Month: February, 2010
Not sure if this happens in other places, but in the Philadelphia area when the weatherman predicts snow, people flock to the grocery store to buy milk, bread, and eggs. It’s a curious phenomenon. I’ve been on the planet for a few decades now and I’ve never experienced a storm where I couldn’t get out and make a purchase of sundry staple food items within twenty-four hours of a storm. The last two blizzards were no exception.
It’s tough to figure. Are there really that many people that have such a depleted supply of milk that they need to rush to the grocery store to stock up? I don’t think so. It seems those that haven’t had an egg for weeks are compelled to go out and pick up a dozen – just in case. It’s like some sort of nesting ritual. It’s actually a running joke, but that doesn’t stop the hoards from making the trip to the store when the forecast calls for a bit of the white stuff.
Is this a form of planning? Is it the way that people prepare for the snowstorm? Does it put them at ease to know they have hoarded enough milk for the next 2 weeks? Is the planning done out of fear? Is it instinct? Whatever the case may be it seems like one of the few occassions that people actually over plan.
Might it be possible to harness this reaction somehow to convince people to plan for other beneficial things – like planning for a project or for their careers?
Joe and Wanda?
Joe Kerr: Nope!
Wanda B. Goode: There does seem to be a tremendous amount of collective energy spent preparing for a storm. As far as tapping into this seemingly irrationally inspired energy source, I think those that make toys like Tickle-me-Elmo, and restaurants that convince people to wait two hours for a table have managed to tap into a piece of it.
From what I understand, we may get some more snow this week – an opportunity to do a little more research!
If you are not familiar with this strange reaction to snow storms, this post may help explain.
We have a special treat today… a guest blog post from Brenda Harris.
It’s bound to happen at some time or the other because you spend so much time in close proximity and generally share a whole working day. But being attracted to your colleague or superior does not mean that you must act on your feelings, because one of the worst workplace mistakes you could make is to get involved with your co-worker. During the initial period of attraction, it’s all about chemistry and body language and hormones taking over from your brain. You don’t realize the can of worms you’re opening up. But if you stop to consider the repercussions of your actions, you’ll probably understand why you must not date your colleague:
- Your efficiency at work is reduced: The most obvious and well-known reason to avoid dating a co-worker is that both of you tend to compromise on the quality of your work when involved in an office romance. In the beginning, you’re too into each other and looking for ways to sneak off for romantic interludes that you neglect or delay work. This affects your entire department or team and may earn you the ire of your other colleagues and/or your superior. If your work is critical, you may end up compromising safety and security aspects, and this could cost either or both of you your jobs if you’re not careful.
- You don’t know how a breakup will affect either of you: Let’s face it – most office romances don’t last, and even if they do, spouses have a hard time working at the same office. Most of them would rather have different work places and meet only at home. So if and when you break up, you cannot bear to see the other person every day if you want a clean break, and this affects your ability to concentrate and be productive at the office. One of you will have to look for another job before things become awkward and you start avoiding each other deliberately. And if you’re on the same team, it could get worse.
- You may be drawn to each other for the wrong reasons: And finally, when you get involved in an office romance, you may be doing it for all the wrong reasons. You may think you’re attracted to your co-worker or superior because they understand you and appreciate you for who you are. But perhaps this is just an emotion that is directed at the way you work, not at who you really are. So when you take things to the next level and spend more time getting to know each other, you find that you are disappointed and feel let down because the real person is a far cry from the idea of the person you’ve created in your head. And when you split up because of this, the resultant awkwardness because you’ve made out or even slept with each other creates tension at the workplace.
- The difference in status becomes a problem: If you’re dating your superior or subordinate, it’s always a problem in some way or the other – if you’re seeing your boss or someone higher up the ladder, you may expect certain perks because of your position as the boyfriend/girlfriend, and your significant other is damned if they do and damned if they don’t – in the former, the criticism comes from your other colleagues who feel left out, and in the latter, you may not be too pleased with the way the relationship is going. And when the relationship ends, the person lower in status may feel threatened and insecure about their job status.
So when you’re at the workplace, remember that even if there’s chemistry with a co-worker that makes you want to explore each other’s physiology, it’s best to ignore it unless you want to become history.
This guest post is contributed by Brenda Harris, who writes on the topic of online executive mba programs. She can be reached at her email id: firstname.lastname@example.org .
What are your thoughts Joe and Wanda?
Joe Kerr: I’m on board with everything except for the part about dating your subordinate. I haven’t given up on my admin yet, the minx.
Wanda B. Goode: Dating a co-worker can be problematic. There’s no avoiding it though. I provided some tips for managers in a post we did a few years ago called
Here are a couple of other related posts. First, one that agrees that dating coworker should be avoided.
Date a Co-Worker? I’d Rather Keep My Job
And second, one that recommends embracing office romance.
The New Girl’s Guide To Workplace Success.
I really enjoy a good children’s book – Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, anything by Gordon Korman – all great stories with lessons for everyone, not just kids.
Recently I read The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. It’s incredibly well done. It’s laugh out loud funny, scary, suspenseful, sad, creative, intellectually challenging, and much more. The common theme of teamwork weaves its way throughout. The message is that everyone is different. Everyone has different skills, different ways of learning, different ways of solving problems, different ways of contributing. But together, a diverse group can be much greater than the sum of its parts. I’ve become increasingly more convinced of the same – that we must feed our strengths and minimize our weaknesses. If we can manage that and join with others that complement us, we have the makings of a great team.
Joe and Wanda, your thoughts?
Joe Kerr: I do most everything well, so it’s tough for me to relate. I do know one thing for sure, there’s no “I” in team… of course, when you scramble the letters a bit, there is a “me.” Great teams start with great leaders!
Wanda B. Goode: I tend to agree about focusing on improving strengths versus spending a lot of time on weaknesses. I do think care must be taken to avoid extremes. For example, some say that they should not have to create a status report, because they are “technical.” I’d argue that there are some very basic skills that are necessary and should be developed if they are inadequate. You wouldn’t necessarily make the techie the editor of the company newsletter, but s/he should be expected to be able to string a few coherent sentences together. There is also a balance that needs to be struck between encouraging someone to stretch versus pigeonholing them.
Here is a related post
Motivational Managers Concentrate on Strengths Not Weaknesses
While watching the Super Bowl I was blown away by the ad for the new series “Undercover Boss.” From what I gathered, the premise of the new reality series (apparently topics for “reality” TV shows have not yet been exhausted) is that CEO’s perform jobs as front line employees incognito.
There’s nothing wrong with the CEO getting out on the front line and working along side other employees. I think most of the time it is done as a stunt, but I happen to think it’s a good thing overall. However, putting it on television just confirms it’s a complete stunt – something to feed the ego of the CEO and get the company some free feel-good publicity.
How starved for attention must one be to appear on a show like that? We’re not talking about Judy, the cashier from Walmart looking for her 15 minutes of fame. We’re talking about CEOs of major corporations.
And of course, millions of Americans took it all in. It’s baffling.
Joe and Wanda, your thoughts?
Joe Kerr: I could never get away with it. Everyone knows me already. I’m like a rock star in my company.
Wanda B. Goode: It does sound a bit silly. So does Joe’s comment by the way.
To be fair, I think I’ll have to withhold judgment until I watch one of the programs. With that said, I can’t believe the script will vary much – Boss performs difficult/menial tasks poorly. Boss may even get treated badly. By show’s end boss is enlightened realizing how difficult it is on the front line. Boss gains a new appreciation for the lackeys and tosses them a bone or two. All live happily ever after.
Would anyone that has seen the show care to comment?
Haven’t gotten your fill of management and leadership reading? Mark Bennett hosts the Leadership Development Carnival this month over at his blog, Talented Apps where three dozen posts eagerly await your viewing. Enjoy!
Joe Kerr: Oh goodie!
Wanda B. Goode: Excellent reading. Best blog carnival around.
Here’s a quote from Timothy Clark’s book, The Leadership Test.
Most leaders start out honest. They want to do the right thing but they get sucked into a vortex of compromise that can turn them into fake leaders. Even small acts of entitlement can suck you in.
Joe and Wanda?
Joe Kerr: You’re barking up the wrong tree if you think I’m giving up my parking space.
Wanda B. Goode: True enough. It’s easy to get caught up in the perks. According to Tim, when faced with decisions, there is a tendency to weigh the potential personal gain against the risk of personal loss. Entitlement wins the day.
What’s the solution? Take the leadership oath. “If a course of actions is at odds with stewardship, you don’t take it, regardless of what’s at stake. If you do not stand on principle, you do not stand. There is nothing left to stand on.”
Easier said than done, no doubt, but certainly worth striving to achieve.
Here’s a related post
Leader Privilege Isn’t = Think of Others Before Yourself
Just read an article in the February edition of Toastmaster Magazine about overcoming objections. As managers we often have to sell an idea to the boss, to our customers, and even to our team members. The author, Sam Silverstein, offers up some techniques, a subset of which follows:
- Prepare for the objection – Think about the most likely objections and prepare responses for each.
- Look forward to objections – Listeners that object want to know more and they guide you to the information they need.
- See their point of view – Put yourself in their shoes.
- Keep the customer’s needs first – It’s all about the customer. Frame your responses to benefits them the most.
Joe Kerr: I don’t sell my team, I tell my team. I don’t sell my boss, I compel my boss. I don’t sell my customers, I impel them. As for my competitors, I just give ‘em hell!
Wanda B. Goode: I like the first one the best. Preparation is so important. We complain when our ideas don’t get adopted. We tend to blame everyone but ourselves. We get so pumped up about an idea and then get blindsided when others don’t see things our way. We need to think of the objections as well as the benefits to all stakeholders and then prepare our presentation and responses accordingly.
Here are a few related posts.