How not to drive others nuts
You do things that drive others nuts. You frustrate, irritate, disorient, and disappoint.
You may not know how irritating you are
One of the guys on my leadership team is a doer-maximus. He creates to-do lists in a flash and just as quickly begins checking items off. It’s a thing of beauty. It took me a long time to realize I drove him nuts.
When I was younger
While he checked an item off his list, I was rethinking it. I came up with ways to improve it. The day after it was check off his list I could call him and say, I’ve been wondering about the decision we made last night.
Decisions were always fluid. This drove him nuts.
I still have a tendency to rethink and tweak ideas after the fact. However, I’ve learned about myself. I can see I drive others crazy.
Admit your quirks, frailties, and weaknesses first to yourself and then to others.
For example, you may listen briefly, make quick decisions, and then later, rethink. That frustrates implementers. Acknowledge you make snap decisions and then rethink. Explain it may be helpful to wait a day before beginning a new initiative. Better yet, include others in the rethinking process.
Perhaps you get so lost in thought while walking that you inadvertently ignore others. Tell your people your frailty so they don’t take it personally.
On the other hand, you may seem gruff or angry when you aren’t. Explain that your face isn’t always in harmony with your heart.
Don’t make excuses. Don’t stop working to improve your inadequacies. However, no one is good at everything.
You can minimize the negative impact of your weaknesses by acknowledging them and including others in your journey to success.
Do you or someone you know drive others crazy? How?
How might weaknesses be communicated in ways that encourage others and build positive relationship? (without being an excuse maker)
I love this post! You are probably familiar with this oldie-but-goodie: the Johari Window, which talks about four states of being, one of them being “blind spots”. We all have them and research on social and emotional awareness indicates that the more aware we can become of our impact on others, the more effective we’ll be in our interpersonal relationships.
Great on Jennifer…seems to me the Johari window often is a Johari mirror…if we clean the glass enough! 😉
I am a lot like you Dan. I believe in fluidity and tweaking decisions. I tend to think this makes everything better. Some think it’s not fluid but flaky. I am sure we can all drive each other crazy, that’s why we need flexibility and grace for one another. Together the team wins!
I love this topic..it is so real and as a conflict coach I am always helping people manage situations that result in disputes because of reactions to someone who does something that drives them crazy. The list of reasons is long and in my experience the crazy-making act, attitude, words, etc. usually reflects a perception (on the part of the person finding it so) that something important to us is being challenged (value, aspect of identity).
Conflict Dynamics Profile (www.conflictdynamics.org) lists 9 common ‘hot buttons’ on their research in North America and posit that our destructive responses are likely to occur when these are pushed. The 9 are when people are aloof, micromanagers, unreliable, untrustworthy, hostile, overlyanalytical, unappreciative, self-centered,abrasive. You can go to their site and do a free hot button test to see which ones are your highest. There are of course other hot buttons that I hear about and we all can identify that we do and others do that provoke.
I don’t think of acts that are ‘crazy making’ as weaknesses. I do think the starting point is to gain awareness about why it provokes us and also, what is behind the other person’s reasons for doing whatever it is. In the end our reaction may have more to do with us than them. However, being able to name it, own it and let the other person know what our own sensibilities are about whatever it is seems like a way to the build relationship.
Great Insight Dan!
The science of HOW we do what we do is the study of conation. Kathy Kolbe (@KathyKolbe on Twitter) has spent over 30 years in the study of our conative abilities and created the Kolbe A assesment to help us understand not only how we can make the most of our own unique conative strengths but also how to understand others so that we can work as cohesive teams rather than drive each other crazy. (You can learn more and take the Kolbe A at http://www.Kolbe.com ) I have used this tool personally and with teams to help increase personal understanding, team interactions, and performance. It’s extremely powerful.
Another resource on this topic is The Recipe: A fable for leaders and teams by Amilya Antonetti. Wrapped in an entertaining story, 6 brothers drive each other crazy through their unique styles as they jockey for leadership position. As they learn to work together and value each others strengths, we learn with them. (disclaimer: one of my companies published this book.)
Have a great weekend Dan!
Yes, Dan, we all drive some people nuts in one way or another. I’m probably a lot like you in that I also believe that things can always be improved. I like to keep tweaking and improving probably past the point where the changes really add any value other than my personal satisfaction. I know this frustrates some people.
One addition to what you’ve said (by the way, I agree with you wholeheartedly) is that we can receive greater levels of acceptance by consciously accepting and appreciating the value of others who make us a little crazy. The way I’m learning to do this is to look at the beauty of their level of caring and to also find the positive intention to what they’re seeking to achieve. I can usually agree with their positive intention even if I don’t agree with their methods. But when I agree with what they’re trying to achieve I can much more easily become a collaborator than an obstacle.
Thanks for another thought provoking post.
“Admit your quirks, frailties, and weaknesses first to yourself and then to others.”
This is easier said than done, but the core of the problem.
We’re all perfect beings in our own eyes, and admitting one’s shortcomings is the first step to really improve one’s self. It’s also the key to building a successful team in my opinion, as once you know your weaknesses, you’re more inclined to find like-minded individuals to fill that gap.
I love this post! It actually is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. First and foremost, for myself — what might I be doing that’s driving others batty? Next, in the context of what drives me batty about others, and are those things I might be able to talk openly with them about. Thanks, Dan, for putting it all so succinctly.
I know that I am a complete dichotomy in this regard. I often wish someone would give me honest feedback about, for example, something that is irritating about me (let’s say in the workplace) but at the same time, I know that I tend to feel defensive at the drop of a hat. Not a productive combination for increasing self awareness about irritating behaviors! I think we commonly minimize the effect our behaviors have on others. For example, my new-ish location in my organization is in the administrative area – I am on the phone with enrollees more frequently than many of my coworkers. Since they are not in direct customer service, they can have loud conversations with raucous laughter, and it doesn’t occur to them that it makes it challenging for me to concentrate and projects the wrong image to the enrollee. But enough about them, time for me to fess up about me. Until I kicked my Altoids habit, I constantly consumed Altoids during meetings, complete with opening the little metal tin, ruffling through the paper wrapper, and grabbing my “fix.” Altoids are small so this would be a recurrent activity, especially in long meetings. It’s the kind of thing that, if the Altoids addict weren’t me, would probably drive me nuts and would be the kind of thing I would start tallying in my notebook just for the fun of it. If I were feeling especially mischievous and had accomplices, I might even compare notes with others aferwards to calibrate our Altoids count.
And while I am on the topic of tallies, it DOES drive me crazy when an otherwise intelligent, articulate speaker starts far too many sentences with the “scientific so.” I blogged about it here: http://waytenmom.blogspot.com/2010/07/sew-needle-pulling-thread-actually.html
Fun topic, Dan, that addresses something that each of us surely grapples with daily.
Sounds like you would like to have Dan’s coach Paula!
Altoids aren’t too bad…consider the noisy Frito’s Sunchips bag in a meeting.
I bet you can find someone else in your new-sh location that is seeking to improve…buddy up!
Good suggestions, Doc. I had to handle one of those Sunchips bags in the store to understand why they are such an issue! Amazing irony that something good for the environment would be bad for sales.
Now, to hunt for that buddy…….
With knowledge and experience comes humility. Humility IMHO is not self-degrading but elevating because it allows us to be more genuine than we really are. And being genuine has a lot of perks and advantages – social as well as business!
I have a prime example of my face not always matching my heart Dan!
I get this serious look on my face when I’m concentrating or desperately trying to hear someone. And it can look very serious. I wish I realized it more when I do this, because lord only knows what people think. I smile a lot too – enough that people talk about it. So I know the serious look happens mainly in micro-moments. But still.
However, once again, in a timely manner, your post came today when I got to see a photo of myself on my recent crochet retreat. From the looks of things at the yarn store we visited, you wouldn’t have known that I had the greatest time of my life or that Laurie (in the photo with me) and I have become good friends. In that split second frozen forever in time in this picture, we look two seconds from an altercation thanks to the look on my face! The first thing out of my mouth when I saw the shot was “Good Lord, what happened to my face!”
Though a little embarrassing, it’s been a fun and gentler way to be reminded of this quirk about me. And since, we’ve been supposing possible funny captions for the look on my face and the photo. I will certainly be quite conscious for awhile about what shape my face might appear to be in while giving others my undivided attention. I’ve invited others to come up with their own suggested captions for the photo too!
Anyway, you can see the photo and read more about it on my blog here: http://thedifferencebetweenaduck.wordpress.com/2010/11/06/what-caption-would-you-add-to-this-hilarious-crochet-picture.
So learn from me! There are always going to be those times where you don’t come across the way you think!
This post made me chuckle because it screams out “personality type differences”. The very essence of teamwork can be challenged or enhanced by managing your own quirks, adapting to others’ quirks, and most of all continue to contribute your talents.
Thx for this post — great reminders for everyone!
Great post this is really true in a small business where many hats are warn by each person.
I first of all would like to say that this is a great post and that following you has inspired me a lot.Well permit me to add that “love”, i mean pure and unadulterated love.Love that uplifts another,love that does not demean,is the key ingredient in the application of this blog topic.Because if you love someone, you will care about how he or she feel about your actions.Love is not selfish.Thank you sir.
And thank you Chika… Best, Dan