new language or learning to play an instrument. We just flat out quit.
We’re usually fairly enthusiastic when we decide to take on an endeavor. If we want to learn how to play guitar for instance, we go out and buy the instrument, the music books, training manuals, etc. This is the fun part. Everyone loves to spend money. We even like practicing at first. We like handling the shiny new instrument and envision a wonderful future state where we are strumming away to our favorite songs.
Once the novelty wears off though, and we realize that it’s not all fun and games, we fold up the tent. The slightest bit of adversity and that’s it. It’s easy to come up with excuses for not pressing on. The instrument gets placed in the closet, never to be seen again.
Same thing is true in the workplace. We don’t fail at implementing a new quality program. We quit. Often we quit before we even start.
Persistence is the great equalizer. It trumps talent, money, and many other “advantages.” How do we get a dose of that persistence stuff?
Joe Kerr: Quitting is for chumps. You either have what it takes to succeed or you don’t. It’s up to us champs to guide the chumps – not an easy task as we’ve discussed in many other posts.
Wanda B. Goode: I’d agree that some seem to have persistence built in, but I do think that there are ways we can improve our ability to stick things out.
It really helps to have a support system. It’s usually effective, for instance, if you go jogging with a friend, if you play an instrument in a band, have a spouse that pushes you, etc.
Writing down and communicating your goals to others is also powerful. It gives added incentive to get them done.
Maintaining a focus is also important. Some make the mistake of trying to do too much too soon. Be realistic. If you want to learn an instrument, realize that it will take a significant amount of time to do so. Plan accordingly. Don’t start off practicing 4 hours a day. You won’t be able to maintain that. In addition, don’t work on becoming a good golfer while you are learning how to play an instrument. Focus on one thing at a time.
Set some interim realistic targets and reward yourself when they are achieved.
It’s hard to find the time for extracurricular activity these days. One way is to cut back on the TV viewing.
Recognize that you will have some setbacks. That is OK. The key is to pick yourself back up and get back to it.
Here’s a blog entry with some additional tips – Persistence – 3 Tips for Strengthening It.
Have you ever dealt with a snippy co-worker – the type that acts upset when you seemingly encroach upon her territory or responds abruptly and incompletely to a request for information? How do you deal with a person like that Joe and Wanda?
Joe Kerr: No one can out snip Joe Kerr, and if there is any intimidating going on, it’ll be by me. I do welcome an occasional challenge so I can show ‘em who’s boss.
Wanda B. Goode: This is a tough one. The way I prefer to deal with a grumpy co-worker is to talk to him – “You seem upset about something. Would you like to talk about it? Is there anything I can do to help?” Usually this not only diffuses the current situation, but helps pave the way for a smoother relationship going forward.
I think the worst thing to do is to avoid snippy employees. That’s their wish. It gives them the green light to continue their dysfunctional behavior which makes your job and the jobs of others more difficult. So, if you can’t get up the nerve to confront the crabby co-workers or doing so simply doesn’t work, by all means do not let it impact the way you do your job. Keep “encroaching” on their turf and keep asking them questions. Odds are good that eventually they will realize that you are not intimidated and they’ll no longer put up such a fuss. If by chance things escalate, make sure to inform your manager.
Here’s a similar post – Suffering Due to a Moody Co-worker
“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive. I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others. I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”
– The Dalai Lama
What do you think Joe and Wanda?
Joe Kerr: I have a hard time taking a guy seriously when he wears a dress.
Wanda B. Goode: Great advice. Imagine the impact if more could embrace it.
Below is a post about the Dalai Lama’s new book, The Leaders Way: The Art of Making the Right Decisions in Our Careers, Our Companies, and the World at Large.
Capitalism Can Learn from Buddhism