Tuesday, January 09, 2020

Don't Let It Get to You

Sometimes the most important thing to do is to slow down, calm down, and simply shrug, instead of allowing yourself to become worked-up.

Here’s an interesting post from Bob Sutton, titled Why Indifference is as Important as Passion. In it, Ann Michael says:
We all need to be able to step back and disconnect. In order to see flaws in the plan, respect the input of others, and maintain an open mind, a little indifference can go a long way.
My post this Monday on Lifehack.org was along roughly similar lines. I suggested that it’s more important to success to take action, regardless of how you feel, than allow your emotions to take charge, so that you are constantly putting things off until you “feel like it.”

The result has been a torrent of comments, one or two of them quite rude. It seems that there are folk out there who think that their right to be emotional is under attack, and respond in highly emotional ways.

As Anne Michael adds:
One other thing, too many disrespectful actions are explained away by passion. It’s as if passion can be the get-out-of-being-called-a-jerk-free card.

Passion is NOT a license to steam roll everyone in your path!
Hurrah to that!

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Bob said...

One more thing to consider as a slow manager: you may be called upon to be the stabilizing influence for your team, the initiator of the "let's take a breath and step back" moment. Then be prepared to manage the likely negative reactions from your passionate members! But in the end, they will (hopefully) thank you.

2:41 PM  
Carmine Coyote said...

Great point, Bob. Thanks for making it.

Leaders have as much need to exercise restraint (at the right time) as they have to urge their people forward. Usually only the latter gets any air-time.

Keep reading, my friend.

2:53 PM  
Andy said...

It took a lot of years to develop that gate between my brain and my mouth and boy am I glad for it. It's amazing to watch how many will just argue for the sake of arguing. Debate can be fun but it should not be automatic, and how far people take it has amazing destructive potential.

Then again where are you supposed to learn all this? Our school systems, even a lot of the MBA programs aren't teaching us proper psychology/framing/mental considerations.


3:10 PM  
Carmine Coyote said...

Thanks, Andy. Good comment.

The education system seems to be obsessed with knowledge, not understanding. But knowledge is easy to find in a book or on the Internet, while true understanding of life and choices can only come through thought and experience.

Keep reading, my friend.

4:32 PM  
Despotic Manager said...

I regularly read your blog but seldom comment 'cause I generally think you've covered things very well.
However - and I sometimes fear it's just an element of cynicism that creeps in - I can't help but read articles like this and wonder whatever happened to the practices that were once touted as providing an approach that could help us in such circumstances. It might seem trite but Six Thinking Hats by De Bono provided a framework for managing discussions that ensured emotion (passion) couldn't dominate the discussion. We seem to go through an infatuation with such techniques and then be desperate to move to the next big thing in management and yet, for some reason, we seem to have to discard the old to bring in the new.
Am I wrong? I mean, I seem to recall some studies that were done that showed very positive results from such a technique and I think many of such frameworks provide a solid - and yes slow - framework in which discussions can be held. All aspects of the discussion are brought to the table and - and this is where it slows things down - they all need to be worked through before a decision can be made. It avoids the 'passion' (and even those with simply a more forceful approach) from dominating and shortening discussions before their time.
Thanks for a good read as always.

5:30 PM  
Carmine Coyote said...

Thanks for a thoughtful comment, Despotic Manager.

Yes, techniques like the one you mention can be of great help; and yes, they are dropped or forgotten and re-invented (sometimes). There's little in management that is truly new.

The trouble with all these techniques is that you have to recognize the need for them (and want to try them), before they can be of any use. So long as people stick to the prevailing assumption that feelings/intuition/gut feel/passion is sufficient in itself, they don't see any need to stop, reflect, and try out different perspectives.

Sometimes the best answer is to chill for a bit and then try again. If a technique helps encourage this, it sounds a good idea.

Keep reading, my friend.

9:41 PM  
Eric Brown said...

The quote "Passion is NOT a license to steam roll everyone in your path!"from Ann Michaels is perfect...how many times has the 'passionate' person within an organization also been the one that most people find hard to work for/with?

I think people that people sometimes put 'passion' on a pedestal and allow 'passionate' people to have their way within an organization

8:53 AM  
Carmine Coyote said...

I agree with you, Eric. There's a tendency to treat emotions are something that cannot be criticized.

Thanks for your comment.

11:02 AM  

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