“Think about it: send SLASH receive. Email is the frenzied killer of proper communication.” ― Fennel Hudson, A Writer’s Year – Fennel’s Journal – No. 3
Our email went down. For a couple of days. On and off.
I’d been thinking about a “no email Friday” or something like that, just to see what would happen. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such moaning, wailing and gnashing of teeth. It’s as if all communication had stalled!
I was smiling.
Yes, I use email too, but I really enjoy getting out of the chair and walking around to talk to people. And evidently, it’s more effective. In an online article in Inc, Jessica Stillman noted that a discussion face-to-face is more likely to produce a result than email. It’s easier to send an email, but less effective if you’re looking for a real solution for something.
We feel like we’re getting more done because we can dash off ten emails in a short period, and then think we’re effective. Then comes the follow-up questions, the explanations of what you meant, etc. What you could have done in one face-to-face turns into several emails.
Emails can be great to set an agenda or recap a discussion, but I’m not so sure the idea of managing your workday and trying to get solutions, from the inbox does what we think. The human factor is more effective and means we spend less time with the “reply-all” demon.
“Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.” – Michael Jordan
The official meaning of the term “wrongspotting” is zeroing in on the part of the feedback we get during performance conversations that we consider factually wrong, then fixating on it. That happens a lot. People aren’t prepared to hear something that doesn’t fit in their self-perception and using that something to negate all of the feedback. It happens all the time.
There’s even a word for it: Confirmation Bias – Tending to see your perspective, and defending your ideas, as a reason not to believe anything else. Even though it’s apparent to others.
“The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.” – Samuel-Butler
Our 15-year-old Westie follows us around everywhere we go. He seems to always be at our heels. That’s why following someone around is called “dogging” them.
But our Westie has another interesting habit: he tries to anticipate where we’re heading. He moves around us, and then, of course, is in the way and stops us. Poor guy, it’s almost like he’s read some books about poor management and is trying to express it.
It comes up in management because micro-managing is a workplace version of dogging. If you’re always on the heels of your people, watching everything they do, questioning everything that happens, and trying to tell them what to do, you’re dogging them. Worse yet, if you try to play the leader using the “dogging” management technique, you’re bound to trip them up too. It’s hardly leadership, let alone a good form of management.
Then there’s the second cousin of dogging, hounding. That involves asking so many questions or “following up” so much it drives people crazy. Of course, there are lots of other comparisons, like having to pee on the fire hydrant to mark it.
“Men who speak endlessly on authority only prove they have none.” Gene Edwards, A Tale Of Three Kings.
“I’m in charge so I can do anything I want.” Or,”I’m the (insert title here), and you should do what I say.”
It’s a type of mantra from some managers – not leaders – who see their job as continually criticizing the person and not the performance. There are a lot of reasons for this, trying to tear others down so they can build themselves up, finding criticism easier than being positive, and, of course, plain old narcissism.
They’re easy to spot when walking through an organization. They’ll tell you of their latest success, which is usually a success of one of their people, and their office often screams, “I’m important!”
They’re also the single biggest reason for turnover. And remember, the best people leave first.
I feel sorry for these people. They’re often very unhappy people, and may never know the happiness that comes with being positive, encouraging and building people up instead of tearing them down.
“If you’re the smartest person in your group, you need to get a new group.” – Pastor Josey at K-LOVE
It’s nice to work around smart people! It’s even better when they share their “smarts” with everyone else.
I don’t think Josey was saying you should necessarily leave where you’re working, but rather that you need to find yourself a group where you’re not the smartest person. Didn’t your mom or dad tell you to watch out who you hang around with?
The propensity to want to be seen as the smartest person in the room is pretty common. It springs from a lack of self-confidence, causing you to position yourself, and everyone else, in a way that makes you look good. We probably all do it in some circumstances, but some have to do it all the time. It then becomes obvious to those around them and begins to work against them, which is too bad.
I have an alternate strategy. As I said to the CMAA conference in Australia recently, I look for really smart people and stand next to them. If you do that often enough, you’re going to become a lot smarter. In fact, the conference was full of so many smart people that I wondered if I belonged there.
So there is a choice of strategies. One makes you look smart, and the other makes you smart. Your choice.
P.S. Josey also advised us to “reject smallness and make room for more bigger people.”