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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Count to Ten...

Okay, so you are tired and overworked and people are just plain getting on your nerves. The temptation is to blast some idiot who really deserves it and has for some time. You decide its time to fire that "special" someone on your team simply because the law says you can't kill them. You, gentle reader, need to count to 10 before you say anything, and sleep on it overnight before you do anything.

I've seen it already this week. One of our managers started busting the chops of an outside trainer in the middle of class. Another one jumped all over me and didn't care to get the facts. I myself spent most of the weekend in the hospital with my Mom, and came back to work worn out and grumpy. The first three things that happened yesterday tempted me to invite the offending parties into a caged death match.

Acting on such frustrations is neither a Christian reaction nor a good career strategy. So what do you do when you wonder how high a co-worker or your boss would bounce if tossed off the top of the building? The solution, like most problems, starts with planning and ends with good execution (of your plan, not of any person).

  1. You Need a Good Support System - There is a difference in fussing at someone and fussing to someone. Just venting to someone you trust will often get you past the urge to kill. Find that someone or someones now before you get in an angry situation.
  2. Know That You're Not the Only Busy Person Here - Again, this is a pre-anger step. Come in each day knowing everyone has taken on more work, not just you, and that you haven't taken on any more than anybody else. If you approach each person with an appreciation for their burdens you're less likely to become angry.
  3. Walk Away - If the moment seems like it puts you in career danger, excuse yourself and come back another time (or day). If the person truly needs to be straightened out they will still be here tomorrow. Chances are you'll either feel differently about it tomorrow, or you will at least be kinder and more diplomatic.
  4. Apply the True, Kind and Necessary Test - Before you say anything to or about the source of your anger, ask yourself three quick questions: is what I'm saying true, is it kind, and is it necessary to say it at all. This is a post-venting rule; say what you want to your confidential venting partner so your head doesn't blow off your shoulders.

Here's the deal: everyone one of us voluntarily applied to work at the Bible company. None of us were conscripted and we all knew there would be behavioral expectations when we came to the company and said, "Please hire me." To respect those expectations and our company culture, and to be true to our own baptismal promises about who we are and how we will treat others, make kindness part of your work style.

(Disclaimer: all references to violent behavior are figurative and illustrative. No real Nelson employees were harmed in the making of this blog post)


Jack Leichty said...

Bravo JT! Great post. There will be good days, and there will be bad days. But, at the end of the day (every day), I’m proud to be an American and proud to work for “The Bible Company”.

I am truly blessed to have nice things… like a job, food on my table, a roof over my head, and clothes on my back. I’m blessed to have a wonderful family, great friends, and awesome coworkers. Everything else is either gravy, or the small stuff. And I don’t sweat the small stuff.

If you are a frustrated colleague, I have two ears! As long as what you have to say isn’t illegal, or detrimental to our company, I assure you complete confidentiality. Let-er-rip!

Dan said...

Well said Jim. There are a few others I wish had read this before Thursday of last week. :-) Maybe there's still hope out there. No matter what I always want to try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Mistakes happen and I know I have my share. I don't always act the way I'd prefer I would have but man I wanna keep trying. :-) I so want to treat people the way I want to be treated. Appreciate your words.

Wayne said...

That's why I so seldom reply to blogs. My e-mails are incriminating enough!