Monday, January 30, 2012

Twenty Annoying Workplace Habits - Corporate Rant Alert!

For the past few decades, management consultants, good and bad, have influenced organizations to varying degrees. Mostly the organizations did not have the staying power to implement the good stuff. And it was expensive and difficult to justify, so they just muddled through. The organizations that did well, didn't need them because they already had strong leadership (think Microsoft, Apple, Dell) or were highly regulated.

Here is a list of 20 annoying habits of the workplace by Marshall Goldsmith, another management consultant. All of them ring true and I have experienced these not only annoying but destructive habits first hand. And although many executives use these tactics from time to time to put their subordinates and rivals in their place, I have seen executives who employed all of them consistently and on a regular basis. Hard to believe anyone could be that annoying...

One thing that they taught us in management school was that most people could handle only three or maybe five thoughts at a time. So the list is long for anyone who is Type A, has a short attention span, is self-absorbed or a sociopath; in other words, an executive of the worst kind. Unfortunately, they are the ones who need to read this and learn from it. But they won't or they can't because that would be admitting they were wrong (see #15).

The good news is these badly behaved managers are a dying breed. Capitalism in its current form doesn't work (it's been publicly declared!) because it bred these leadership types and rewarded them at the expense of the global economy aka everybody else. So to those whose egos are far bigger than their intelligence, skill or talent; get over yourself--you're just not that important.

The 20 Annoying Workplace Habits You Need To Break Now

by: Marshall Goldsmith

  1. Winning too much: The need to win at all costs and in all situations – when it matters, when it doesn’t, and when it’s totally beside the point.
  2. Adding too much value: The overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion.
  3. Passing judgement: The need to rate others and impose our standards on them.
  4. Making destructive comments: The needless sarcasms and cutting remarks that we think make us sound sharp and witty.
  5. Starting with “no,” “but” or “however”: The overuse of these negative qualifiers which secretly say to everyone “I’m right. You’re wrong.”
  6. Telling the world how smart we are: The need to show people we’re smarter than they think we are.
  7. Speaking when angry: Using emotional volatility as a management tool.
  8. Negativity, or “Let me explain why that won’t work”: The need to share our negative thoughts even when we weren’t asked.
  9. Withholding information: The refusal to share information in order to maintain an advantage over others.
  10. Failing to give proper recognition: The inability to praise and reward.
  11. Claiming credit that we don’t deserve: The most annoying way to overestimate our contribution to any success.
  12. Making excuses: The need to reposition our annoying behavior as a permanent fixture so people excuse us for it.
  13. Clinging to the past: The need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else.
  14. Playing favorites: Failing to see that we are treating someone unfairly.
  15. Refusing to express regret: The inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we’re wrong, or recognize how our actions affect others.
  16. Not listening: The most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for colleagues.
  17. Failing to express gratitude: The most basic form of bad manners.
  18. Punishing the messenger: The misguided need to attack the innocent who are usually only trying to help us.
  19. Passing the buck: The need to blame everyone but ourselves.
  20. An excessive need to be “me”: Exalting our faults as virtues simply because they’re who we are.
 Amen.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Road Trip to Mississippi Valley Textile Museum

Not Mississippi in the U.S. but in the Town of Almonte, Ontario, Canada. I never knew such a place existed. I was visiting a sewing friend near Kingston and we decided to go on a road trip. After we attended a meeting of fellow seamsters at the Westport Sewers Forum, we continued on our journey. The Town of Almonte was once a hub of activity when the wool industry was large.

After a delightful lunch in the Wool Mill Restaurant, we visited the textile museum. Our intent was to see the Woven Bridges exhibit at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum, which unfortunately ends tomorrow. Textile artists from Canada, U.S. and U.K. are exhibiting fascinating tapestries woven from traditional yarns, plastic waste, rope and paper. Some are light and airy, others dark and mysterious, some brilliant with colour and imagery. After viewing the exhibit, I had a few moments to pop upstairs to see the equipment used to shear, card, spin and weave the wool. Amazing!

Then we popped into a local clothing shop called The White Lilly. The fashions are primarily from Bali but I found a wonderful spring jacket from Paris at 60% discount. Now that was a bonus to an already great day.

Ixchel Suarez was one of the tapestry artists whose work was on display and available for purchase. Visit her website at http://ixchelsuarez.com/home.html to view her profile.