Nineteen years ago I came home from a business trip, gave my husband Bill a huge hug and kiss, and immediately tiptoed into each of the kids’ bedrooms for goodnight hugs and kisses.
After all the loving, I went back to my hubbie and said, “You really got a lot done. Seems like the kids did their homework, dinner is cleaned up, and everything looks great. Too bad you don’t do that when I am home.”
I got a well-deserved dirty look because I gave what I often refer to as a “boomerang compliment.” A boomerang compliment is tricky. It seems like a compliment, but it’s really not. It starts off like it’s going in the right direction, but then it comes back and hits you smack in the face.
Here are some more examples of boomerangs:
“The sales presentation went well. I only wish you had used it with the Gordon group. Maybe then we wouldn’t have lost the sale.”
“I like the new filing system. It would have been even better if you had put it in place when I first asked you to do so.”
“Thanks for taking out the trash. Maybe you won’t need to be told 5 times next week.”
While you may mean well, a boomerang compliment has the opposite effect from making someone feel good. Give your compliment and STOP. You will both be glad you did!
It’s the time of year when we think about ghosts and goblins, spiders and bats.
Last Friday night, I attended a concert at the Naval Academy with my husband Bill, daughter Katie, and her friend Isabel. I was supposed to be scared by the ominous music, the eerie decorations, and the actors who jumped out and startled people.
While I did get a jolt from all of that and it was great fun, I was more frightened by the workplace issues that I had encountered over the previous week. Yes, there are workplace issues that scare me even more than a random fake bat unexpectedly flying out of nowhere.
Do you have any of the following issues going on at your workplace?
- A board that is apathetic about the internal workings of the organization and acts as though the culture of the organization isn’t their problem
- Customers or vendors who make comments that are disparaging or abusive
- A CEO or senior leader with an anger-management problem who bullies and intimidates employees
- An employee who steals product or supplies from the company and acts like it’s the norm
- Staff members who routinely miss meetings, aren’t prepared, or do not add value to the company or the bottom line
- Colleagues who make suggestive or inappropriate comments, creating an uncomfortable work environment
- Deadlines that are so aggressive that it’s impossible to meet them
- Employees who don’t receive coaching, training, or anything to improve, yet remain in the organization for 5,10, 20 years
- Peers who are so stressed and tightly wound and their reactions so intense, that you are scared to confer with them
Workplace issues don’t just impact the bottom line; they create stress and anxiety for workers. What workplace issues scare you?
Peter Drucker said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” If you are aware of any of the above, and you aren’t scared out of your Halloween costume, you should be!
What you think about me is none of my business.
What I think of me is ALL my business.
How I think about both is good for our business.
Last week I met with a CFO for her sixth executive coaching session. Each time we meet, we discuss a variation of the same topic: her role as a practiced fretter and worrier. She worries about what everyone says about the organization, about her boss, and about her colleagues. She worries about what everyone is feeling and about how the employees and her peers perceive her. She worries that she worries so much!
Two weeks earlier, in a meeting with another CFO at a different organization, I noticed a different personality trait that pervades his entire workplace; he is so brash that he alienates everyone. No one includes him in their project meetings because he is so harsh, even though having an ally close to the budget would be helpful. Rather than take on anyone’s issues and help solve them, he actually creates more, and as a result, everyone avoids him.
And yes, I do know one baby bear CFO, Lenora, who is “just right.” Lenora might not be perfect, but she is highly competent and her co-workers seek out her opinion and advice. Best of all, Lenora goes home from work, most days, without being a bundle of worries.
The emotional health and balance of the senior executive team creates the workplace culture. What is your organization doing to promote a healthy leadership team?