I was facilitating a retreat last week and Nida, a participant, told me that her manager makes her absolutely crazy. As Nida described her manager, Adam, he did indeed sound like a jerk.
Adam sent directions for all of Nida’s tasks via email. Even when starting a new project that would last for months, Nida learned about the project via email. This would have been understandable if the two were across continents or time zones; in actuality, they sat across the hall from one another.
But that’s not all. Adam never recognized Nida; he didn’t tell her thank you for her work. As I questioned this, Nida twisted her computer screen so I could see it. Just as Nida said, there were a slew of messages from Adam, yet none of the completed tasks received a thank you…not even a “thx.”
Nida shared all the injustices with me. Adam piled on the work. He didn’t care about her as a person. He never offered appreciation. He didn’t recognize all the work Nida was performing. He didn’t want the office coverage to suffer so he never allowed Nida to take a Monday or Friday off; those were the days Adam saved for himself.
After listening and verifying Nida’s impressions with others in the organization, I learned that what Nida was alleging was true, or at least nearly true.
Nida said to me, “Can you fix Adam? After all, that is what you do, right?” She continued, “Can’t you write him up? Can’t you get him fired?”
Actually, I had to tell her, “No, I cannot.” One of my coaching colleagues says often, “There’s no law that says managers need to be considerate or kind. While it is the best practice, what’s acceptable in one organization may not be tolerated in the next.”
While I do try to help every level of employee to be more relational, more appreciative, and more collaborative, unless the organizational culture supports and sometimes demands a collaborative work environment, little if any change will occur.
When we stay in toxic environments, most of us become toxic ourselves. I know that has become true for Nida. She complained a lot, moved from task to task slowly, and completed her work always doing the minimum.
How about you? If you are so miserable, why are you still there?
If you are in business and you want to make a point, lighten up.
A few weeks ago I wrote that the more serious the topic, the more humor is needed.
A grocery store in Vancouver understands, and they are using humor to make their point.
Humor is the way they are promoting their business and helping the environment. In order to get customers to stop using single-use plastic bags, they have printed embarrassing bags. They are “playing” with their customers and teaching them to remember:
I can hardly wait to see what they will do with their single-use plastic bottles! I bet that’s next.
What businesses have you seen use humor effectively?
Concordia Consulting’s multipart series on preparing for presentations continues this week. In the past months we have discussed defining a purpose for a presentation, the effective use of visuals, and informal presentations within your organization. This week we consider the power of the story during your presentations.
When I hear the word story, I get a happy, snuggly feeling. I picture either myself or my husband, Bill, curled up on our bed or our favorite story chair, with one of our kids as young children. Some of our favorites stories to read were:
If You Give a Moose a Muffin
Mommies at Work
I Lost My Bear
And of course, Good Night Moon
But we had so many stories! When I traveled for work, I bought two books for my daughter Katie and I took one with me and I left one at home for her. I read to her from a car phone (no, I wasn’t driving) and she sat in our story chair at home. I told her when to turn each page. It was an opportunity for me to connect with Katie while it gave Bill time with our sons or to get dinner on the table. It was a busy household.
Even now, 15 to 25 years after those stories were read, I still can associate the feelings of each of those warm and fragrant bodies snuggled next to me while reading. Each child felt different and smelled different, and each one responded differently to the stories. What was the same is the power of the story that connected me to my children.
It is no different for adults in the workplace. A well-told story will connect us to our colleagues (perhaps without the smell of maple syrup still clinging to my jammies.) So, what do stories have to do with the board room or the emergency room?